Archive for Monthly Goals/Updates

Happy New Year! Hopefully everyone had a fantastic time ringing in the new year last night and no one is feeling too hungover today. To kick off the new year, I figured I’d post my personal goals as well – since I posted my business goals yesterday. What better way to start the new year with a little optimism and positivity, right? Have a great day everyone – I’m off to do more celebrating!

14 Goals for 2014

  1. As always, workout more consistently.
  2. Cook/eat dinner at home at least 4 times a week.
  3. Play my guitar more.
  4. Get that stupid ding on my driver side passenger door fixed.
  5. Plan a girls night once a month.
  6. Sing one solo karaoke song.
  7. Show more patience in everything I do.
  8. Be a better and more supportive friend, daughter, and sister.
  9. Get the interior/exterior of my car detailed.
  10. Continue to play recreational sports year round.
  11. Plan a family night once a month.
  12. Go on one adventure-cation.
  13. Focus on what I HAVE, and not what I want. See the positive in both people and things.
  14. Backpack through Europe.



The end of the year for many is a time for reflection… both good and bad. It’s a time when people look back on the year at their successes, their failures, their growths, their gains, their losses, and hopefully a few lessons learned. 2013 was all of those things for me and more. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a little nostalgic looking back at my 2012 recap, favorite 2012 moments, and 2013 goals I set for myself. This blog has become an honest, raw documentation of my life… both professional and personal. And while it’s hard for me to share so many things I hold close to my heart, the reactions and support I get from my friends, clients, and readers that follow my blog make it all worth it to me. Every time a blog post gets a Facebook “like”, or someone comments on what I wrote, or even better someone high-fives me on the street about my blog (I swear, it happened just last week), I’m reminded why I do what I do. My clients respect me on a professional level AND know me on a personal level, and like I’ve said so many times before, THAT’S the type of business I want to run. I’ve been blessed with an incredible client base that wants and appreciates the exact same thing as me, and I cannot wait to see what and who 2014 connects me with.

To be completely honest, looking back on the goals I set back in December 2012 for myself was hard. If you know me or if you follow my blog, you know this was a life-changing year for me. I won’t get into too much detail, but in case you missed it you can read more about it here. Long story short, I am in a completely different place in life now than where I was just one year ago. I am still the same person, yet I am different and learning new things about myself every single day. I’m living in a new city, running my own business full-time, and while I still LOVE (and am kind of obsessed) with my friends I’ve had for years, I’m hanging out with new people and making new friends all the time. I do miss parts of the life I was living this time last year, but I know that girl was dying to be doing the things I am doing today so I am thankful and happy with the way things have worked out.

Jill Tiongco Photography | 2013 Chicago Wedding Photographer

Here’s what I wanted to accomplish in 2013 and what I actually did.

2013 Goals

1. Book 10 weddings. // I shot 12 JT Weddings in 2013 (not including the double digit weddings I second shot).

Jill Tiongco Photography | 2013 Chicago Wedding Photographer

2. Sell at least 2 weddings albums. // I’ve sold 7 so far, and counting… See what the Fairytale Wedding Album looks like, here.

3. Finalize my business plan and keep track of financials. // I’ve hired an accountant and he’s the man. See ya soon, Barry!

4. Have one wedding published by a wedding blog. // I’ve had 3 published by Style Me Pretty IllinoisCarats & Cake, and Style Unveiled.

5. Purchase the following equipment by the end of the year: Canon 5D Mark iii, 85mm 1.2L, 135mm f/2, Think Tank Rolling Travelling Bag, and mayyyyyybe a 70-200 f/2.8L. // I bought it all except the 70-200, which I was renting and plan on purchasing at the start of the 2014 season.

Wow. I may have bored you all to death, but I have to admit… writing all of that out reminded me how much I’ve accomplished this year and what I have to be proud of. It all went by so fast that I guess it never really set in until now. 2014 is going to have to be a record breaking year to surpass this one 🙂

24 Goals for 2014 

  1. Book 20 weddings. Yep, I’m going for it. I’m looking to double my goal from last year. 
  2. Do a better job of keeping track of financials and the business side of things. I’m a creative – that stuff puts me to sleep but it’s gotta get done!
  3. Blog more consistently on a schedule, and hopefully more often than twice a week.
  4. Improve my workflow. Find a way to edit, cull, and prep the blog more efficiently.
  5. Network more with other photographers. Be a more active participant in current and new photographer groups.
  6. Revamp my website and blog.
  7. Get new head shots taken.
  8. Re-design and order new business cards.
  9. Attend a Chicago and destination photography workshop.
  10. Improve branding packages.
  11. Read one photography/business related book
  12. Update legalities, Signature Collection, and a la carte options in contract.
  13. Purchase the following equipment: 70-200mm f/2.8L, 17-40 f/4L, and maybe a 100mm Macro. Oooooh and maybe replace my 13″ Macbook with a 15″ Macbook Pro.
  14. Develop a more set work routine, and work from locations other than my apartment, (in other words, shower and don’t work in my PJs everyday – it just has to stop).

