I spent some time with Katie + Jake in Roscoe Village during their Engagement Session. We wanted to capture their new neighborhood together so we started the cold day in their apartment with their pup and walked a few blocks around their place. Katie and I have been talking about me photographing their wedding for years now, so when their date was set and we found out I was already booked – I was heart broken. BUT, I can definitely say she’s in good hands with another JTP Photog, Nicki, – and I love that I still get to be a part of Katie + Jake’s day behind the scenes, will be working on the photos after the wedding day (pretending I was there celebrating with you, of course), and that I got to (at least) shoot your engagement! so so so happy that you’re “gonna have your own JTP photos” now, katie 😉 hope you love the photos and can’t wait to see pics from the wedding next year!

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Emily is a high school senior from a small town in Michigan. Emily, her mom, and grandmother all came down to Chicago for a fun weekend and to snap some senior portraits – and we had so much fun! She loves the city, and hopes to make her mark on it next year in college. Her vibrant, outgoing personality will definitely do just that – you will thrive in Chicago! Emily, I’m so excited for you! This is such a special time in your life – so many doors are about to open for you, and I know you’ll take advantage of every single one! Best of luck to you, and ps. you look gorgeous in all of your pics (and in real life!).

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Jackie + Colin didn’t let a little rain derail their plans – they decided to just go with it. To shoot their engagement session, rain or shine, cold or hot – nothing was going to stop them from having a blast. Nicole took them over to the Lincoln Park South Pond area and found the cutest little pockets of fall colors. They capped off the session with drinks on the J. Parker rooftop – and I just love the way these all turned out. Not many couples are willing to brave the rain, so Jackie + Colin – extra points to you (AND to Nicole for shooting in the rain!)! I think these turned out super special, unique, and so so beautiful – I hope you love them! Here’s to hoping for some sunshine on the wedding day, now 😉

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Ada + Charlie met at McGee’s at a school social event. Ada started chatting with Charlie thinking he was also a student (even though he was just hanging out there with some friends) – and Charlie didn’t really tell her otherwise 😉 It’s a good thing he didn’t because look where that small talk got them! Throughout their relationship, they’ve become regulars at their favorite restaurant in Chicago, Ada Street. They travel in all the way from Arlington Heights to frequent this hot spot – so what better spot to spend their engagement session than exploring the area around it and ending with a few cocktails (a sidecar to be exact – Ada’s favorite!). Ada + Charlie, thanks for sharing your spot with  me – I love how these turned out and can’t wait for the wedding next year!

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This one slipped through the cracks of the busy season and never got blogged – which is silly because it’s one of my favorites – not just of the year, but EVER. It was my first time shooting at the Field Museum and oooooh boy could I shoot there every single day. Ashley + Vince, you know how I feel about you guys – love you both, you’re the sweetest… your day was nothing short of a Party with a capital P. We’ve already talked and I know you love the photos (yayyy!), but I still wanted to share a few of my faves on the blog. All the best to you guys – and I hope this isn’t the last time our paths cross!
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Marissa + Rob met at Brown through musical theater. Marissa’s sister thought they’d be a good fit together – and she was right! After living together in New York for a year, they recently made Chicago home and wanted to capture their River North home during their Engagement Session – and of course including their Boyd look-alike, Nala. Nala is a fiesty little kitty – probably the perfect match for Boyd – and she was so much fun to incorporate into the photos. She swiped at my cameras, got in the middle of all the action, and true to cat-form – didn’t want to be held for too long. I loved taking a peek into Marissa + Rob’s daily life for the Engagement Session (and we got to watch a little of the Cubs game!). Thanks for letting me in and being so much fun to work with – can’t wait for the wedding next year!


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Neighborhood walks are my favorite. I think it’s the perfect way to capture this time in your lives in a real, authentic way. Most of us aren’t going to live in the city forever, so to be able to capture a neighborhood — streets you walk on everyday as a couple, businesses that you frequent together or even just pass by on a daily basis, surroundings that you see on your way to and from everyday life — to me, tells your story the best. These places might not  make for the most obvious, picturesque backdrops – but it’s real life. And each life and story is beautiful in its own way, isn’t it?

This is exactly what we did for Katherine + Mike. The entire shoot was captured at their condo, or within a one block radius. We started with some champagne on the couch, walked to the park where they take their dog, Lily… and literally strolled around the block finding hidden gems and alleyways. It was the perfect way to capture their life together. The only thing missing might have been their favorite greek salads (which they probably got after the shoot)! Katherine + Mike, thanks for trusting me to make random alleys and streets work for the shoot – I think it turned out awesome and I can’t wait for the wedding next year!

