Chicago Photography Tour

June 2025
June 2025

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2 Days
Availability : Spring 2021
Min Age : 16+
Max People : 16

The details below are from our 2019 tour. The 2024 trip will be similar but not identical. Click “NOTIFY ME” to get an email as before tour details and dates are announced to the public.


Join us for a two-day Chicago photography workshop dedicated to improving your photography skills and capturing the city’s most iconic locations. Plus, we’ll leave time to enjoy Chicago’s food and nightlife. Hosted by Spike and a team of local guides and photography instructors, this tour is open to all levels of photographers… from DSLR to iPhone!  Don’t have a camera? No problem… SONY will supply one!


Presented by Procam and SONY

Tour Details

Chicago is a photographer’s dream. The third biggest city in the U.S. offers a multitude of places to take breathtaking pictures.  Architecture, food, sports, music and the waterfront combine for some of the most photogenic streets in the world… all in one place!  Get ready to learn new techniques, see breathtaking views, and experience Chicago from a native photographer’s point of view.  Open to all skill levels and any type of camera. Want to try a nicer camera or lens? SONY will loan you one for this tour – free of charge!  They will bring all the latest state-of-the-art cameras & accessories for you to test drive. 

Meeting Place

Hyatt Regency Riverwalk Hotel (MAP)



Maximum Participants


Age Restrictions

18+ (minor must be accompanied by adult)

Price Includes

  • Engaging local Chicago tour guides
  • Instruction & guidance from a pro photographer
  • Transportation during photo tour
  • Any necessary entrance fees during tour
  • Use of group iPads during tour
  • Printed guide to photography tips & techniques
  • Printed guide to Chicago and walking tour map
  • Gift bag!

Price Excludes

  • Transportation to/from Chicago
  • Lodging
  • Meals
What To Expect

Whether you are an experienced photographer or this is your first time using your camera, our guides will be able to coach and educate you so that you can take home incredible memories of Chicago. This is not a “class.” We believe the best way to learn new photography techniques is to get out in the street with your camera… explore and shoot!

All levels of photographers are welcome.  Our groups usually include a combination of couples, singles, friends and family… travelers who prefer to visit unique corners of the city and have some fun! The tour is especially built for those who have never been able to slow down and explore Chicago. While many of my tours offer views of wide open natural spaces, this tour embraces the noisy streets and looming skyscrapers!

In order to keep costs low for this excursion, we leave the travel to you. This gives you the option to fly or drive to Chicago… or even extend your stay beyond this tour. We offer a discount group code for the Hyatt Regency (see “accommodations” below).

We will provide lots of info leading up to the photography tour including what to wear, what gear to pack and recommendations for restaurants, bars, museums and other Chicago “must do” attractions for your free time.

Your guides for the weekend:

  • SpikeYour host with the big mouth! He loves sharing his passion for photography, travel and adventure! Spike has traveled the world, chasing the perfect location to photograph. He started this small-group travel company to help others fulfill their bucket list and realize it's as much about the experience as it is about photography.
  • Barrett McGivneyOur instructor is a native Chicagoan and Sony Imaging Specialist. "The Bear" has been a freelance pro photographer since he was 18 and has worked in the photo industry for over 20 years. He has taught classes on topics such as basic lighting, portraits, RAW files and Speedlights... all with a sense of humor that keeps his classes fun & entertaining.  
  • Amanda ScoteseAfter a decade as Tour Guide & Guidebook Researcher with Rick Steves, she brought her travel expertise back home to create "Chicago Detours" guided tours. Amanda holds degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of Michigan and has an undying love for her city of Chicago.

Day 1Friday

Friday is “check-in day” for most since Saturday’s tour starts early. We leave Friday night open for you to explore the city on your own. For some, this is a first visit to Chicago so we supply a guide with recommendations of things you might want to see that aren’t a part of our weekend photography tour.

Day 2Saturday

We’ll meet at 7:30 AM in downtown Chicago for a quick welcome and orientation meeting. Then we’ll take a 2.5 hour indoor/outdoor walking architecture tour of downtown Chicago. We’ve planned a creative route that weaves through buildings, the busy city streets and even some secret underground shortcuts. You’ll get a new perspective on looking at its famous architecture – both inside and out. We will be shooting an incredible assortment of Instagramable pictures while the tour guide educates you on the history of Chicago from the 1800s until today. At some locations, we will pause to create more artistic compositions while you hear about the events and people that influenced the city. And we will keep this Chicago photography workshop fun and flexible because when you’re in the Windy City, you never know what you’ll see!

The group will break to eat lunch and rest on your own.

After lunch, we board our charter bus to extend our tour of Chicago beyond the downtown Loop area. This will also be a chance to spend more time composing artistic photographs of the city at several locations. A professional photography instructor will accompany us all day so we can spend more time learning techniques including long exposure, bracketing, HDR and more. We will talk about depth of field, leading lines, perspective and how to create a sharp, well-lit cityscape. Bring a tripod as we end the day with some sunset and nighttime shots before returning to our hotel by 7:30pm to grab dinner on your own.

Day 3Sunday

An early morning can result in spectacular photos! We will meet around 5:45 AM to be in Millennium Park by 6am. Our goal: to capture sunrise at Cloud Gate aka “The Bean.” This iconic sculpture is one of Chicago’s biggest attractions and it’s usually swarmed with tourists. Not only will we capture it without crowds in our photos, we’ll also have the best light to feature Michigan Avenue’s wall of skyscrapers in the background. This is a chance to become more comfortable with shutter speed, ISO, white balance and the various settings on your camera. We will continue shooting for almost four hours through Millennium Park, Maggie Daly Plaza and the Lake Michigan waterfront until 10 or 10:30am when we will return to our hotel so you can check out and get to airport or get on the highway. This is our final shoot of the day, so participants can bow out at anytime to conclude shooting and travel home.

* NOTE: For this photography trip. we require you to be reasonably fit in order to casually walk for a few hours from location to location. We also require that you are able to carry your own camera gear, and enter and exit the vehicle without assistance. Please contact us if you have any health concerns that may make a trip challenging and we can answer all questions. When you send your tour deposit, you certify to us that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions that would create a risk for yourself or for others on the trip or alter the group’s travel plans.


The Hyatt Regency is our chosen headquarters where we will meet early each morning. 

In order to keep costs low for this excursion, we leave the travel and accommodations to you. If choose to stay at a different area hotel, we ask that you are not late to our planned meeting locations as we will not delay departure due to lateness.

Please note: In the event that you have to cancel your “Explore With Spike” trip, we make every attempt to replace you with another paying traveler but if not, your tour is non-refundable. The best way to protect yourself against unforeseen changes in your travel plans is to purchase travel insurance… which costs about $50 for this trip. More Info Here.