Archive for March, 2013

When I was at WPPI a few weeks ago listening Cliff Mautner give his presentation, he spoke about one of his blog topics: Photo of the Week. I, and one of my WPPI partner-in-crime buddies, Jordan, immediately and simultaneously scribbled it down in our notes. The whole idea was so simple, interesting, and relevant that it was a no-brainer I would soon adopt this idea into my blog. So thank you Cliff, and hopefully my adaptation of your idea does you proud.

This month’s pick…

Jill Tiongco Photography | Moment of the Month | Chicago Bride with Parents

The first installment of “Moment of the Month” is of my long-time friend, Diana and her parents. This photo was taken before the ceremony, in the trolley on the way to the church. It was natural, unposed, and completely candid (I’m lucky I caught it!). Diana and her parents let the emotions consume them and came to the realization that their baby girl Diana is about to be a Mrs. You can’t fake this stuff. LOVE it.

See the entire blog post from Diana + Edgar’s Wedding here.

Check back in April for the next “Moment of the Month.” And if YOU have any favorite photos of Jill Tiongco Photography that you’d like to see featured, feel free to shoot me an email and let me know why you love it. Your pick might just be next 🙂

Beth + Jeremy found me through other clients’ of mine, Elyce + Dan (can’t wait to shoot your wedding in less than two weeks!) After exchanging a few emails and a quick phone call with Beth, we booked. Their wedding was set at the charming Herrington Inn located in the heart of downtown Geneva, IL. It was my second time shooting at this hotspot, and I just can’t get enough of the rustic accents and gorgeous scenery right around the river.

Beth + Jeremy’s wedding was full of family traditions, including a necklace that Beth’s grandfather made for all the women in the family, and a french champagne that Beth’s father CLAIMED they would drink at her wedding – before Beth + Jeremy were engaged, and also one that Beth found before her father even had the chance to fill her in on his wishes – fate?

To the wonderfully happy couple, Beth + Jeremy – congratulations. It is a photographer’s dream to have a couple look at each other like you do – stealing glances at each other when you think no one else is looking… I loved capturing the looks in your eyes that make it so easy to see how much in love you absolutely are. Thank you for letting me be a part of your wedding day, and I’ll see you next weekend at Elyce + Dan’s wedding!









Special thanks to all the amazing people on the creative team that helped make Beth + Jeremy’s wedding day GORGEOUS.

second photographer /// Brittany Bekas Photography

wedding dress designer /// Galina

hair stylist /// Lori Emery

cake artist /// The Cakery

dj /// Sounds Abound

venue /// The Herrington Inn

While my back and shoulders hurt by the end of the day from carrying my heavy bag, everything I had in there was necessary and I used at least once. Here’s what I suggest:

Re-fillable water bottle.

It’s a long day and you’re in the desert. Stay hydrated. There’s water stations all over so you can fill-up rather than spending $3+ on water bottles everywhere you go.


I think Ryan, Becca, and Jordan can say that my bag of trail mix (not salt water taffy, Ryan) was clutch. I also had cuties and bananas in there. Those last two seminars of the day (4 – 8pm) cut right into dinner time and it gets a little hard to focus when all you can think about is what you want to eat for dinner.


Whatever your method of choice, being able to write things down was key. Even if you’re not a big note taker, I highly recommend bring something. It was hard for us to even remember what seminar we took that morning. You’re going from presentation to presentation to presentation. At some point it all starts to blur together and remembering something as simple as the album company they recommend can be like trying to remember the exact date of your last doctor’s appointment (I always hate that question).


I saw people with their DSLRs, point and shoots, or just their phones (what I did) – but there will definitely be things you’ll want to take pictures of. Ummm, hello… we’re photogs. We want to take pictures of everything. But it was even helpful to take pictures of the slides that were too much to write down. Either way, whatever you bring, be prepared to carry it with you all day – which is why I didn’t bring my heavy DSLR.

Business Cards

You meet great people everywhere. In line for the presentations, at the water cooler, in the bathroom, at the tradeshow – having business cards ready to hand out is a must.

I’m sure there’s much more you can bring to make your life a little easier, but hopefully this list puts you in the right direction!

I am in no way a fashionista. I am definitely a comfort dresser. I wear what is convenient, hopefully appropriate, and presentable. I know WPPI is about learning and photography and networking and all that ish. BUT, being the girl that I am – I definitely had NO IDEA what to pack for this trip, and found myself Googling “What to Wear to WPPI 2013” the day before my flight. And because I found a few good answers, I’d say I packed fairly well (if you consider a 53lb bag too much, maybe you should stop reading here…)

Dress in layers.

