Gini Dietrich

#FollowFriday: Chris Mader

By: Gini Dietrich | September 6, 2013 | 

Chris Mader

By Gini Dietrich

Ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to introduce you to one Chris Mader.

Who, you ask? I don’t recognize that name from the community, you say.

Perhaps you will recognize this: Photo Chris.

Chris is a staple among the Spin Sucks community, always providing great feedback, asking important questions, and keeping things light and fun.

But here is an interesting fact about Chris: I had to ask her a bunch of questions to write this because she can be found nowhere on the web. I think she spends all of her online time working on the Timothy Whaley & Associates presence…and here.

A photographer and a marketer, Chris brings an interesting perspective because she can talk about how to use photos in our content from a professional’s perspective.

For the past 11 years, she has spent her time as a photojournalist at weddings, which means (according to her), she’s the person who hides in the rosebushes and stalks people to get real reactions throughout the day.

When I asked her what she loves most about her job, she told me a story about how she became a photojournalist. Thirteen years ago last month, the photojournalist at her own wedding (to husband Tim) captured shots that still make her tear up. She says she loves to be able to capture and give those moments of emotion to couples to relives for the rest of their lives together.

Then she said something I’ll let her tell you in her own words:

Following the emotion of the day is very freeing. I hang out behind closed doors with the bride and whomever is walking her down the aisle. Those last moments: Eyes closed, deep breath, tears through nervous smiles, are priceless. If I know dad MAY cry, I’ll focus in on him during the vows. Goofy groomsman who thinks I WON’t take a shot, or six, of him goofing off. This is all terrific stuff to laugh at for years!

Kind of makes you want her job, doesn’t it?

On the personal side of things, she and Tim have two kids – they are six and three – and they live in Bolingbrook, which is nearly as far as Sean McGinnis lives in Iowa (not really, but both suburbs feel really, really far away to me; I guess that makes me a city snob).

Because she lives in Bolingbrook and not the city, she can have a veggie garden – I’m sorry, HUGE veggie garden – which she loves to tend to and she loves to read and play Words with Friends (note to self: Invite her to a game!).

I mentioned she’s not an easy one to find on the web, but she does spend time on the Timothy Whaley Facebook page or you can find her in the comments here nearly every day.

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • Very neat! Congrats on your FF feature, Chris! A dear friend of mine took the pictures at his ex-wife’s wedding, graciously and with a heart full of joy for her. Among other things, that situation contributes to my fascination with the whole wedding photography process!

    • photo chris

      biggreenpen Thank you! And WOW! I had to read that a few times before I understood, lol. That’s quite amazing.

      • photo chris biggreenpen It is! He took the pictures at my wedding too. 🙂

  • Congratulations on the recognition, Chris. 
    Interesting that you’re not on social media. What do you do with all of your free time?

    • bradmarley She grows things. 🙂

    • photo chris

      bradmarley Who has free time? LOL Gardening (though it’s in a somewhat deplorable state at the moment) young children, weddings, editing weddings, swimming.

  • bobledrew

    Gotta like that smile. Welcome to the FF club, Ms. Mader. If, of course, you end up here to respond to comments.

    • bobledrew She will! If I can find her. 🙂

    • photo chris

      bobledrew Thanks so much Bob! I’m here; just nowhere else.

  • Our wedding photographer was horrible – it is my biggest regret. And while we laugh about it now (“Look, it’s the two of us in front of the bay, not centered and with a giant random wooden plank to the side!”) I wish we’d been able to find someone with your insight and skills and devotion to doing it right. It’s lovely to meet you! Happy Friday!

    • photo chris

      mickeygomez oh no! I am so sorry  you didn’t like your photographer! When we talk to our couples about meeting their photographer NOW for their 2014 or 2015 wedding we get some looks but try to explain that as photographers we not only create the memories of your day, but become a part of them. 
      I’m glad you guys can laugh about it now!

      • photo chris We can laugh about pretty much anything. 😉 If you ever need to make a case for meeting people in advance, do feel free to refer them to me. I’d be HAPPY to provide them with testimony in your favor.

        • photo chris

          mickeygomez photo chris Thanks Mickey!

        • photo chris

          mickeygomez photo chris Thank you Mickey!

  • Hey it’s Photo Chris! Amazing! Happy Follow Friday to you! It’s been great getting to know you around the comments here…maybe I can force you in to the city next time I hit Chicago and meet in person. Enjoy your day!

    • photo chris

      RebeccaTodd HI!!!! It is a little bit amazing *smile* Would LOVE to come meet you! Despite Gini’s thoughts on the burbs (BTW- she could totally BIKE here!) the city is not all that far. Sometimes a bit difficult to get into in the evening, but, I see clients there every 6 weeks or so as well! We could meet for dinner!

