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 photographing other folks canoodling, you can find me taking long walks around the city listening to podcasts (I heard a FASCINATING one about snakes recently!). I love spending time with my friends, quoting Rupaul's Drag Race, and drinking pamplemousse Le Croix.
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.
Working hard also means RELAXING with just as much intensity (trust me, I can definitely kick it back like a professional). With a dirty chai in one hand and a remote in the other, I'm the binge-watching TV QUEEN! My favorites are anime, murder-mystery documentaries and literally anything with Taika Waititi. 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. I can definitely be convinced to leave the couch and my sweats for brunch, but only if drag queens are involved.
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, solely focused on the moment. It's my favorite thing in the world.
I photograph for multiple publications and cover all kinds of concerts including local acts, national tours and large-scale music festivals like Pitchfork and Lollapalooza.
"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
"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."
Chris + John
"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."
Amanda + Brian
"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
"There are no words to describe the genuine energy that Madi emits. From our initial encounter meeting, we knew we had found the BEST photographer. She captured such special moments in our photos. We couldn’t have been happier with our choice. Madi is an amazing human being and we are grateful to have stumbled upon her. Hire her. You will NOT be dissatisfied. I literally wish we were best friends!"
Raven + Jeremy
"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
"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