Chicago corporate, event, portrait and editorial photographer

Boasting of some of the best entertainment, attractions and cuisines in the country, Chicago hums with energy. You’ll never run out of things to do or places to visit in Chicago.

Whether you’re a foodie, a sports enthusiast, a shopaholic or an art lover, Chicago has something for you. Here are some of the best things to do in Chicago.

360 Chicago Observation Deck

Located on the popular Michigan Avenue is the 100-story John Hancock building. The observatory deck is situated on the 94th floor of the building.

360 Chicago offers breathtaking views of Lake Michigan, Chicago’s skyline and 4 neighboring states. They also offer a free multimedia tour, which allows visitors to learn more about the city. The audio tour is available in 7 languages.

Millennium Park

Millennium Park is a public park located in the heart of the city. It is the destination of choice for tourists and locals alike. It offers a variety of free events, exhibits, concerts and other cultural programs.

Visit a Museum

If you’re an art lover, you shouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to visit the Art Institute of Chicago. The museum houses more than 300,000 artifacts and artworks from all over the world.

Magnificent Mile

Make your way to the Magnificent Mile if you can feel your credit card burning a hole in your wallet.

Magnificent Mile is the upscale section of the Michigan Avenue. This section is lined with various high-end and midrange shops, making it the largest shopping district. All the biggest names in shopping are present here. Majestic architecture, top-rated hotels and restaurants also lie in the district.


Food is a big deal in Chicago. People head to the windy city for more than just Chicago-styled hotdogs or deep dish pizza. In fact, Chicago’s dining scene is unparalleled.  During your stay, make sure that you get your fill of local dishes, international flavors and top rated cuisines.


Chicago corporate, event, portrait and editorial photographer

As you probably know, your company’s success rests in the hands of your people. As such, team building activities not only benefit your employees, but your entire organization.

As more and more businesses realize the benefits of team building activities, companies of all sizes are incorporating team building programs into their training curriculum.

Here are 4 ways team building activities can benefit your company.

Keep employees motivated

Team building activities helps your employees grow. These activities are designed to help them develop new skills, conquer fears, and increase their knowledge.

By organizing a team building activity, you display to your team how much you value and care for them. When employees feel that you care about their success, they are more likely to feel motivated and take pride in their job, which often results in increased quality output.

Improves communication

In a corporate environment, employees have to work with different people. Since we all have different personalities, some employees may have a hard time dealing with their co-workers. Team building activities can help in this department.

The fun nature of team building exercises can help foster better communication among people. Since this is usually done outside the office, employees can mingle and communicate with their colleagues casually. After this, they’ll develop better relationships with their co-workers create a more positive working environment.

Moreover, it is a great opportunity for employees in various departments that may not normally interact with one another to get a chance to spend time together and get to know each other.

Increases productivity

The collaborative nature of team building activities teaches staff how they can use their skills and abilities to get the tasks done quickly and efficiently. It also challenges them to work together in order to solve the problems that they are currently facing.

Help your team recharge

Most employees spend the entire day at their desks, working on several tasks. Add their personal concerns into the mix, and you run the risk of having a stressed-out, burned-out employee that isn’t as productive as they might otherwise be.

Employees often see team building activities as a nice break from work. This allows them to get their minds off of work, if even for just a few hours. Because of this, your staff will come back to the office with a relaxed mind and ready to take on new projects.

4 ways team building activities can benefit your company

why you should film your corporate event

If you have ever hosted a conference, you already know that they’re no walk in the park. There are so many moving parts: schedules to keep, speakers to book,  venues to reserve…and those are just the “big” things.

With all of the work that goes into putting on a successful conference, it would be a wasted opportunity not to capture the moments that people will talk about long after they leave. When you take the time to photograph and capture video at your conference or corporate event, you memorialize the fruits of your efforts. This media can then be used in future promotions for upcoming conferences or marketing collateral down the road.

why you should film your corporate event

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What sessions and speakers are your “main attractions?” Focus on those first. A good videographer will work with you and ask these questions. If you know any of your speakers are especially engaging and energetic presenters, ask them ahead of time if they mind being filmed (hint: most love it!). Working with your speakers ahead of time ensures the film crew won’t throw them off during their session. Filming activities in between sessions is also a great way to find those organic interactions with people enjoying themselves.


Keep it Fresh

Have you ever had to sit through someone’s wedding video where Uncle Earl recorded everything without leaving his seat? For your sake, we hope not. This type of filming is more common than you think, but it doesn’t tell a great story.