  • susancellura

    Hey Chris!!! It’s great to learn more about you.  Have a wonderful FF!!!

    • photo chris

      susancellura Thank you! I’ve enjoyed your past posts!

  • Happpppy #FF, Chris! I would think, as a photographer, you might be on Instagram? Great to learn more about you!

    • photo chris

      Matt_Cerms Gini wasn’t kidding, nowhere. I’m nowhere to be found. I’m in the studio building relationships for the company full time-part time from home; then I also photograph weddings, then I have two small kids and a veggie garden and friends…so while I TRIED to be on social media- even to keep in touch with equally busy friends, I think I make it to my personal FB page once a month, lol. If that.  Also, as a pro I think it’s hard to maintain control over your image on instagram- but that’s just from my early  looks at it for the studio.

  • I was dying to know if Photo Chris was male or female! 😀 Congrats Chris!!!

    • belllindsay Totally thought Photo Chris was a dude! It’s possible I wasn’t paying enough attention …

    • belllindsay I’ll come clean. I didn’t know so I asked for a photo. 🙂

      • photo chris

        ginidietrich belllindsay TOO funny! I’ll bet you were surprised then at the long flowing red hair? LOL

    • photo chris

      belllindsay It’s all part of my mystery! LOL

  • Photo Chris, woo hoo! You’re in Bolingbrook? I’m in Orland! Thanks to ginidietrich for helping us get to know you better. Congrats on #FF!

    • photo chris

      Word Ninja ginidietrich ah-HA! I KNEW there was a reason I loved you so much! I grew up in Orland. My parents are there. We meet clients there; I am there all the time! The whole 355 extension has been so GREAT! lol.

      • photo chris Word Ninja ginidietrich I need to get in on this…I grew up in New Lenox!

        • photo chris

          yvettepistorio photo chris Word Ninja ginidietrich South SIDE!  You’re “right over the bridge!”

  • Happy #FF Chris! Nice to get to know more about you. And now I’m going to go stalk your Facebook page and look at all the beautiful photos!

  • Hi, Chris! I love the photojournalist concept for wedding photos. I got married last year, and looking at some photography websites I felt like Inigo Montoya: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Lots of cheesy staged shots. 
    Our photographer was great but I think he was dismayed when we flatly refused to pose for “first look” photos, which I guess is the thing. I’m supposed to stand with my back to the camera then turn around revealing my “first look” at the bride. Uh, we got ready in the same hotel suite, sorry. And we’re not 22.

    • photo chris

      RobBiesenbach Congrats Rob! That’s exciting! Also funny that you just quoted Indigio Montoya- my husband quotes from him all the time, lol! 
      I agree that photojournalism has become a HUGE buzz word in our industry; I’ll try to stay off my soapbox about it for now.
      I think first looks can be REALLY wonderful, regardless of the age of the couple, if they are done in the true spirit of the day. (I have a blog post coming up on this very thing soon!) If the two of you got ready in the same suite I would have LOVED that- and THAT would have been your “first look” you know, when you actually HAD your first look at each other that day.

  • Hello Chris Madder…it is nice to meet you. I do some stock photography and I’ve always thought Wedding photography was an interesting and challenging profession. It seems you’ve figured out how to capture the essence of the day. That is awesome.
    Good choice Gini!

    • photo chris

      ExtremelyAvg HI there! This is funny- as I do weddings and always thought that stock photography would be interesting and challenging! I have a book or two on the topic but I think it’s a very tough thing to break into.

      • photo chris ExtremelyAvg I know it took me a few tries before I was accepted to istockphoto, but the experience has improved my technical skills immensely. A big part of the stock business is to be able to take a good image and make it flawless with photoshop.
        I once spent three hours on an image of a cave. It took combining two separate shots, one with a long exposure for the inside of the cave and a short exposure for the outside.
        It is such a rush when someone buys an image, though one rarely learns what they were used for. That being said, I did have one of my shots show up on the cover of a magazine for seniors. The best part was it was of my parents on the cruise in Alaska. Double win.

        • photo chris

          ExtremelyAvg photo chris Hi Brian! You got a COVER of your parents on a cruise? That. Is. Amazing! And sooooo fun! I’d frame it.
          Ohhhh, you like the tech! It’s the least favorite part of my job- likely because I haven’t really had the time to dive in and study it. Your cave shot sounds fantastic, I love caves as almost as much as the ocean!

  • jenzings

    Happy follow Friday! Great to learn more about you.

    • photo chris

      jenzings Thank you!  That’s exciting that he has sold work! I’ve never really looked beyond weddings professionally and interestingly enough, I’m not “classically” trained; meaning my degree is in writing and I took ONE basic photography class for fun. I too just kind of “see” things. It’s fun except I have a VERY hard time “teaching” others about it.

