Out of Chicago Debrief

The Out of Chicago Photography Conference was fantastic! It was a weekend full of seminars, photowalks, and time to connect with incredible people.

My agenda began with a little workshop on legal issues for photographers. Did you know that while humans automatically own the copyright on any photos they take, monkeys are out of luck?

I also learned a bit about time lapse photography. No, it’s not just for nature documentaries — think about the dramatic opening sequence of House of Cards.

And I picked up some great tips for photographing Chicago cityscapes from the conference founder, Chris Smith.

But my favorite sessions were about street photography. Some people dismiss street photography as just ‘pictures of random strangers in a city.’ But as you really look at these images, you begin to appreciate this discipline as the true art form it is.

The equipment list for great street photography is surprisingly simple. All you need is a small, quiet camera — an iPhone will do in a pinch. Less is more. The true skill comes in spotting a scene and waiting for the right person to enter that scene. Sometimes, as the photographer, you’ll be noticed (and get an odd stare), but often your presence will go undetected.

After the lectures, acclaimed street photographer Valerie Jardin led a street photowalk. Wow, this is hard work, even for a family photographer! It’s not uncommon to be out shooting for a couple of hours and come home with only a few keepers. But the good ones make it all worthwhile.

To learn more about next year’s conference, visit OutofChicago.com.