Vegas is hot. Presentation rooms are cold. But if you’re like me…. Walking makes you sweat. So the best tip I can give is to wear a sweater/blazer over a lighter shirt so you can either take it off or put it on, depending on the temp of the room.

Wear comfortable shoes.

You’re going to be walking a lot. We stayed across the street from the MGM Grand (where all the seminars were), but even if you’re staying at the hotel, it’s still a trek to the convention center and especially through the trade show. Wear shoes you can walk miles in.

Wear something you can sit comfortable in for hours.

Days are long and seminars are even longer. One after the other – so be ready to sit comfortably so you can focus on what the speaker is talking about and not how the person behind you things you’re a plumber. Not to mention, there’s some lag time between seminars so be ready to sit on the floor.

Not too casual, not too dressy.

I saw people in everything from super casual jeans and a t-shirt to girls in dresses. The feel is definitely all over the board, so wear whatever you’d be most comfortable meeting people in.

If you plan on walking around the strip between seminars, don’t wear space boots.

Remember, even though you’re inside most of the day, you’re still in the middle of the desert. Walking the strip between sessions can get hot, so hot in fact that you’ll have to stop in Walgreens to switch out of your boots into a new pair of flip flops to give the dogs some air. Wear shoes that are comfortable yet diverse enough for a cold conference room or a hot sunny day (I wore ballet flats, Becca wore strappy sandals, Ryan wore flip flops, and Jordan wore space boots. Guess who wanted to take a cab instead of walk because of the heat??) I love you, girlfriend.

Check the attire for parties.

We didn’t participate in these, but if you’re the type that abides by the theme of the party, check your itinerary before the trip. Chances are there will be a suggestions on what to wear. WPPI threw a “white” party at the MGM Grand Pool – some people didn’t wear white and others went all out – totally up to you.

Here’s what my buds and I rocked on the three days I was there…What to wear to WPPI 2014 | Jill Tiongco Photography

Bring a bag you can fit stuff in.

I had tons of life savers (not the candy) in my bag. They’re long days, you’ll need a few supplies… check back later this week to find out what you should bring in “What’s in My Bag.”

It’s hard for me to know where to start when even just thinking about the past four days of my life. So much information, so many funny memories, so many unforgettable moments. No matter what I write in this post, no words can fully describe how hard I laughed that I cried during a 2-hour+ lunch at Grand Lux Café with my new friends. There is no way to make you see the tiny little pieces of my mind being blown out of my ears when hearing incredible tips from not only the amazing speakers, but even just from any of my WPPI buddies: Jordan, Ryan, or Becca. There is also no way I can make you see the way Jordan and Ryan were GLARING at me after I won $100 after playing Roulette for 20 minutes and they lost $50+ in trying to join in on my fun :). To get to the point, WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International, for those of you who have been wondering what the heck WPPI is) was incredible—literally a game changer.

This experience has been so jam packed, that I need to break it into three different posts. In this post, I’m going to keep it to a summary of the biggest things I am taking away from the past 4 days (both from the seminars and the conversations with my photog buds). For all you other photographers going next year, keep an eye out for my info posts on “What to Wear” and “What’s in My Bag” coming next week. I know I definitely found those useful before my little trip.

What to Expect

Here’s the day to day for those of you wondering what WPPI is like. I’m sure everyone’s experiences are different, but this is what it was for me at least. Every morning, I woke up at 6:30am to get ready and make sure that I was at the 8:30am speaker on time. We would listen to a presentation from 8:30 to 10:00am, have a LONG break in the middle of the day that we filled with walking the trade show floor, exploring the strip, and scarfing down gluttonous lunches at places like Fat Burger, Grand Luxe Café, Blizz, and Nathan’s (for some reason, we were always starving), THEN head back to the convention center to listen to presentations from 4:00 to 5:30pm and 6:30 to 8:00pm. There were so many interesting sounding seminars that it was hard to pick which one to go to. It reminded me of Lollapalooza in that some of my favorite seminars were at the same time and I had to push my indecisiveness aside and choose ONE (okay, one time I chose two and left halfway through to catch the second half of a different one… but if you know me, that’s pretty standard). After the last seminar, there were networking events thrown by Canon, Sony, and WPPI – which I’m sure were really fun for some people – but for my group, we (of course) ate things like Caesar Salad Cones and Corn Bread Stuffing while watching people on stilts run around before retreating back to our rooms in exhaustion and ready for bed by 9 or 10.

ONE thing I learned from each presentation

I learned MANY things from each presentation. So many, in fact, that it’s hard to pick just one. But, hey – I paid a lot of money to go to this thing… can’t give it all away for free, right? 😉

Wedding Photography: What You Really Need to Know | Cliff Mautner

  • Blog idea: Image of the Week

Shadow Me: A Complete Wedding Experience | Roberto Valenzuela

  • Talk to my brides about wearing a little white dress for bridal prep photos while she’s getting her hair and make-up done (or at least make sure it’s an outfit she’ll want to be photographed in – it’ll make the pictures better.