      • jenzings

        photo chris – He’s taken a few classes, but is not “classically trained” either. Just a really good eye and sense of color and proportion!

    • photo chris

      jenzings Jen, also, where does he sell his work? Is he online anywhere?

      • jenzings

        photo chris – He’s on Smugmug. Most of the photos he sells are motorcycle racing pictures!

        • photo chris

          jenzings photo chris  Just checked out his smug mug- the site is kind of cool- I really need to get out more, lol. Soooooo, you all have great images of amazing, adventurous places! I love the one of you (yes you?) in the sun at Stonehedge!! STONEHEDGE!

        • jenzings

          photo chris – Yup, that’s me! It was lovely.

  • Lisa Buyer

    Love the photojournalist insights!

    • photo chris

      @Lisa Buyer Thank you Lisa! There are countless moments throughout a wedding day that I adore capturing for people. I think when you can look at an image decades later and it makes you FEEL the same way you did in that moment- it’s priceless.

  • photo chris

    WOW! Good morning everyone!!!! I’m a little giddy at being here, I must confess! As Gini explained, I’m pretty “hidden” online. It’s by choice but you all are so fantastic; it’s nice to hear your insights every day!

  • Do you know who isn’t on social networks or found on the web ginidietrich ? 
    Spy’s! CIA. KGB. LMN. OPQ. Black Ops.

    Now you just outed photo chris  I mean who gardens? talk about a false bio. Oh wait I do (almost had freaking frost last night! had to cover the cucumbers and tomatoes)  And who lives in the country these days? Ok me but still! You aren’t going to get out of this one Dietrich.
    Slowly every reader here is going to disappear. Mysteriously. Rendered to safe houses in far away lands with names like Naperville and West Covina run by ruthless dictators who allow torture and only get 1 TV channel which is 24/7 Super Nanny Reruns.
    I already can’t find ExtremelyAvg or biggreenpen …gone…not even a note left. I mean Brian we can understand they probably overpowered him and took him away on horseback. He wasn’t even allowed to finish chapter 172 of his new book Spinning Sucks! (He hated Spin class) But Paula. She is a super hero. Something is wrong when they just go poof.
    You might think why would this happen? Because you just outed this decades version of Valerie Plame. When I am gone I hope you miss me. I just hope I wind up in Gitmo vs that compound in St Pete Florida where bdorman264 is kept. At least Gitmo gets the NFL network.

    • photo chris

      Howie Goldfarb ginidietrich photo chris ExtremelyAvg biggreenpen bdorman264 ROFLMAO! Allright, listen, all of you… I can’t laugh this hard at my desk- they already think I’m loud and crazy; and peeing in your pants is REALLY FROWNED upon here.  
      Howie- you had FROST!? Good grief! I don’t live in the country- just Bolingbrook. It’s just city folk who believe that, ha!

    • Howie Goldfarb ginidietrich photo chris ExtremelyAvg biggreenpen bdorman264 “POOF”!

  • Happy Follow Friday!  : )

    • photo chris

      DwayneAlicie Thanks Dwayne! Love that you have a “torrid” love affair with PR and Marketing!

  • Welcome photo chris and Happy #FF! 😉

    • photo chris

      EdenSpodek photo chris Thank you Eden! I always enjoy your comments!

  • SavvyCopywriter

    A veggie garden! You just made my mouth water 🙂 Great to ‘meet’ you Chris!

    • photo chris

      SavvyCopywriter Thank you! Though, if you actually saw the state of my poor garden right now….
      Every spring I think…If we just carve out a bit more space….then every late summer and fall I go, and WHERE am I going to PUT this?  The beets and carrots can’t be beat (ha!) though and I’m looking forward to fresh potato and leek soup really soon!

  • Photo Chris FTFFW! 
    Seriously one of my favorite commenters here. Always thoughtful, funny, and jabs my brain right where it needs to be jabbed. Sounds like a charmin’ household you got there, too. Congrats on joining the club and look forward to conversation’ing more.

    • photo chris

      JoeCardillo That is so sweet! Thank you! uh, “charming….” yes, yes, we’ll go with that! LOL  This is my daily and guilty pleasure- how great is it that I learn something new here everyday and get to talk with such smart and savvy people?

      • photo chris JoeCardillo It’s pretty great.

  • Ah, now the mask is revealed. Hello Photo Chris.

    • photo chris

      Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes Hello hello! Nice to see you too! 🙂

  • My wife still cries at our wedding pictures, but I don’t think for the same reasons. She says I  robbed the cradle because she is 6 years younger than me, but I make up for it by acting much younger than her…:). I think that makes her cry too. 
    Pictures are worth a thousand words and a good photographer who can capture those special moments are worth their weight in gold. 
    Is everything going digital: are we losing the ‘paper’ photographs?
    Nice to meet you; if you are friends with ginidietrich then you definitely get a hall pass around here.

