Archive for October, 2013

I never actually met Katie or Mark until the day of the wedding. They planned it all from out of town and everything was coordinated over the phone/email. But when I walked into Mario Tricoci and saw this happy girl with a beaming smile on her face – I knew it had to be Katie (okay… it helped that she had on a white jumpsuit, too). We were a little worried about the weather since it looked like it was about 10 seconds from down pouring on us all morning, but Katie was prepared with cute umbrellas just in case. As it turned out, we never actually got rained on. It stormed during the ceremony, but the skies parted during portraits and the sun came out for the perfect amount of time to get us just what we needed 🙂

Katie + Mark, you two were quite honestly one of the HAPPIEST couples I have ever seen on a wedding day. Your infectious smiles, your laughter, and your affection for each other was so obvious that it made everyone feel like we were truly witnessing something special. With all the details that were homemade by family members – it definitely was such a meaningful day and I’m so glad I was able to capture it all for you! I hope you had an amazing time and that these photos always bring you back to this unforgettable day.

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Jill Tiongco Photography | Gaelic Park WeddingJillTiongcoPhotography_0060.jpg
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VENDOR CREDIT

Reception Venue // Gaelic Park

Wedding Dress Designer // Forever Yours at Bridal Mansion

Bridesmaid Dress Designer // Belsoie at Bridal Mansion

Groom/Groomsmen Tuxedos // Men’s Wearhouse

Hair Stylist // Megan Carey at Mario Tricoci

Make-up Artist // Mario Tricoci

Videographer // Chicago Videography with Concept One Photography

Florist // Jadrien Sheehan with Timeless Wedding Impressions

Church Flower Arrangements // Green Trail Florist

Cake Artist // Naples Bakery

DJ // Music Mania

Paper Goods Designer // Exclusively Weddings

Ceremony Venu // St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church

Party Bus // Emperor Limousine

Like many couples, Kim + Pat met at a college party through mutual friends. But it wasn’t exactly love at first sight… let’s just say that Pat didn’t think Kim was interested in him at all 😉 It wasn’t until the second time they met that the two of them hit it off and started the rest of their lives together. Their first date was at a winery down at ISU where they both went to school, so when the time came for Pat to pop the question to Kim he brought her back to a winery to make it that much more meaningful. And the sentiment doesn’t stop there…. Pat proposed with Kim’s grandmother’s diamond, and he also gave her a Pandora charm to go on her bracelet that meant, “forever entwined.” What a sweetheart!

Kim, Pat, and I shivered our way around downtown Chicago capturing iconic Chicago spots as well as a hidden gem area near the Kinzie St. bridge. The two of them were naturals in front of the camera, laughing, kissing, and cuddling up to stay warm. I know Kim from high school – we played basketball together – and it was so great seeing her genuinely happy with Pat. They got a head start on all the wedding planning, but I can’t wait to photograph their wedding in 2015!

Chicago Engagement Photos | Jill Tiongco Photography Chicago Engagement Photos | Jill Tiongco Photography Chicago Engagement Photos | Jill Tiongco Photography Chicago Engagement Photos | Jill Tiongco Photography

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I’ve held a special place in my heart for these two boys since the day I met them. I’ve not only been lucky enough to watch them grow up over the past few years, but I’ve been photographing them for 4 years – so I am now that crazy aunt that has a million pictures of them 🙂 We played around my neighborhood at Olive Park and Navy Pier, showed them where I live, they met my roommate’s dog (who liked my nephews so much he got overly excited and pee’d on my floor), and even went out to breakfast after freezing in the frosty fall weather. Something as small as holding my nephews’ hands as we crossed the streets I walk across everyday made me smile. It was like bringing a piece of home to my new home and it just reminded me how much I love these two little boys. One day when they’re 16 they’ll read this blog and be so embarassed of their crazy aunt with the camera, but oh well, we’ve all got one, right?