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Melissa + Jack’s wedding day was one of those rainy Saturdays that you kept hoping the rain was going to let up, but it never did. It stormed all day long – the wind made it feel like it was raining sideways and rain drops just falling heavier and heavier – but Melissa + Jack smiled through it all and with the help of their amazing wedding party (see trolley pictures below) the party never stopped. Our original plan was to shoot at the Lincoln Park South Pond. When the rain made that impossible, our plan B was to go to the Lincoln Park Conservatory, which is a covered greenhouse. Well, the rain still somehow made it’s way inside – forcing us to plan C… staying at the hotel. And this is when the rain became a blessing in disguise. Aside from being ‘good luck’ on your wedding day, this particular day of rain forced us to shoot inside Hotel Lincoln and the J. Parker rooftop. It gave us a chance to get something different and unique (and stay dry!). Melissa + Jack, THANK YOU for keeping such a positive attitude all day and being up for anything. Your wedding day wasn’t about the rain — it was about your love for each other, sharing it with your family and friends, and dancing the night away. Here’s to a happy life together filled with rainy and sunshiny days 🙂

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VENDOR CREDITS // Wedding Dress Designer: Morilee | Bridesmaid Dress Designer: Watters | Groom Tuxedo: Tie Bar | Groomsmen Suits: The Black Tux | Hair Stylist: Tina Morales, Three One Two Bridal | Make-up Artist: Casey Dickenson | Videographer: Amor in Motion, Karis Vazquez | DJ: Fig Media | Paper Goods: Christina Sinopoli | Ceremony Venue: St. Alphonsus | Reception Venue: Greenhouse Loft | Caterer: Food for Thought, Lisa Ware

 

Kelly + Austin met through mutual friends after college. They met at a party, which moved to Homeslice, which is where they hit it off. Fast forward to this summer (three years later) and they found themselves on a sailboat getting engaged 🙂 For their Engagement Session, we decided to go back to where it all started to snap a few pics. Meaningful locations are always my FAVORITE, as it makes the photos that much more special! Kelly + Austin, I had so much fun with you guys during the session, and I can’t wait for the wedding next summer!

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The past two years, we’ve tried to start a tradition of camping somewhere new. Last year, we kept it local to Starved Rock/Illini State Park. But this year, thanks to our Southwest Companion Pass, we took our camping trip out west to Colorado to explore Rocky Mountain National Park. No car camping (last year was a baby step for me since I’d never been camping before!). This year, we put everything on our backs and hiked into our campsite – Pine Ridge (about 1.5 miles uphill from this parking lot). I’ll be the first to admit, I was pretty nervous about it – but Dan is a pro-outdoorsman so if there’s anyone I’d follow blindly into the woods – it’s him.

It was pretty cloudy/rainy the whole drive in from Denver, so I was not looking forward to hiking in and setting up camp, but as we parked and got set up to go… the skies cleared (sort of) and this beautiful rainbow appeared. It was the perfect sign to let me know everything was going to be okay.

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As we hiked in, we were battling against the dark. Our flight out of Chicago got delayed, so we arrived a few hours later than we had originally planned. We needed to get to our campsite and set up before dark, so stopping for pictures was NOT encouraged by ranger Dan – HA! Good luck not letting me snap at least one pic. And of course since I was taking one, he decided to sneak one in, too.

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JillTiongcoPhotography-PersonalBlog_0003.jpgThis was home for the next three nights. It doesn’t look like much, but it was AWESOME. We had the entire campsite to ourselves 🙂 And we lucked out that this particular site had a privy (otherwise we were fully prepared and came with a shovel)!

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Yep, this is where we pooped for three days. I know it seems awful, but when I was expecting to be digging holes all weekend – this was a very welcomed LUXURY!

 

The next day we explored the area near our campsite (actually behind the privy). We climbed up the rocks pictured on the left to enjoy this view and some snacks. After our little break, we hiked up to Ouzel Falls for a light hike. This trail was pretty touristy, but still gorgeous. I’m a sucker for streams and the sound of running water, and I was feeling a little under the weather so this was the perfect easy hike for day 1. The best part was our little chipmunk friend, Alvin, that ate nuts right out of our hands… he later returned to haunt us/steal our trail mix while we were napping in the hammock.JillTiongcoPhotography-PersonalBlog_0005.jpgJillTiongcoPhotography-PersonalBlog_0007.jpgJillTiongcoPhotography-PersonalBlog_0006.jpgJillTiongcoPhotography-PersonalBlog_0010.jpg This was right before I got stuck and had nowhere else to go…
JillTiongcoPhotography-PersonalBlog_0008.jpgThen Dan, of course, showed me up and walked across the higher, more dangerous log over the stream (left). Oh, and that hammock was AMAZING. I could sleep in that thing every day of my life. Those smiles are pure happiness (of course, this was pre-chipmunk messing with us and stealing our snacks).JillTiongcoPhotography-PersonalBlog_0009.jpgThe next day we spent pretty much the whole day hiking up to Finch Lake (~8 miles round trip). On the way, we saw a cow and a calf, and barely any people – which was nice. The only people we saw were 3 locals and they were surprised we had found that trail since not many people take it –  which is always a good sign to us! It was a pretty tough hike, so we set up the hammock for a little nap/snacks. Photo cred for the picture below goes to a tree branch. I hung up my camera and took it remotely from my phone. I’m surprised it turned out because it was SO windy that the camera was swaying back and forth (note my hair).JillTiongcoPhotography-PersonalBlog_0013.jpg
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We had such a fun time – I LOVED unplugging from the world and getting back to nature. Can’t wait for next year’s trip! Does anyone have any suggestions?? Leave your favorite camping spots in the comments below and/or hike recommendations… I’d love to hear what y’all are exploring!JillTiongcoPhotography-PersonalBlog_0015.jpg