    • photo chris

      bdorman264 ginidietrich  LOL, Hi Bill! The service of photography has gone digital for sure- at first I was sad and though they were going to bury me one day clutching my nikon F100’s, but I REALLY love it now. 
      HOWEVER, I am a  strong advocate of professional prints. REAL stuff- please, I can’t talk about the “photo paper” that comes out of a walgreen’s “press.”  All of our albums have real, archival photo paper in them, and then they are mounted to the page. We fully expect great-grandchildren to fight over who gets Grandma’s album, rather than her china.

      • photo chris bdorman264 ginidietrich Bill tell your wife my wife is 25 years old. She will feel better. But you might not LOL!

  • Lovely to meet you. I have a couple of friends that do wedding photography and those silly moments are their favorites as well.

    • photo chris

      aimeelwest Hi Aimee! Thank you! Are your friends in Chicago? Can I ask what co-op you work for? That sounds so interesting to me!

      • photo chris No they live in the Lansing, MI area. Here is a link to one of them: – the young blond girl in the yellow dress is my daughter Autumn. 
        I used to work for the East Lansing Food Co-op located in East Lansing, MI. It is a very unique business model. Everyone is welcome to shop and the store is owned by the ‘owners’ who purchase a share but everyone (meaning non-owners) are also welcome to shop.

        • photo chris

          aimeelwest photo chris OK- so let me say when you said it’s my daughter in the yellow dress, I was expecting a 4-year old! Aimee she’s beautiful, and could pass for your sister!  The co-op sounds really cool!

        • photo chris Thank you! We think she is beautiful and smart too. We are starting to get that now when we go out. We just laugh and when I tell people I have a son that is 17mo older than her they tell me there is no way.
          The co-op is a very cool business model it is very popular in Madison, WI there are about 6 food co-ops in that area and of course the Portland, OR area is very full of them as well.

        • photo chris

          aimeelwest photo chris I love that you added “and smart too!” I do this with my daughter (6) all the time! I almost always think to add this in person, almost never when I’m slipping through images (for either sex). I don’t think brains are wired that way.

        • photo chris Yes we always tried to point out that yes she was pretty but she should also be proud of how smart she is. I agree I think pictures are so visual that you automatically think that way plus it’s not like you can tell she is smart… no thought bubbles to say what she was thinking at the time. Which for some of those pictures was most likely ‘I have a bug crawling on my butt but I can’t move and mess up the shot’ 🙂  6 is such a wonderful age! So full of fun and learning. Enjoy every moment they go by quick.

  • Pingback: #FollowFriday: Chris Mader Spin Sucks | Gladstar Gifted and Talented Educational Centre()

  • Chris!!!! So I totally commented here in my head and being the creative only child that I am, I sometimes blur the lines between imaginary and reality (let me tell ya the story sometime of how I insisted that my mother throw a dinner party for 50 of my closest imaginary friends). So long story short it wasn’t until this morning that I realized: yep, didn’t actually comment….and since I’m not sure how tuned in your psychic powers are, I figured might as well come over here and make it happen to just be double sure you got the message!
    So enough about me, (again let us blame the fact that I’m an only child on the small issue that this entire post is about you and yet I’m still somehow able to make at least 3/4 of my comment all about me! That is mad egotistical skills, yo!) I absolutely love hearing about how you view your job and what you do. In fact it makes me want to go out and hide in bushes and start taking pictures of people (but then again that could be sort of creepy and I think maybe illegal without official approval, so I probably should just stick with my day job). And I’d like to officially sign you up to be my wedding photographer! Unfortunately this isn’t work that is going to be putting food on the table right away since there are no potential groom prospects in sight, but if all else fails I’m perfectly fine in simply hiring you as my paparazzi and taking pictures of me going to the gym and grocery shopping and such from the bushes. You can easily sell these to the major news rags “Laura caught buying Salmon at local grocery story. Is it farm raised or wild????” 

    So, boom! You are hired! And happy Monday my friend, very glad to learn more about you!

    • photo chris

      LauraPetrolino AH-HA! I KNEW that the connections here on Spin Sucks would make me rich one day!
      Good morning my friend! Are you sure you’re not my long lost twin? Not only are our company names the same, but, you, too, are an only child? I am, however, an adopted only child, and my dad is an only child too so I think I have you beat, ha!

      • photo chris ok Chris, you might be the follow friday but let’s not let it go to your head. I’m #petropower I always win unless I tell you that you won, which is still me winning 🙂 And guess what my dad was an only child too!! And don’t even try to pull the adoption card out on me….geeez…. 🙂

  • Chris and I got into a lively discussion about the Salt Covenant Ceremony within the last couple of weeks, so I am HAPPY to connect with Photo Chris!