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The Morton Arboretum
Zip Code: 
Occupational fields: 
Arts, Design, and Media
Fields of study: 
Media / Communication
Employment type: 
Full time
Years of experience: 
0 - 2 years
Required degree level: 
Bachelors degree
Remote Position: 
Job Expiration Date: 

The Morton Arboretum is a world-renowned nonprofit with a unique opportunity for a creative self-starter with an interest in trees, nature, and conservation. We’re seeking someone who thrives in a fast-paced environment and has experience creating authentic and unique visual photographic stories. You’ll be part of a talented Marketing and Communications team, working in a business casual office, with 1,700 acres of nature and beauty outside your office door.

Position Summary:

Serve as primary photographer by photographing and editing images that promote the mission, beauty, and activities of The Morton Arboretum. As a member of the Marketing and Communications department, work closely with team members to develop ideas for images that will position the Arboretum as the leading center of tree expertise. Maintain Marketing and Communications photographic assets and contribute to organization-wide efforts to manage and share images that support the Arboretum's mission.

Essential Functions:

  • Produce original ideas for engaging photographic images that communicate the Arboretum’s mission in a wide variety of Arboretum publications, owned assets, and advertising. Apply creative and technical proficiency, composition skills, and ability to use lighting to produce images that tell a story and/or record an event within the Arboretum brand style.
  • Under the leadership of the Head of Design, collaborate with the design department staff on creative direction, align with team leaders to capture images based on an annual editorial calendar supporting the needs of the Marketing and Communications department spanning special events, lifestyle, scientific story subject matter, and overall beauty.
  • Oversee post production of new images from start to finish including digital optimization,  color correction, and file naming.
  • Maintain Marketing and Communications photographic digital assets; follow consistent file naming, keyword, and metadata standards to enable search and retrieval of images. Work with Knowledge Management / Library staff to develop, document, and share image management best practices with other Arboretum employees. Collaborate with cross-departmental team to guide image use principles and procedures for the Arboretum.
  • Work with Marketing and Communications team members to curate high-quality image galleries for staff and public use. Collaborate with Knowledge Management staff to ingest and share images via the Arboretum's digital asset management system. 
  • Maintain photography equipment.
  • Other duties as assigned.


Bachelor’s degree in Photography required. In lieu of Bachelor’s degree, Associate degree plus professional experience may also suffice. 2+ years of digital photography experience required. Proven ability to tell a compelling story through photography, to engage a variety of audiences. Photographic portfolio demonstrating a “good eye,” imagination, and composition required. Demonstrated ability to put people at ease in front of the camera. Proficient in Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and Bridge required. Understanding of best practices in digital asset management. Experience with Google applications beneficial.

Success Factors:

Creative, innovative, and a self-starter. Effective time management skills, with the ability to meet deadlines and manage multiple projects simultaneously. Understanding of the Arboretum style and tone. Ability to work independently and cohesively with fellow colleagues as part of a team. Good communication skills, respecting others' points of view through engagement and interest, incorporating constructive feedback. Customer service oriented with the ability to relate effectively with people of various backgrounds and ages. Strong interest in acquiring a thorough understanding of the Arboretum, its mission, programs, and staff.

Physical Demands and Work Environment: The physical demands and work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform these essential functions.

  • Physical Demands: Requires some physical activity: limited lifting and carrying (up to 20 lbs.), traveling around the Arboretum buildings and grounds. Some local travel.
  • Work Environment: Work is performed both indoors and outdoors in all seasons and weather conditions.
  • Equipment: General office equipment, computer, digital camera, appropriate lenses, tripods, backdrops, hard drives, the use of artificial lights, bounce boards, reflectors.
  • Schedule: Requires some early morning, evening, and weekend work for film shoots and events.
Additional Information: 
To apply, visit For full consideration, please include cover letter, resume, and a link to a digital portfolio. The Morton Arboretum is a champion of diversity, supporting a culture of inclusion that attracts, inspires, and engages people to achieve success. The Arboretum is committed to hire and develop employees based on job-related qualifications irrespective of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, or veteran status. To increase diversity in professions related to the public garden realm, we encourage applications from underrepresented minorities, persons with disabilities, and veterans. The Morton Arboretum is dedicated to complying with our obligations as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All applicants are guaranteed equal consideration for employment.

The Morton Arboretum is a magnificent outdoor museum with a mission to collect and study trees, shrubs, and other plants from around the world, to display them across naturally beautiful landscapes for people to study and enjoy, and to learn how to grow them in ways that enhance our environment. Our goal is to encourage the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. The Arboretum ranks among the leading arboretums of the world in size, age, quality of specimens, and programs in Plant Collections, Science and Conservation, and Education.

History:  Established in 1922 by Mr. Joy Morton, founder of the Morton Salt Company and son of J. Sterling Morton, the originator of Arbor Day, the Arboretum has grown to include 1,700 acres of plant collections and gardens amid spectacular natural landscapes of woodlands, prairie, lakes, and streams.

Plant Collections:  The Arboretum grows and displays a rich diversity of trees, shrubs, and other plants that are Collections evaluated for their suitability for the midwestern United States. These living collections include 222,000 plant specimens representing 4,650 different kinds of plants. Arranged by geographic, taxonomic, and other special groupings, the collections are enhanced by restored natural areas of native plants.

Science and Conservation:  The Research Program focuses on practical scientific studies; key areas include tree health, tree Conservation improvement, and woodland conservation. Housed in the state-of-the-art Research Center is a Herbarium with a collection of 200,000 dried specimens for botanical research. The Chicago Region Trees Initiative develops strategies for tree and urban forest improvement; the Community Trees program advocates for trees in 274 communities in seven counties. ArbNet, facilitated by The Morton Arboretum, is an interactive professional community of arboreta with programs to foster advancements among tree-focused gardens. Science and conservation initiatives address international needs to build partnerships and save endangered trees.

Education:  The Education Program is relevant to needs and interests in learning about plants, nature, and ways to improve our world. Through the Thornhill Education Center, classes and other offerings for adults, youth and family, and schools and scouts serve 47,000 participants, with 646 schools partaking of field, lab, and outreach programs. Also available are teacher-training resources and a cooperative botany degree program with regional colleges and universities. The Sterling Morton Library contains collections of 27,000 volumes on botany, horticulture, natural history, and ecology; rare books, periodicals, and catalogs; and 12,000 botanical artworks. The Plant Clinic answers inquiries from 536 zip codes about plant selection and care. 

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