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After looking through my phone, I’ve learned that apparently for the past two weeks I’ve been eating lots of good food, working out, snapchatting, working hard, DIVYing, spending time with friends, watching Homeland and One Tree Hill, and doing some DIY projects. Everyone is attached to their phone these days… and I’m guilty of taking pictures of almost everything (hey, I’m a photographer – what do you expect?!) So I thought I’d share my life through my phone pictures…

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When I met with Jena + Anthony a few months ago to talk about photographing their wedding, I could tell they were really, really in love within the first few minutes of the consult. Anthony went inside to get a coffee, but came back with a cake pop for Jena 🙂 The cuteness carried into the engagement session as we walked around River North into River West stopping for photographs along the way. I heard stories about how Jena used to eat McDonalds nearly everyday, how Anthony called Jena that morning just baffled that they didn’t have milk and he couldn’t eat his cereal, and even how we weren’t allowed to split poles as we walked.  They kissed, we laughed, we joked, and as a result we created some beautiful images.

Jena + Anthony, congratulations on the engagement, new house, and a beautiful life together. It was crystal clear to me how happy you both are together. I’m so excited to photograph your wedding next year!!

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I’ve known Monica since our grade school days back at St. Charles Borromeo. We’ve basically played basketball together our whole lives… when she played up on the 8th grade team as a 7th grader for a game (I’ll never forget she was so terrified when I passed her the ball it went right through her hands, so the next time down the court she shook her head at me and said, ‘don’t pass it to me!’ haha love you, Mon), then in high school when we played Varsity together and all those fears went away as she became our rockstar point guard, and even to this day we still play in a recreation league together… so to photograph her and her fiancé PJ was a little bit different than what we’re used to, but that just made it so much more fun. I also know PJ from high school… and to see these two growing up, starting their lives together, planning on buying a house – I couldn’t be happier for the both of them.

We met at Jackson Park – a location that none of us had been to before – and wandered around finding the best spots of light, greenery, and even climbing into a little weeping willow cave-ish area – all while trying to stay out of the way of the soccer practice that was going on nearby. Like many couples who don’t take photos together professionally, they were a little nervous. But looking through the photos… those genuine smiles, PJ’s “smoldering” look, and the real laughter (that may or may not have been generated by me telling PJ to whisper something sweet and romantic in Monica’s ear and he says, “Oh yeah… we’re gonna sit on the couch and watch some good TV later…” Ha! Loved it. To Monica + PJ, it was so much fun seeing you guys again and photographing you together. You both look amazing and I can’t wait for the wedding next year!

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It’s been weeks since your wedding day. The last dance has been danced, the last crumb of the cake has been licked off your plate, the blisters on your feet from those gorgeous wedding shoes you just had to wear have worn down, and your wedding dress has been sealed in an air-tight bag for storage and is hanging in the back of your closet. The only tangible thing that can bring you back to those moments… moments from one of the most important days of your life, aside from your husband, are the wedding photos. Sure, in this day in age you can scroll through those photos on a computer screen. Click after click, you can see the photos as you sit in your desk chair. But clicking a mouse doesn’t compare to turning each page by hand, holding your memories in your lap, as you sit next to your loved ones on the couch 10, 20, or 50 years after your wedding day.

I know I’ve looked through my parents’ wedding album a dozen times. It’s perfect. It’s over 30 years old and it still evokes the same emotions it did that very day back in the Philippines. A wedding album is priceless. I cannot say that enough. You spend thousands of dollars to fill the little details on your wedding day, and the wedding album/photos are the only thing that preserve those memories forever. Purchasing a wedding album is truly an investment that appreciates over time. And this blog post is dedicated solely to showcasing the craftsmanship, quality, and beauty of my wedding albums.

About 4-6 weeks after your wedding day, all your photos should edited, up on my blog, and sent to you for viewing. After that, I start designing your wedding album. Sure, I could outsource the design process. But I was there. I know how the day went down. I know that you teared up when your father first saw you in the dress. I know that you had a chugging contest with all your buddies before putting on the rented tuxedos. I know the hidden stories of the day, and I want to tell that story through the album… so I design it myself. Once the design is approved by you, I send the spreads to KISS Books for printing and binding. They are one of the best in the industry and I have never been let down.