2014 will be my first, official full year in business. It’s going to be more of a learning experience than anything, with its fair share of ups and downs… so honestly, I’m just hoping to come out still smiling and loving what I do. If you’ve stuck around this long, I’m impressed. Thank you again for all of your support – 2013 wouldn’t have been as incredible as it was without you. I wish every single one of you the best in 2014 and hopefully we’ll be back here in 12 months laughing at how I just crushed every goal I set 🙂

Jill Tiongco Photography | Happy New Year!


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.


What the heck happened to summer? August snuck past me while I was busy planning a wedding shower, working weddings, going on photo shoots, bumming at the beach, and yes – I even learned to dive and tread water without a life vest. How old am I? Despite these accomplishments, I fell a little short this month of completing my goals – but September is a NEW month and hopefully I can bounce back. C’mon, I just moved to the city and the summer is ending – I had to have a little fun, right?

August Goals Recap

  1. Blog the new sample album and start showing it to clients during consults. // My new sample album just came in the mail yesterday so I am taking some time today to photograph it. Blog post coming very soon!
  2. Spend one full-day exploring my new neighborhood with my camera and blog it. // Does laying on the beach taking photos with my phone count? The beach is technically my neighborhood…
  3. Start waking up earlier and getting to the gym for 8am, 9am, or 10am classes before I start work for the day. // Hey – there’s one goal I accomplished this month. I’ve been good about getting to XSport for classes this month. My new favorite classes aside from the standard Piloxing, Turbokick, or Muscle Max? Nike Training Bootcamp and Interval Training. Talk about a butt kicking.
  4. Plan a date night to Bub City, Jazzin’ at the Shedd, or picnic on the beach. // Again, does it count as a date if my roommate and I ordered Jimmy Johns to the beach one day for lunch?
  5. Announce End of Summer Sale. // I started making the announcement for this, but my schedule filled up so quickly that I ran out of time. The End of Summer Sale might have to turn into a Fall/Winter Special…

September Goals

  1. Launch sample album blog.
  2. Get a wedding published in a wedding blog.
  3. NOT cry (like a baby) when giving my MOH speech at my cousin’s wedding.
  4. Keep working out 3-4 times a week.
  5. Start cooking/eating at home more.

Jill Tiongco Photography | Fun Chicago Wedding Photographer


The months have just been flying by these days. Every month, I write this blog post. And each and every time I am astonished as to how fast 30 (or 31) days goes by. Seriously. It never fails. I blink, and the month is over. This time I blinked and apparently the summer is almost over. Aca-scuse me? Aca-believe it. (All you Pitch Perfect nerds know what I’m talking about. I’m obsessed!) Anyways…

Here’s what July looked like for me goal-wise:

Design and print my sample album. /// DONE and being printed as we speak. Can’t wait to share it with all of you!

Have all financials figured out by the end of the month. /// DONE and meeting with my accountant next month.

Spend ONE day with my camera exploring my new neighborhood and blog it. /// NOT QUITE. I’ve explored a few blocks radius of my apartment, but not the way I should have. With being back and forth between the suburbs so much this month, it was hard to spend a whole day doing that. But now that I’m in the city all week I will definitely try to tackle this one in August.

Meet ONE new photography friend for coffee. /// SCHEDULED. I had TWO new photography friend coffee dates on the calendar, but both had to be reschedule… I’m counting it anyways.

ENJOY finally moving to the city. /// ABSOLUTELY. Cannot say enough how much I am in love with living in this city.

What am I thinking for AUGUST???

  1. Blog the new sample album and start showing it to clients during consults.
  2. Spend one full-day exploring my new neighborhood with my camera and blog it.
  3. Start waking up earlier and getting to the gym for 8am, 9am, or 10am classes before I start work for the day.
  4. Plan a date night to Bub City, Jazzin’ at the Shedd, or picnic on the beach.
  5. Announce End of Summer Sale.

A lot of rainy days sprinkled with sunny days few and far between – and it’s July already. June. What can I say about June. I had high hopes for this month, it being my birthday month and all – and well, let’s just say I learned a lot about myself and made some HUGE strides in the business. But first, let’s recap June goals.