Static video (think a video camera on a tripod in the back of the room) isn’t very exciting footage, so ask your videographer if multiple camera-operators are an option. When editing the material later, being able to combine clips from different vantage points during a presentation provides a nice viewing experience for your audience.



While people are at your conference, “in the thick of things,” you have a golden opportunity to get positive feedback and testimonials. Find those key stakeholders and ask them if they can do a 15-second testimonial for you. Someone you trust can even prompt positive reviews of your work and the event by asking leading questions. These sound bites can be used later on your website or as promotional material for another event.


Bring it all Together

By the time your conference comes to an end, you’re exhausted. For a few days, you kept a lot of people very busy and on their toes. While the event itself may be over, your videography team will be busy at work putting the video together in a comprehensive, cohesive, narrative.

The final output will be an invaluable marketing tool for you for years to come.


Chicago corporate, event, portrait and editorial photographer

Chicago boasts some of the best attractions, cuisines and entertainment in the country. But since you don’t have all the time in the world, choosing between all of Chicago’s most popular spots, restaurants and nightlife can be quite a challenge.

In this blog post, we’ve compiled some of the best things that Chicago has to offer. Here’s your comprehensive guide to the best things to do in Chicago.

Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP)

The Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP) is an incredible collection, creation, and examination of contemporary photography and digital imaging. This is certainly a place not to miss in Chicago.


The Music Box Theater

For the last two decades, the Music Box Theatre has been the premiere venue in Chicago for independent and foreign films. It currently has the largest theater space operated full time in the city.

McFetridge Sports Center

From ice sports to tennis, the McFetridge Sports Center is open for events and activities for patrons of all ages.

Chicago Architecture Foundation

Most notably, The Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise is worth every minute. This river cruise review more that 50 buildings along the Chicago river and is a must-attend for Chicagoans and tourists. The foundation also highlights other tours in Chicago and ways to get involved.

Garfield Park Conservatory

As one of the nation’s premier conservatories, Garfield Park Conservatory features 6 multi-facing greenhouses and two grand exhibit halls. It additionally offers beautiful location for special occasions in Chicago including weddings, reunions, business meetings and more.

Novelty Golf and Games

Novelty Golf and Games is a fun stop off with friends or family. It includes two 18 hole minature golf courses, batting cages, a game room and more!

Sidekicks Chicago

Sidekicks Chicago is a dive bar in Chicago that truly is a magical karaoke wonderland. You are sure to have a good time any weekend at Sidekicks.

Art Institute of Chicago

The world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago is considered as the 2nd largest museum in the country.  It houses more than 300,000 works of art, spanning 5,000 years in history. Spend a day here and marvel at one of the world’s finest collections of art.

Grant Park

Grant Park is often referred to as Chicago’s front yard. It is a large urban park that is spread across 319 acres of land. A trip to the Grant Park is a must for tourists since it is where you’ll find some of the most notable landmarks such as the Art Institute, Buckingham Fountain and Millennium Park.

Magnificent Mile

Magnificent Mile is the most famous section of Michigan Avenue. It is the largest shopping district in Chicago, featuring hundreds of retails stores, hotels, restaurants and museums. Here, you’ll find high-end designer shops. It is where the rich come to indulge.

Gene Siskel Film Center

Founded in 1972, the Gene Siskel Film Center of the Art Institute of Chicago has showcased cutting edge cinema to their frequent visitors. Programming includes annual film festivals that ‘celebrate diverse voices and international cultures, premieres of trailblazing work by today’s independent filmmakers, restorations and revivals of essential films from cinema history, and insightful, provocative discussions with filmmakers and media artists.’

360 Chicago  

Located in the heart of the windy city is the 360 Chicago Observation Deck. Perch atop the John Hancock Center, the 360 Chicago offers dining, sights and interactive tour above the city streets.

Wrigley Field

Built in 1914, Wrigley Field is the second oldest ballpark in the major league. It is also home to the Chicago Cubs since 1920. If you are looking to watch a game during your visit, be sure to act fast. Tickets get sold out pretty fast.

things to do in chicago

unique ideas for corporate events in chicago

One of the biggest challenges of planning a corporate event is finding a way to set it apart from the usual business gatherings. If you are in need of ideas for your upcoming events in Chicago, we’ve got you covered.

In this blog post, we’ll give you a few ideas that you can use for client entertaining, group outings, team buildings and company events in Chicago. Here are a few.

Food stations

Ditch the formal dinner and spice up your event with food stations. With this set up, mini buffets or dining stations are scattered throughout the venue; thus, allowing guests to get up of their seats, enjoy great food and mingle with other guests. It is a popular approach for those who prefer a more casual, congenial atmosphere.

