I could never want for anything more in this life than to take photos of people who are open enough to let me into their world. This is how we make natural, authentic photography– together. I have my little tips + tricks about getting you to that place, but I get the true pleasure of having you guide me through your emotions.
When you choose me as your wedding photographer, you're trusting me to tell your story. I want to know what your person says to calm you down, or every weird quirk they have that makes you laugh. Tell me how you first knew they were your forever.
I capture these moments through my photojournalistic approach and being able to connect with you and your partner.
You want a wedding photographer who sees you as a person, not a client. It's almost odd that I get to call this a business because none of my photography ever feels a job. I love the work that I get to do. It's fun, vulnerable and and unique to everyone I photograph. I make sure all of my couples feel at ease the entire time. By the end of the day with me, you'll feel more comfortable in front of the camera than you ever thought was possible.
I'm naturally a big goofball, telling dad jokes and squealing when I see that *extra amazing* photo in my camera (it's true, I make a lot of weird noises). Nothing makes me happier than doing things differently and thinking outside the box, it makes everything more personal. I love finding ways to make the traditional into the unconventional, making sure these photos should represent you in every single way.
5/4 - 5/8 Richmond, VA
5/28 - 6/2 Banff National Park, Canada
8/22 - 8/25 Los Angeles, CA
to have & to hold
Creating a wedding album is the best way to immortalize the most important day of your life. There's a special feeling that takes over when you physically hold an album in your hands– the memories hit deeper than a post on Instagram or Facebook.
Remember what it was like to flip through your grandparent's wedding album on the couch? How your fingers ran over the photos of their smiling faces? Making an album means that you'll get to share that magic from your own wedding with friends, loved ones, or even kids + grandchildren in the future.
No internet, batteries, or power cords required. Even when everything starts to fade as you grow older, all you'll need to do is reach into the bookshelf and everything will come flooding back.
Let's create these albums that can last a lifetime with you + your love.
Fun fact about me: I'm a weirdo who LOVES to edit. It's a process that brings me so much closer to what lies at the heart of what I do best, which is to create fine-art photography. I'm always eager to start on the edits from the moment I get home and this excitement continues until I export the final images. For smaller sessions, the edits take about 2 - 3 weeks and larger weddings take 4 - 6 weeks. If there is any reason that I would not meet this deadline (because of an emergency or other obligations), then I will 100% communicate that to you and make sure you're filled in on everything that's going on.
LET ME TELL YOU that when someone tries to take MY photo I often freeze up. My hands? My face? My body? Suddenly I don't know what to do with any of them! Whenever I'm working with couples I always aim to capture them in a natural, organic way. Every relationship is different physically + emotionally. I work to find what makes you guys feel the most like yourselves. There are small tricks I have up my sleeve to aid this process, but no two couples are the same. It's so much easier to think about your partner and the ways you love them rather than where to put your arms or how to position your legs. We will work together to tell your story in these photos.
Unfortunately, I can't clone myself to be in two rooms at the same time (wouldn't that be cool?). This is where the role of the Second Shooter can really come in handy! I almost always recommend a Second Shooter for large events in order to make sure every last detail is captured and from every angle. If you and your partner are getting ready in separate locations, having another photographer there allows each of you to be documented before the ceremony. If I'm photographing someone giving a speech, my other photographer can take photos of your reactions. These are only a couple of the many ways a Second Shooter can be utilized.
This is definitely the question I get asked the most! One of the best ways to figure this out is to hop on a phone or Zoom call to discuss your big day. We'll go over how long everything will take, including getting ready, travel time, and even when speeches should be planned. My goal isn't to get you to book my largest package or sell you hours you don't need– it's to find the right timeline that works best for you. We'll finalize everything before your wedding so that when when the day comes, we'll have a solid schedule in place and y'all don't have to worry about a thing!
Oh heck yes! All wedding packages come with a specific amount prints along with the ability to add on an album. The gallery you receive online also serves as a print store, making ordering any additional prints super easy. Want to see what your album can look like? Take a peek at my Album Guide and check out all the options!
