This is the first in a series of my favorite locations to shoot in Chicago. Follow along every Thursday for the next installment to see if you have already checked the location off your bucket list.

Pritzker Pavilion

The Pritzker Pavilion, designed by architect Frank Gehry, is one of Chicago’s architectural gems. And it is a treat for the photographer. When there is not a concert or private event, you can walk through most of the pavilion. But know that there will be times when it is closed to the public.

Shooting Tips

  • Try including the buildings of Chicago in the background of your composition.
  • The Pavilion changes colors at night, so make sure your camera settings are set and wait for the color you want.
  • Depending on the angle you’re shooting from, try to use the rows of seats as a leading line in your composition.
  • Shoot tight on the individual metal pieces of the pavilion for an interesting abstract architectural image.
  • Shoot bracketed exposures at night to capture the large dynamic range of the scene and combine the brackets later using Photoshop or HDR software.


View Larger Map

If you’re walking from Michigan Avenue, you can find the Pritzker Pavilion in Northwest corner of Millennium park behind “The Bean.” The easiest way to get to the pavilion is to park at the Millennium Garages. But be prepared to spend $36 for parking. If you’re coming down during the weekend, there is an early bird $6 special at the Aon Building Parking Garage which is just across Randolph Street from Millenium Park. You can check parking prices using this new-to-me site, Parkopedia. It looks like this could an awesome tool for the Chicago photographer.

5 Responses

  1. Kevin Whitworth


    I love this kind of thing please keep them coming!!! When capturing this shot do you run your shutter speed slow and the f-stop high if so where was your focus point,

    off in the distance or on something closer?

    • outofchicago

      Hey Kevin! Good to see you. The plan is every Thursday to have a new one.
      I was at f/18 for this one and I took multiple exposures from less than a second to probably 30 seconds. I “try” to focus 1/3 of the way into the scene. In this case, I think I focused on the middle of the pavilion seats. With an ultra wide angle lens or fisheye, the depth of field is very big and forgiving, so it’s not difficult to get everything in focus.

    • Kevin Whitworth

      Excellent Chris thanks, I’m going to Orlando in January to Nikon School and I’m hoping to learn to be a better photographer :) Have you ever been to one of these types of classes in the past?

      • outofchicago

        Thanks, Paul. I’m looking forward to doing the next 24!

        Kevin, I’ve never done a workshop like that. But I’d like to. If nothing else, you’ll make a lot of new photo friends and get to spend the entire time thinking about photography. But I imagine the workshop will be very beneficial.

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