Jill Tiongco Photography Wedding Album | Chicago Wedding Photographer

My wedding albums feature full-grain, leather covers and a hard substrate between pages. Weighty and resistant to damage, Leather albums are perfect for a wedding book. KISS uses only 100% natural leathers selected for their grains, texture, strength, and quality. Full-grain hides feel better, last longer, and are more attractive than bonded-leather covers.

Jill Tiongco Photography Wedding Album | Chicago Wedding PhotographerJill Tiongco Photography Wedding Album | Chicago Wedding PhotographerJill Tiongco Photography Wedding Album | Chicago Wedding Photographer

 

Each page, made with true photographic printing on the finest Fuji Crystal Archival paper, lays beautifully flat, so you don’t lose any of the image. KISS builds all spreads with a micro-fold, preserving the full impact of the  design so each spread can be presented in all of its beauty. This micro-fold prevents prints from discoloring in the crease.

Jill Tiongco Photography Wedding Album | Chicago Wedding PhotographerJill Tiongco Photography Wedding Album | Chicago Wedding PhotographerJill Tiongco Photography Wedding Album | Chicago Wedding Photographer

Once the design is approved by you, the album will arrive on your doorstep in 6-8 weeks. Each wedding album is delivered with its very own swank, sexy, cloth dust-covers; and the albums are warrantied for life. If there’s a manufacturer’s defect, we will rapidly repair or replace it at no cost to you.

Jill Tiongco Photography Wedding Album | Chicago Wedding Photographer

For more information on purchasing a wedding album, please feel free to shoot me an email at photos@jilltiongco.com 🙂

When I made the decision to start a blog for my photography business, I knew I was going to be sharing personal and intimate stories about my life. Not because I think I’m that cool where everyone needs to know what I’m up to – but because I wanted past, present, and future clients to get to know me. I wanted to give my couples the chance to get to know the girl behind the camera. A chance to look a little deeper into the soul of the girl they trusted to capture every single memory on one of the most important days of their lives.

I’ve shared stories and pictures of my friends, my family, and even my own personal love story. I’ve talked about what goals I want to achieve every month, raved about my high points, and expressed stress during my low points. I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve and to be honest… for this reason – I’ve been avoiding writing personal blog posts for the past few months.

For those of you that have been regularly following my blog the past few years, you’ll know that I’ve always talked about my relationship. I talked about how supportive my boyfriend was of my businesshow incredible he was to me as a friend, described everything I loved about him in a birthday post, and he even wrote a guest blog post. I meant every word I said about him at the time, and I’m sure he meant every word he wrote about me. In all honesty it was a very happy 2+ years of my life and I will always be thankful for the memories we shared and created together. Over the past few months however, I’ve been saying goodbye to that relationship and that has made it very hard to write about anything personal on my blog. But avoiding the truth and leaving out such a big change in my life would not only be doing my blog readers a huge disservice, but it would be lying to myself. Change is never easy. Life is never easy. But no one ever said it was supposed to be, and I’m a true believer that each struggle makes us appreciate the good in our lives a little bit more. I said goodbye to a huge part of my life. And that was damn hard. But with every ending comes a new beginning, ultimately something better, and of course, a few life lessons…

I’m hopeful. Every single day, I meet new couples that are madly in love. I see it in their eyes when they tell me their love story, when they talk to me about how they met, how he proposed, and when they playfully banter about who has the final say in everything. And while I could choose to be envious or jealous of that love and let it make me sad – I choose the opposite. I choose hope. True love does exist, and I’m certain most of my brides and grooms have had their fair share of heartbreak they never thought they could recover from. But without that heartbreak, they wouldn’t have made their way into each other’s loving arms and found their way to me.

Jill Tiongco Photography Blog | Chicago Wedding Photographer

I’m strong. Never in a million years would I have predicted this is where I would be in the summer of 2013. If you know me, you know I always have a plan. But then life happens. And you realize you never know what is really going to happen. All you can do is survive. You fight through the pain in your heart, the tears streaming down your face… and then one day, it all goes away and you realize you made it through even stronger. I see that light at the end of the tunnel. I see myself pulling through this heartache and moving onto something bigger and better. I believe that God has something different in mind for me that I couldn’t see or do before. So I guess it’s true what they say, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” (Kelly Clarkson will now be stuck in my head, and possibly yours, for the rest of the day. You’re welcome).