Absolutely. Any couple who wants to book me for their wedding with coverage of 8+ hours will receive a complementary engagement session! I love doing this because it encourages us to get to know each other and form a trust that will only make the images that much more magical.
Every single photo you receive from me will have been color corrected and edited by my own hands. My edits are what make my craft so unique, and it's for this reason that I don't send off my work to be edited by someone else or give out RAW, unedited photos.
My wedding packages usually yield 75-100 images per shooting hour depending on what's happening and how many people are being photographed. I take fewer photos while people are eating (trust me, the average person does not look cute while taking a big bite of chicken) and more during the important moments. An engagement session will often result in 100-150 images.
I promise we can always find beauty in whatever Mother Nature throws at us and we will make it work. Sometimes a little extra rain, snow, or wind can add some incredible, unexpected texture that makes the photos even more beautiful. If an engagement or family session date needs to be rearranged because of dangerous conditions, I'm more than happy to take that on a case-by-case basis.
I do not think that a person's body should be edited to look a certain way. I take pride in being a body-positive photographer that looks at the organic love happening between people. We all have skin, fat, folds, and other beautiful curves. I embrace it all. The only retouching I do is for acne, scarring, blemishes, or bruising. I never look at someone I've photographed and seek out to erase their "imperfections." I only see love, which is honestly what you'll remember most about the day when you look back on these images. The best photos won't be about how your body looks. It'll be about the connection you share with the ones you cherish the most.
I always ask for a deposit of 20% with the contract. This payment ensures my time and that I don't accept another booking for that day. Because that date is being held just for you, it is non-refundable and acts as a retainer. The remainder of the balance is due a week before the wedding/session, but I am happy to set up a plan that spreads out for smaller payments over time before the big day.
If you are rescheduling a wedding, the paid deposit will go toward your new date and I will not add any additional fees. A new contract will be written for the new date agreed upon by both you and me. If a wedding is rescheduled for a second time, I require a 15% non-refundable payment for the new date. If a wedding needs to be moved to a new date due to government shutdowns or mandates preventing any kind of gathering from happening, I will not charge any additional fees for rescheduling.
Please feel free to reach out to me at any time during your planning process! However, only folks with booked venues can sign a contract + pay a deposit with me (with the exception of City Hall weddings) to make everything official. Not only does this ensure that your date lines up with my schedule, but it also gives us a great starting place when we discuss your wedding day timeline to figure out how much coverage you'll need. If you're looking at a number of dates, please let me know so I can share my availability with you!
Of course! I will meet you wherever you are– I'm definitely not limited to the Midwest. All additional travel expenses will be discussed and added to the final contract, so you won't need to worry about flights/gas/hotels.
Being a concert photographer in addition to photographing weddings means I've practiced being able to capture important moments in less than ideal lighting situations. My trained eye combined with knowing how to best utilize my lighting equipment allows me to provide amazing photos, no matter where your wedding is taking place or what time of day it occurs.
Honestly, I'd be mad if you didn't. If you have any furry friends at home, I want to know every nickname you call them, how floofy they are and why you can't live without them.
"My wife and I are so over the moon. I would jump at the opportunity to peer into her brain, because Madi just *sees* the love and the joy. Oh my gosh, both those things are just dripping out of our photographs. I usually don't love photos of myself, so it feels strangely self-centered to just be ogling all these works of art, but that's really what they are - art. Aside from her beautiful work, Madi is such a genuine and delightful person. She's enthusiastic, but in an organized way, which is exactly what we needed. Madi was the one part of this wedding that I never stressed out about. Hire her for gorgeous photos and an equally wonderful personality!"
Caroline + Katie
"The most important piece of our wedding was making sure we found the perfect photographer to capture our day, and Madi was it! When you have multiple wedding guests and family members saying multiple times during--and after--the wedding that 'your wedding photographer is so good. Can she take all my photos?!' you know you lucked out. Madi knows how to put everyone at ease in front of a camera; she corrals wayward folks; she makes everyone feel like a star; and she is an extra set of hands/eyes/ears to rely on to get through the most insane whirlwind of a day. Oh, and she also creates insanely drop-dead gorgeous photos."
