Rockin Ray

By Krishna Gupta 
A Chat with Ray Thompson

Recently I had a chance to sit down with Ray Thompson of Rockin Ray Photography and ask a few questions.

Did you grow up in the Chicago area? If not where and what brought you to Chicago? I grew up in Kenosha, Wisconsin which is 60 miles north of the city.

What do find the most interesting about the city?  There is always something going on and so many interesting/good restaurants.

What neighborhoods do find most interesting and why? Depends on what you mean by interesting.  For nightlife and “action” River North is definitely interesting.  The west loop area is really starting to get more interesting, as well.  A nice variety of things there.

You picked up a camera in 2011. How did that happen? I had been interested in photographing for quite some time.  It finally seemed the right time.

How did you get started in the business? I started shooting concerts back in 2011, and the following year, I did a fashion show that some friends of mine were in.  I found I enjoyed that, and so I started doing some more of them.

I notice you shoot many different types of events. Can you go through the differences in shooting style and what the interesting pieces? When I’m shooting birthday parties, it can be more casual.  Shooting a wedding requires one to be on their toes all day as who knows when that magical moment strikes.  I also have to be more of a director (similar to when doing a photo shoot) as the couple is relying on my direction.  Fashion events are a mixed bag.  Runway shows tend to be more chaotic.

What have been some of your favorite events that you’ve done and why? I don’t really have any favorites per se.  I mean, each and every Dragon*Con that I go to every year in Atlanta will always rank up there because of the costumes and designs that people wear.  And of course, I have a very big love of the work I do with Avanse every month for their Happy Hour series.  Charity, good people, and good times what more can a person want?!

Do you like to shoot places, people, or other items? People.

What kind of equipment do you use? I use a Canon 5d Mark III body.  I use a variety of different lenses.

What is the most challenging part of the work? Dealing with difficult lighting and/or shooting in confined spaces.

The easiest? Taking the photographs, especially when working with good clients and lighting

Most fun part? Photographing!

Any other final comments? Photography is something that I love to do, it’s just a part of who I am.  I feel a little strange when I’m without my camera.  It’s a huge joy for me.  It’s about the moments.  That is what photography is to me.


We have a few photos to discuss.

This is from a photo shoot that I did with Abigail Simon.  We were trying to think of a shoot to do this summer, and we decided on a beach shoot.  She’s a professional ballerina who I have known for awhile now, and I think this captures her beauty as the sun starts to set.  This was taken at Oak St Beach.
3G6A0154 (1024x683)

This picture just might be one of my best “action” shots.  This was at the Modelo International event in Rolling Meadows earlier this year.  My aim was to try to capture an action shot as I knew she was a jumper and I was lucky enough to capture her right at the top of her leap.  It’s one that I get the most positive feedback for.  I was in the right place at the right time!

3G6A8591 (1024x641)

This photo is absolutely one of my favorite photos ever.  I took it at Dragon*Con 2013.  I just managed to catch it at the right time as Stacia was raising her arms like a rising from the water.  I actually call the photo Phoenix Rising.


3G6A3475 (1024x828)


My thanks to Ray for sitting down with me.