JOOJ Blow Dry

On November 9, 2015, JOOJ Blow Dry, a mobile salon company opened its shiny doors to the public. These chic air-stream trailers visits corporate offices, events sites and downtown streets to provide customers a convenient and accessible hair styling experience. Sleek blowouts, chic updos, bouncy curls and loose waves are all on the menu.

Treat your clients or employees to a luxurious and relaxing styling experience with this chic mobile salon.

Private painting parties

Add some fun to your team-building event or office party by holding a private painting party. Guests will leave with a one-of-a-kind creation and a new-found talent to explore.

Bottle and Bottega hosts private painting parties in their studio or at the location of your choice. They can accommodate a group of 10 to 100 persons.

unique ideas for corporate events in chicago

Chicago Chocolate Tours

Stroll through Chicago’s most decadent chocolatiers and dessert boutiques and sample something from each one. Here, you’ll be able to sample some of the city’s most delicious offerings such as truffles, warm donuts, pralines, cupcakes and chocolate drinks. This tour will not only provide a fun way to learn about the history of chocolates, it will also solve your clients’ and employees’ sweet cravings.

As always, should you find yourself planning a corporate event, don’t forget to consider G Thomas Ward Photography to document the occasion. With both extensive photography and video experience, your unique corporate event will be sure to be remembered.

G Thomas Ward Photography

I grew up in Oak Lawn, Illinois which, in second half of the 70s and early 80s was a cultural desert.  If there was any culture to be had, I wasn’t aware of it.  My parents were good parents, but family, work, and making a home were their main pursuits.  My mother had a few LPs, Errol Garner, Johnny Cash, Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass, and some Christmas records.  There couldn’t have been more than 20 total.  We had 1 TV which was shared between my parents and my 4 older brothers.  Suffice to say, my viewing options were limited and I was bottom of the totem pole when it came to selecting what to watch.  We didn’t go to the movies, let alone theater, concerts or art museums.

Once I reached junior high, things started to change for me.  I started to take music lessons. A friend’s parents took me with them to see Abel Gance’s silent film masterpiece Napoleon at the Chicago Theater with a live orchestra.  I saw my older brother perform in his high school’s version of Fiddler on the Roof.  Once I got a taste of the arts, I couldn’t get enough.    Eventually, I became the entertainment editor on my high school newspaper, and was regularly winning local music performance competitions.  I was an honors student and my parents expected me to go to college to become an engineer or scientist.  With no one to really understand or nurture my interest in the arts, and limited means to pursue it on my own, my aesthetic education was slow.

I think it’s kind of funny that I ended up as a photographer.  I don’t think anyone who knew me in my high school days would have ever predicted it.  I went off to the University of Illinois enrolled in Liberal Arts, secretly wanting to become a film director, but afraid to tell my parents lest they say, “You’re going to be a dentist, and that’s FINAL!”  I thought perhaps I could sort of ease them into it.  How was I to know that I should have found a way to attend the University of Southern California if I wanted to go into film?  I was a plumber’s son from Oak Lawn, Illinois for god’s sake and all the smart kids went to the U of I.

I took my first photography class pretty much by accident.  Once I was out of the house, I was exposed to all kinds of new and interesting people, and was encouraged by my teachers and the creative environment.  I did have a lot of catching up to do in terms of my aesthetic education. Here are a few samples from my earliest attempts at photography, mostly from Photo I and Photo II classes.  These images span approximately from 1983-1985.

As part of an ongoing project, I’m reviewing some of my photography work from my first photography class to the present.  Here is my first post.


Theater photos Chicago

I was very gratified to find the following recommendation posted on LinkedIn this morning from my client Chuck Benya. As Director of Development at Vital Bridges and VP of Development at Howard Brown, Chuck hired me on multiple occasions to shoot events, fundraisers and other media events. Thank you, Chuck!

Gary is extremely easy to work with, professional but friendly, and flexible. I’ve hired him over the past two-years to shoot various special events. Prior to each event, we had phone conversations about how the organization was using the photographs (marketing, social media, annual report, etc.). I felt totally confident in his ability and talent and was thrilled with the results: he expertly captured so many of the details of Vital Bridges and Howard Brown Health Center’s events that we wouldn’t have otherwise. Gary is the unobtrusive, always present photographer that captures the right moment. He is also adept at the posed shot, too. The digital negatives and requested resolutions were delivered promptly.

I feel very confident that each organization’s investment in its event photography was worth it. I would definitely recommend Gary’s services!