Taraneh + James
"Madi was communicative, highly organized and amazing throughout the entire process all the way through the big day. She was incredible from day one of setting our wedding date. We are amazed at how well our wedding photos turned out and have received so many compliments from our family and friends. Planning a wedding can be stressful, but working with Madi was so easy and one of the most enjoyable parts of the entire process. I would recommend her in a heartbeat to anyone looking for a hard-working and professional Chicago photographer."
Hannah + Collin
Kate + Daniel
"The experience I had with Madi was spectacular. She was rock solid, exceptionally ON it for months leading up to the event at planning meetings. She even called us an Uber to leave our own wedding after our original plans bailed on us when we were one minute late!! Seriously the most solid photographer you could ask for. Thank you, Madi, thank you!! The photos themselves made us cry, laugh, giggle, and overall have so much love! My family has bought prints already and I’m planning to purchase a ton more. They’re stunning! Truly captured the magic we felt that day."
"Madi is INCREDIBLE. She brings impeccable professionalism along with positive energy, great communication, and flexibility. Our day went sideways with east-coast-style rain for our Colorado mountain wedding and Madi ran with it. She came prepared with ponchos and umbrellas and an amazing attitude. It helped save the day even as we all got soaked. Plus, rain pictures are actually gorgeous, so it ended up being a great day! Thanks Madi!!!"
Lindsay + Rob
"Our big day could not have gone better and it was truly because of Madi. She is truly a rockstar. She was extremely communicative leading up to the big day and was so organized. She was thoughtful in choosing the best space for our first look and coordinating different spots throughout the city for portraits. She was patient and kind towards our families and made family portraits move so fast. She captured every detail of the day and went above and beyond her duty as our photographer. The candid photos she captured were better than we ever could have imagined. She captured the love, joy, and true emotion of the day."
Jenny + Nathan
"Madi Ellis deserves every word of praise ever received multiplied a hundred fold. She got every single shot I hoped to capture and many, many more I didn’t know I needed in my life. She is punctual and extraordinarily organized. Madi had every single one of our friends laughing and singing her praises as she directed us en masse to hold poses or move freely and candidly. We are obsessed with every picture she has shared with us and recommend her to everyone seeking a photographer for their special day. She makes everyone who works with her feel comfortable and happy, and will work with you to capture your vision, perhaps even more perfectly than your imagination could create. Hire her."
Megan + Jack
"From the first call we had with Madi, we knew we were in good hands. She was the glue that held the whole day together, even going as far as providing bandaids to my bridesmaids and giving me her sunglasses when the sun was too bright! All of that is not even related to her photography - which was INCREDIBLE. We could go on and on about how grateful we are to have worked with Madi. The comment we received the most about our wedding was how amazing our photographer was, and we could not agree more. Not only is she an amazing wedding photographer, but she is also just a great person. We could not recommend Madi enough!!"
Monica + Pete
Chris + John
"HIRE HER FOR EVERYTHING! I don’t know how to say it emphatically enough so….just trust me and hire her. Hire her for your wedding, engagement shoot, hell if you just want some nice photos of you and your dog. Madi photographed my fiancé and I for an engagement shoot throughout Chicago and and when I say it was the most fun hour and a half we’ve had ever…and when I saw the photos the amount of gasping we did. To think someone could capture the love we feel so viscerally and beautifully, I was in shock. She is a genius and so easy to work with and you will not regret it."
Amanda + Brian
"First things first, we did A LOT of research on wedding photographers... that being said, we could not have picked a better one than Madi Ellis. She was the whole package. Additionally, Madi genuinely cared about us and our wedding day. The photos themselves are SPECTACULAR. She asked us what was most important to us on our wedding day multiple times to ensure she was capturing what was most important to us. Madi is so communicative and helpful throughout the process, and honestly, that puts her in her own category of amazing wedding vendors. We would hire Madi 1000 times over."