I live in one of the best cities in the world. I recently made the move to Chicago. I’ve been wanting to do it for years, but it never really made sense until now. And while I may have lost one love in my life, I’ve gained a new one. Because I am absolutely, head over heels, in love with Chicago. Going to the beach, boating in Lake Michigan, walking everywhere, constantly something new and exciting to do, trying new restaurants, going out to the newest bars, being closer to more of my friends, seeing shows, the energy… everything – and being able to do it all and take a cab or walk home at the end of the night to my own apartment and sleep in my own bed, I couldn’t be happier.

Jill Tiongco Photography Blog | Chicago Wedding PhotographerJill Tiongco Photography Blog | Chicago Wedding Photographer

I have incredible friends and family. I could not have better friends or family in my life. Honestly. I am so incredibly lucky in this department. The support, the love, the conversations that turned my tears into laughter… they never stopped. My friends and family never left my side. The calls kept coming in, the plans to do fun things never stopped being made, and most importantly, their backs never turned when they were quite honestly sick of hearing about it. I have never been more thankful for my support system, and I truly am blessed to have every single friend and family member in my life.

Jill Tiongco Photography Blog | Chicago Wedding PhotographerJill Tiongco Photography Blog | Chicago Wedding Photographer

Jill Tiongco Photography Blog | Chicago Wedding Photographer

I’m my own boss. Now this… this might possibly be the BIGGEST silver lining in the history of silver linings. I just may have to call it a platinum lining. Because without this big change in my life, I would not have made the leap into full time photography for at least another few years. Or so that was the plan. And I’ve never been happier when it comes to my career. Yes it is hard work. Yes there are lonely days. Yes there are Saturdays I wish I could be spending with my friends. But the independence of it all. The creativity I get to use every single day. The variety of my day to day, not to mention the flexibility. The fact that I started it from nothing and turned it into a thriving business makes me pretty darn proud of myself. And I think I deserve to be. But most importantly, the looks on my couple’s faces when they are just thrilled with their photos. Those looks, their words of gratitude, and their excitement when I post even just a teaser from their wedding or engagement session – they truly are so rewarding, fulfilling, and gratifying, and I am lucky I get to be on the receiving end of those looks almost every single day.

Jill Tiongco Photography Blog | Chicago Wedding Photographer

Admittedly, this was a tough post to not only write, but especially launch for everyone to read. It’s personal, it’s me, it’s honest. But I just didn’t feel right skipping over this huge part of my life and pretending like it didn’t happen, especially for those who regularly read my posts. My blog has always been, and will always be, an extension of myself… my words, my life, and my experiences – both good and bad. I will never just be the photographer you hired to shoot your wedding. What I will be is someone you know both on a photography level and on a personal level. That is who I am, that is what my blog is about, and that is the type of photographer I want to be for you.

As 2013 comes down the final 3 months, I can’t help but look back over the entire year in disbelief. I set numerous goals, achieved some of them, failed at others, all the while forgetting that time was passing by. But here we are into October. It’s football season, the leaves will be changing soon, I have to figure out what I’m going to be for Halloween, and before we know it we’ll be carving turkeys and opening presents. But before I get ahead of myself, here’s a look back at my September goals and how I did:

September Goals ///

  1. Launch sample album blog. Still working on it. Yikes, I know. But I have it on the calendar to work on it this week or next week.
  2. Get a wedding published in a wedding blog. Done! Karen + Garth were featured on Carats & Cake 🙂
  3. NOT cry (like a baby) when giving my MOH speech at my cousin’s wedding. Success! And I also succeeded in making my brother, Jake, cry during it. I think I get bonus points for that one.
  4. Keep working out 3-4 times a week. Done. My new favorite is Nike Training Bootcamp… it’s a killer.
  5. Start cooking/eating at home more. I’d say I cooked a little more this month. I made chicken tacos…once. Okay, I’m still working on it.

Jill Tiongco Photography

October Goals ///

  1. Get that sample album blog up!
  2. Get another wedding published in a wedding blog. 
  3. Announce Winter Session specials.
  4. Finish all pending album designs.
  5. Volunteer somewhere.