Prioritize my sleep: I definitely got more sleep this month.

Design another sample album: This I did not do, but for good reason. I pushed it back to July because of an opportunity with a vendor. More on that coming soon.

Design/send bridal shower invites: Done and sent.

Work Out: Ooops. But I play in 2 volleyball leagues a week now and am walking a lot more. That counts for something, right?!

Find happiness within myself: This is the biggest one for June. In the beginning of the month, I really struggled with it. But the past few weeks, with some decisions I’ve made – I think I’ve finally found it.

That being said… I found happiness by…

Moving to downtown Chicago and pursuing photography full-time! That’s right, I am now a full-time, legitimate Wedding & Event Photographer! Wow it feels good to say that… a smile just crept across my face as I typed it. The timing was right and I know this is going to be a great move for me. I couldn’t be more excited and I am so thankful to everyone that helped me come to this decision and is supporting me through it all! Many more blogs on this to come, but I wanted to officially announce it with my goals since I’ll have PLENTY to do this month 🙂

July Goals

Design and print my sample album.

Have all financials figured out by the end of the month. 

Spend ONE day with my camera exploring my new neighborhood and blog it.

Meet ONE new photography friend for coffee.

ENJOY finally moving to the city. 

I moved in last Thursday, and let me tell you – Hawks parade, ROOF at the Wit, walking along the lake, beach volleyball at dusk, patio lunches, Sweet Mandy B’s, Howie Day at Lincoln Park Arts and Music Fest… I’m off to a GREAT start.

That middle picture about sums up how I feel 🙂

Jill Tiongco Photography | Chicago Wedding Photographer



1. Use a more efficient method to track financials/wedding expenses.

  • CHECK. I have every expense listed out in a spreadsheet ready to incorporate into my new business plan AND bring to my accountant.

2. Workout twice a week outside of basketball nights.

  • CHECK. Whether it be the running at the gym (yawn), playing basketball outside, playing softball, or going on walks… I’ve definitely been more active this month. It helps with the nicer weather (finally) getting here. Hopefully this month I can get back into the gym studio for classes. My knees have been killing me lately, so I’m thinking of getting into spinning. Any other suggestions? Would LOVE to hear some ideas in a comment 🙂

3. Master my external flash.

  • HALF CHECK. I’m getting there. Definitely improved from where I was last month.

4. Finish all May wedding timelines.

  • HALF CHECK. Just have 1 left. Everything has been so hectic that I haven’t gotten around to my last one yet, but it WILL get done this week.

5. Set up my new proofing interface for clients.

  • CHECK. Now using Zenfolio to post proofs and sell prints. Learn more about printing your photos with me on the blog.


1. Revise business plan.

2. Meet with accountant.

3. Finish editing 2 out of 3 May weddings and submit for publication.

4. Take at least 4 gym classes this month, in addition to playing rec sports (basketball, volleyball, and softball).

5. Make a smoothie/juice for breakfast twice a week.

Special side-note: I shot a wedding this past Friday where SO MANY guests, whom I had no idea had even seen my work, had the nicest things to say about my photos. I just wanted to say I truly, truly appreciate all the kind words and it makes me feel so incredibly proud, appreciated, flattered, giddy, and blessed to be doing what I’m doing and that people are actually seeing my work (and liking it). I definitely wouldn’t be able to put in all the hours if it weren’t for people taking the quick few seconds to say they love my photography. So, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart 🙂 Shout out to Mal Purdom for admittedly reading my blogs every week too! Love ya!

And in case you missed it, here’s a little sneak peak from that wedding on Friday… obsessed.

Jill Tiongco Photography | Elmhurst Wedding Photos | Wilder Mansion Wedding

I think all this cold weather and snow in March has made me forget that it is spring! With getting super sick, going to WPPI, then moving out of my apartment this month – March was over before I knew it. I’m welcoming April with open arms, hoping for some sunshine (because being in Vegas for 3 days of sunny, 80 degree weather, then coming back to gloomy 20 degree weather is NOT fun), and getting geared up for more photo shoots and another wedding.

As always, I like to set goals for myself each month and recap at the end. If I’m being honest I did not feel like setting any goals for April. Maybe it’s because I’m writing this blog super early in the AM and I’m still asleep. Or maybe it’s because I’m just being lazy. But I’m making myself do it because writing them down and posting them on my blog helps me make sure I used this month to help me better my business and my life.

First, a recap:

March Goals

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

  • I definitely thought about doing this before/during/after the wedding, but I ran out of time. Next month?

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.

  • I made TWO new friends at WPPI (and reunited with a favorite), and we’ve formed a Facebook group to keep in touch and help each other with any questions we have.