Creative Composition in Wedding Photography | Susan Stripling

  • Choose lenses with a purpose, and use different lenses to diversify the images from the wedding day. The same image shot with two different lenses can look entirely different, especially when you start talking about compression.

From Hi to Buy | Jerry Ghionis

  • Reward clients that are ready to pre-purchase add-on album spreads with a discounted rate.

Remarkable: How to Build a Mind Blowing Business | Jesh Da Rox

  • Do something/anything to make yourself memorable

Dear Future Me, Stop Making the Same Mistakes | Jasmine Star

  • Write my-future-self a letter talking about where I am in my business right now and where I want to be in 2015. Define what success is to me and read the letter in 2015.

Efficient and Profitable Album Sales | Melissa Jill

  • Add album credit to Signature Collection

Contemporary Portrait Posing | Sue Bryce

  • Chin, shoulders, hands, hourglass, body language, asymmetry, connection

Shoutout to My Peeps

My WPPI experience wouldn’t have been what it was if I didn’t have the incredible company of Seattle’s JordanQuinn Photography, D.C (soon to be Orlando’s) Rebecca Read Photography, and Chicago’s very own Ryan Moore Photography. Jordan and Rebecca, we know more about each other than Danny, Billy, and Bo probably ever need to know 🙂 Jordan, you know I love you. Becca, I knew I’d love you because Jordan loves you. And Ryan, my unexpected hidden gem of the trip, I’m so glad you joined our little group. You three MADE my trip, and I don’t even want to know what this trip would have been like without each and every one of you. If you haven’t already, check them out folks – there’s some serious talent in there.

If you’re thinking about checking out WPPI next year, it comes HIGHLY recommended, and I hope this gave you a better idea of what to expect if you’re on the fence. Be sure to check back next week for my tips on “What to Wear to WPPI.”



Somehow February snuck up on me. It was the busiest I’ve been since the end of wedding season, and I have no idea how it happened. Snowboarding, dinners out, Valentine’s Day, Danny’s Birthday, and a few photo shoots brought this snowy month to an end before I knew it. I actually didn’t even realize the month was over until I read a fellow photographer’s blog this morning talking about her March goals – and then I remembered to flip my calendar 🙂 My wedding season starts TOMORROW – and I couldn’t be happier to get back into the groove of things. Let’s see what I achieved last month and what I am setting out to do in March.

BIG GOALS for 2013

  1.   I reached my goal of booking 10 weddings for 2013!!!
  2. I bought the Canon 5D Mark ii AND I got a ThinkTank Rolling Camera Bag

February Goals

1. Keep this working out streak going for 2 months straight.

  •  Womp, womp. Bummer. I pretty much stopped running all together. BUT, I put together a Rec League basketball team that I play on every week and I’ve snowboarded pretty much every week this month so that counts as at least two days of cardio a week, right? I suck L

2. Book 3 out of the 6 open weddings I have.

  • I still have one open that I’m meeting with over the weekend, but… I booked 4 out of the 5 consults I had so that’s a major success!

3. Submit an Engagement Session to be published.

  • Done, still waiting to hear back. Cross your fingers for me and my lovely couple.

4. Plan Danny the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER, ha. Seriously though, this guy puts up with a lot – he deserves nothing less.

  • I don’t know if it was the best EVER, but I managed to get 20+ of his friends/family all in one place to celebrate last week, bought him a new snowboard, made a homemade taco dinner on his actual birthday, and we’re going out for drinks/appetizers at his favorite restaurant tonight, J. Alexander’s, for one last celebration.

5. Plan a photog date with at least one new friend in the industry. I’m looking at you Ryan Moore.

  • Didn’t happen 🙁 I got so busy I couldn’t find the time. BUT, I’ll be at WPPI next month so that’s like 4 days of photog dates in a row.

March Goals

1. Keep a more detailed record of how long the wedding/editing process takes for my March 2nd wedding.

2. At WPPI in Las Vegas, make at least ONE new photog friend from the Chicagoland area and make plans to meet up for drinks/coffee back home.

3. Order branded stationary, USB drives, USB boxes, and go to Hobby Lobby to get embellishments for client USB drives.

4. Design and order branded greeting cards for clients.

5. Aside from basketball on Tuesday nights, run/workout at least two other nights a week – NO using business “busy-ness” as an excuse. Even when I’m swamped, just going for a 20 minute run is better than nothing.

That’s it! Like always, wish me luck, hold me to it, and if you see me in person, feel free to ask me if I’m on track to achieving my goals this month 🙂

Stay warm!