"The Sun-Times business is changing rapidly and our audiences are consistently seeking more video content with their news," the newspaper said in a statement. "We have made great progress in meeting this demand and are focused on bolstering our reporting capabilities with video and other multimedia elements."
The Sun-Times said the layoffs were part of a restructuring intended to appeal to "our digitally savvy customers."
Crain's Chicago Business said the Sun-Times and its affiliated suburban newspapers will ask reporters to shoot more video and photos for stories they cover, and will hire freelance professionals for other coverage.
The Chicago Tribune, citing sources it did not name, said about 20 full-time staff photographers at the Sun-Times received word of the layoffs Thursday morning.
Crain's, citing sources, said the number of people affected could be close to 30, including part-time and freelance employees.
Chicago Newspaper Guild Executive Director Craig Rosenbaum told Crain's the union "will be looking into all of our options, legal and non-legal."
"We think this is a terrible move for the paper and community."
The union is currently engaged in contract negotiations for reporters, photographers and other workers at the Sun-Times.