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

  • All paper goods designed, ordered, and in-hand. Still need to go to Hobby Lobby, though.

4. Design and order branded greeting cards for clients.

  • Done!

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.

  • Ummm… no comment.

April Goals

1. Use a more efficient method to track wedding expenses.

2. Workout twice a week outside of basketball nights.

3. Master my external flash.

4. Finish all May wedding timelines.

5. Set up my new proofing interface for clients.

I recently blogged about my photography goals for the new year. But I figured, since the point of this blog is for my past, present, and future clients to get to know the person behind the camera, I should share my personal goals – personal as in, my life outside photography. Hard to believe I know, but it does exist 🙂

I’ve also found that listing out my photography goals every month has kind of held me to keeping those goals – or at least coming pretty darn close to it every month. So I’m sharing these goals with you all in hopes that my goals for 2013 won’t fall by wayside like so many new years resolutions unfortunately do.

I chose to set 13 goals for 2013. The list is personal, close to my heart, and puts my insecurities and inadequacies out in the open – so as hard as this may be for me to share, here I go:

1.) Eat in moderation.

2.) Make working out a routine/priority.

3.) Eat one fruit/vegetable everyday.

4.) Accept what I cannot change.

5.) Run the Shamrock Shuffle again.

6.) Don’t let insignificant things bother me.

7.) Plan a family night once a month.

8.) Do what I want, even if no one wants to come with me.

9.) Plan a date night once a month.

10.) Reach my savings goal/be closer to a downpayment on a condo/townhouse.

11.) Go on one adventure-cation.

12.) Plan a girls night once a month.

13.) Start prioritizing my sleep.

I’m setting some lofty goals this year… we’ll see how it goes 🙂

I can’t put into words how amazing of a year 2012 has been. I’ve seen my business grow more ways than I ever thought was possible in such a short amount of time, and it only makes me incredibly excited to see what 2013 brings. What started out as a hobby two years ago, has now turned into my passion, my life, and hopefully sooner than later – my career. If you want to read about some of my most unforgettable moments of 2012, check out my 12 Moments List.

As I did every month in 2012, I set a few goals for December. Let’s do a recap of how I did.

1.) By request of Danny, take one weekend completely off from photography… meaning no editing, emailing, marketing, or anything related to business. Probably going to be the toughest goal of the month for me.

– SUCCESS! This actually wasn’t too hard since wedding season ended and I tied up most of my loose ends in late November/early December. For those of you that know me, you know how difficult it is for me to COMPLETELY relax, but there was definitely a few weekends where I barely did anything related to photography (okay okay – I may have answered a few emails and updated by blog, but it was only done to kill time so I could let Danny sleep in) 🙂 And actually I took this past weekend off and went up to Lake Geneva for some Dexter marathons, R&R, and snowboarding 🙂

Jill Tiongco Photography | About Me

2.) Add all the new album and a la carte options to my 2013 pricing sheet.


3.) Start working out. Seriously this time. This has been in my monthly goals twice and I’ve failed both times. Now that my schedule is opening up a little bit, I’ve got no more excuses.

– semi-SUCCESS. I definitely did a lot better this month. I went on a few runs and went to a few classes. There’s always more I can do, but it was definitely a great start to the ever popular New Year’s resolution of working out.

4.) Finalize all booked wedding contracts for 2013. Right now I have deposits but am missing signed contracts for 3 weddings.

– I have all except 1 in hand but it is going in the mail today so I’m gonna say… SUCCESS!

5.) Print a sample album to bring to wedding consults.

– I started working on one yesterday. But I’m pretty happy with this goal since I finally chose what company I’m going to be printing through and I played around with designing the albums. I’ve even set aside some time after the new year to work on it… so this will be coming soon!

Goals for January

1. Finish assembling sample album/print it.

2. Create an itemized list of all expenses from 2012 for each event.

3. Set up an appointment with an accountant to go over all financials.

4. Order new personalized flash drives and packaging.

5. Snowboard at least twice.

BIG Goals for 2013.

1. Book 10 weddings (only a few more to go!)

2. Sell at least 2 Wedding Albums.

3. Finalize my business plan and keep track of all financials more efficiently.

4. Have one wedding published by a wedding blog (theKnotStyle Me PrettyGreen Wedding Shoes, etc.) by the end of the year.

5. Purchase the following equipment by the end of the year: Canon 5D Mark iii, 85mm 1.2L, 135mm f/2, Think Tank Rolling Travelling Bag, and mayyyyyybe a 70-200 f/2.8L

Have a safe and happy new year everyone!