I'm 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.
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.
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 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.
"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 beginning of the shoot, Madi had us laughing and being silly to the point where we felt no discomfort in front of the camera. She made us feel at ease and was therefore able to capture us 100% authentically. She is incredibly generous with her time and creative energy- we've had so much fun showing off the photos to our friends and family. We had a blast working with her and are looking forward to her taking our wedding photos as well. 10/10 would hire again!"
Alexia + Dan
"She showed up with both natural warmth and excitement and a professional perspective on helping us get shots we loved. Madi excels at both naturally being a part of a moment while helping you tilt your head or move your arm to get a great shot. There was no pressure to be anything other than how we felt (which was ecstatic!) The result was a wedding album that TRULY told the whole journey of our day! Madi has a true talent and is a joy to work with. For smaller or larger events, she has a ton of experience and heart and will give you beautiful photos!"
Elle + Hal
"Madi was so great! Easy to work with, organized, engaging, friendly, interactive, and one of the most creative photographers. She really captured what we were looking for. Even the guests complimented on her professionalism and friendly nature. And her work is amazing! Highly recommend Madi and will use her again!!! Her passion for her craft shows in everything she does. She did an amazing job and the results... fantastic! Thanks Madi!!!"
Colton + Dominic
"Madi brings a great sense of professionalism to her practice, is quick to respond to requests, good-humored, and ensures the comfort of her clients. She was an incredible asset when it came to documenting our wedding reception. From planning a few weeks out with email lists of photographs and opportunities we did not want to miss to the day-of. She captured details we never expected: high school friend reunion dances, handkerchief folding tutorials, hidden whispers between my wife and me, snarky smirks of our parents, and so many details we easily could have missed. Madi captures characters, emotional exchanges, and most of all, memories."
Kelly + Nicole
"Madi scouted out spots downtown prior to the day, which was a thoughtful step that made it feel personalized and special. She did a wonderful job taking photographs after our City Hall wedding! Madi was very responsive to our needs and made coordination of meeting up easy. She also was very respectful of safety measures such as wearing a mask and social distancing. Madi was also able to edit and share the link to our photos after only a few days, so we were able to share them with family and friends quickly. I would highly recommend Madi Ellis Photography!"
Emma + Mark
"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
"She was a joy to work with! Her work is beautiful and modern, yet timeless and enduring. It’s one thing to be a great photographer, which Madi is- it’s something else entirely to be able to illicit real emotion like Madi can. Her “bedside manner” is incredible. She made us feel so at ease and able to be ourselves. Her direction guided us to some truly great shots that we will treasure forever. Madi’s work and talents are unique. Her technical skills are inarguably immaculate, but her personality and ability to guide her subjects are just as valuable."
Nikki + Brian
"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