A sucker for love & everything that gives you butterflies.
I have a big personality and an even bigger heart. Laughing until my belly hurts and crying at other people's weddings are some of my favorite pastimes. When I'm not taking photos, you can find me reading the latest SJM book, binge-watching Love Island, or attempting to curb my Madewell addiction (unlikely). I love slow mornings, extra flaky croissants, quoting famous drag queens, and drinking almond milk vanilla lattes.
And I mean the CITY! I'm so lucky that my parents still live in my childhood home in Lincoln Park. Even after I went to Skidmore college in upstate NY, I moved back home to the city I know and love. Being from here means I know this place inside and out. It also means I will start and finish any argument about deep dish pizza because Pequod's is THE ONLY PLACE TO GO. Looking for a great sushi place you've never heard of? I got you. How about the perfect spot to propose, take engagement photos or wedding portraits? Again, I'm your lady. And no, I don't put ketchup on my hotdogs. Ever.
I'm a work hard / RELAX hard kind of lady. My favorite activities at home include watching the Office, the latest Oscar-worthy film, or Rupaul's Drag Race. I love playing with my cats and making sure they don't munch on our 80+ plants that my partner Nate and I keep in the apartment. We're lucky enough to live in Roscoe Village around the corner from some great restaurants. Our faves include Same Same, Village Tap, and Sinya Mediterranean Grill. I also really enjoy snuggling with our kitties while I read my Kindle and eat a big bowl of popcorn.
You read that correctly! I was a Theater Major in college and I grew up believing that one day I would be an actor. Through my studies I discovered I was drawn to a different kind of visual narrative, and documentary photography was where it all made sense to me. Never in a million years would I do it differently. My theater background has made me a better photographer by guiding me through the art of storytelling. I get the honor of using those skills to tell your legendary love stories over and over again so they may be treasured for a lifetime.
Being an only child means that I stick to my friends like glue! I'm so grateful to have both an amazing chosen family as well as loving parents and my incredible boyfriend. That combination is truly unbeatable. These folks have cheered me on throughout my whole life and have always encouraged me to follow my dreams. Some of my best friends have actually hired me to photograph their weddings! I love knowing that after everything is said and done, I have the best support system in the world. My bestie Mercedes and I even have matching Jurassic Park tattoos!
The one thing I love to do just as much documenting weddings is photographing concerts. Whether it's famous bands, musicians, or drag queens, I'm right there in the pit or in the crowd with my camera. I get the same feeling as when I get to capture the big kiss at a wedding– I'm fully present and solely focused on the moment. It's my favorite thing in the world.
I have photographed for multiple publications and covered all kinds of concerts including local acts, national tours, and large-scale music festivals like Pitchfork, Riot Fest, and Lollapalooza.
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Will + Jeff
"When we told our venue vendor that we were working with Madi Ellis, her response was, 'the queen.' She was 100% right. I can't say enough good things about Madi. She was super engaged and responsive from the jump, and she went above and beyond to help us integrate our photo plans with our wedding day schedule, making sure we didn't miss out on opportunities to capture the night. On our wedding day, Madi was prompt, prepared, and ready with a contingency plan when downtown traffic threatened to throw off our shoot schedule. Throughout the night she helped our coordinator keep things rolling smoothly and was ready to take advantage of candid moments and set up group shots on the fly. And the PHOTOS! The photos are all stunning and captured us so well. Book Madi - you won't regret it."
"Madi is quite literally one of the most talented, capable, and fun event photographers in the game. I believe her services are something else compared to other photographers, especially in the wedding industry. She works closely with you and your partner to tailor your experience based on your needs and preferences, and her institutional knowledge and experience of the wedding industry, best practices, and event flow. Her work is bar none. She has a warm personality that managed to calm my nerves and instill confidence. She even shows up on the day of the wedding with an "emergency kit" for anything that could go wrong! She's a star and thinks of it all - an excellent vendor to have in your corner. If you're on the fence, here's your sign to book Madi ASAP."
Rebecca + John
"I'm telling you right now - you need to hire Madi! She was so easy to work with - from planning everything, to her communication, to how comfortable she made us feel in front of the camera. She is so knowledgeable about all things wedding and was so helpful to us in more ways than just photography. BUT THEN THE PHOTOGRAPHY!! Her photos were absolutely stunning. She captured our goofiness in such a beautiful way, caught all of the little moments between us and guests, nailed all of the little detail shots. She was so amazing to work with and we loved our experience with her."
Becca + Trevor
"Madi was awesome! The photos she took are so amazing and perfectly capture us! We were really impressed with her attitude - she was able to perfectly command our crowd for group photos, and was an expert at navigating busy spots where we wanted to take photos (the river front, Michigan Ave). We were so impressed at how she was able to commandeer a spot for us on the river front and make it look like not a soul was around in the photos. We also really appreciated her enthusiasm. We both were concerned we’d feel really awkward during our photos, but Madi was an awesome hype-person and made us feel natural and at ease. She also did a great job at navigating our changing timeline on the day of. We are so impressed and highly recommend her!!!"
Gianna + Tyler
"We were worried about feeling awkward in front of the camera due to our lack of experience, but Madi is absolutely amazing at capturing breathtaking candid moments while also helping to pose you in a natural feeling way. We lost our reception venue 28 days before our wedding and Madi was able to use professional connections to help us secure a new and even better location. There is no amount of words I could use to over exaggerate Madi's professionalism, talent and dedication to her craft and to her clients. Out of all my vendors, working with Madi felt like we were working with a close friend who is fiercely loyal, supportive, and has the most magnetic energy that just draws you in. She goes above and beyond in everything she does and was the hero of our wedding."
Jessica + Nick
"Madi is amazing!!! Her photos are absolutely incredible and she managed to capture every single moment of our special day perfectly! Madi works hard to make the day enjoyable and effortless. She talked us through our timeline (as offered in one of her packages) literally by the half hour and ensured that we all were on the same page. She was able to direct our very large wedding party with ease throughout our group photos, and even managed to get my very shy flower girl to stick her tongue out at the camera!! Madi is professional, accountable, fun, and brings the best energy to your day."
Sophia + Eric
"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."
Kate + Daniel
"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
"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
"Hire Madi as your wedding photographer right now. She is an incredibly talented artist and we are absolutely in love with her photographs. And maybe just as importantly, she is such a warm and kind person who immediately put everyone in the wedding at ease. Are you worried about being photographed for hours and made the center of attention? Hire Madi; she will make what could be an awkward encounter feel second nature. Are you worried that your venue has weird lighting? Hire Madi; from getting ready to the ceremony to the dance floor, every photo perfectly captures the emotion of the day. Are you stressed about logistics? Hire Madi; she was super-human levels of communicative leading up to the wedding and helped us plan and navigate various logistics without even batting an eye. Planning a wedding involves a lot of difficult decisions, but this one is easy."
Laura + Nathan