Archive for for JT Photography

People always ask what I do in the off-season. Do I take month long vacations and adventure to places I’ve never been? Sometimes 😉 But mostly, the off-season allows me to do things for the business that I simply don’t have time to do when I’m busy on photo shoots and editing, blogging, and delivering thousands of photos. One of those things being getting my photos out to other blogs, submitting to magazines, sharing photos with vendors, and entering photo contests. This year, I submitted 50 of my favorite photos from 2015 to The Shoot and Share Photo Contest. It’s is a free contest by shootandshare.com which has 25 categories, some of them including: Just the Bride, Bride/Groom, Wedding Party, Just the Guests, etc. Contestants can submit to any of those categories, and voters can look through all the photos randomly and vote for their favorites without knowing who took those photos.

The Photo Contest is only about the photos; not the photographer, his or her popularity, how many friends or how much money they have. Everyone is a judge and gets a chance to vote. A group of 4 photos is shown and out of the 4 you select your favorite. Then, this keeps happening in random groups of fours in the same category. People vote as much as they want for as long as they want. Each category has a 1st, 2nd, and a 3rd place winner as well as an overall Grand Prize Winner for the contest.

With thousands of submissions, unfortunately I did not place in the Top 3 in any category, but a few of my photos did make the Top 10, 20, and 30% and one of my photos placed 21st place out of nearly 7,500 entries in that category! I’m disappointed I didn’t place as high as I had hoped, but it only fuels me to become a better photographer in the future! Here’s to pushing my limits in 2016 🙂

TOP 30% 

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TOP 20% 

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TOP 10% 

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21st Place out of 7,490 entries

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What an incredible year it has been. As always, it flew by and I can’t believe there’s only a few weeks left of 2015. I was privileged enough to work with some of the most amazing people. Couples who I now call friends. People that I’ve laughed and cried with. Brides I have calmed during their most stressful moments.  Grooms I’ve seen cry tears of joy – emotions that even their closest of friends and family hadn’t seen them express before. To do what I love for a living and to share my gift with people who choose to work with me is truly a blessing. It is one that I am thankful for every single year, no matter how exhausted or burnt out I am by the end. I love it. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world. 

That being said, I want to work with all of my JTPhoto couples again (some I already have/have plans to). And here’s how you can win a FREE Anniversary/Lifestyle Photo Session with me (or you can help one of your favorite couples win) in 2016!

Starting today (12/23) and running through the end of the year (12/31), I’ll be running a photo “like” contest – similar to the one I ran in 2013 for those of you that followed me back then. This year, winners will receive a FREE 2-hour Anniversary or Lifestyle Photo Session with me in 2016, including the digital files and rights to print.

Here’s how it works:

  1. “LIKE” the Jill Tiongco Photography Facebook Page (your vote will ONLY BE COUNTED if you “LIKE” the page).
  2. Click on the 2015 JTPhoto Contest Album pinned to the top of the page.
  3. “LIKE” the couple’s photo you want to win (your vote will ONLY BE COUNTED ONCE – so choose wisely)
  4. The couple with the most “LIKES” by December 31st, 2015… WINS!
  5. Winners will be announced on Monday, January 4th, 2016.

That’s it! So get to it – vote for yourself, recruit your family and friends to vote for you, or just vote out of the kindness of your heart because you like the photo – either way, there’s gonna be a winner of this $600 value photo session so VOTE NOW!

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A few weeks ago, I spent a couple days out of the office to learn from one of the best in the industry – Roberto Valenzuela. I love going to workshops like this because it gives me an opportunity to see things the way other photographers see them. To learn from others. To gain perspective. To keep me on my toes and always keep my creative juices flowing. I never want to stop learning. And I never want to stop pushing myself. What I can do next and what are the steps that will take me there are things that are always on my mind – it’s a personal thing, but most importantly, it helps me give my couples the best photos that I can give them. Not only did I learn about Roberto’s amazing Picture Perfect Posing techniques, but I learned some incredible lighting tricks that I have already incorporated into my last two weddings that, for lack of better words, have blown my mind.

Surrounding myself with other talented photographers not only pushes me to be better, but gives me a chance to make new friends and colleagues as well. Shout-out to all of my fellow workshop attendees – standing up in front of a group of photographers and having to pose/shoot is terrifying, but we all did it – and we’re better for it. HUGE thanks to Roberto Valenuzuela (and Collin Pierson for helping) for putting on a fun 2-day workshop and sharing your insights, experiences, opinions, and techniques.

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Photo Credit (above): Collin Pierson

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JillTiongcoPhotography-ChicagoWeddingPhotographer_0011.jpgPhoto Credit (above): Collin Pierson

 

Every year like tradition, a couple photography friends and I make a trip out west for a Wedding Photography Conference. Over the past few years, we’ve gone to WPPI in Las Vegas and United in Santa Barbara – so when my good friend Ryan Moore Photography told me about Mystic Seminars in Portland, OR (a place that I’ve been dying to go to anyways), I was all in.

Ryan, Sara (of Sara Smile Photography), and myself went a few days early before the conference started to get our fill of Portland. And by fill, I mean fill of beer and food. Lots of IPAs, lots of food trucks, lots of gluttony. I did balance it out with a day trip to Timberline Ski Resort on Mt. Hood, though – and I’m so glad I did. It was a perfect warm-up before my snowboarding trip out to Big Sky, Montana this week ☺ For the few days we had before the seminars, lunches turned into barcrawls, snacks turned into food truck tastings, and one Voodoo doughnut quickly turned into a half dozen. Portland, I love you. Seriously, I thought I loved Denver, but I think you may have stolen my heart…

As far as the seminar (the reason I came to Portland in the first place), I don’t have a ton of pictures from the three days of listening to incredibly inspiring photographers because I was too busy soaking it all in and jotting down notes. But I can’t say enough about how much I learned, how much the presentations made me think differently, and how much it all made me want to push myself every single wedding day. To challenge myself. To always find ways to be creative. To shoot more. To see things differently. And to never settle for the safe shot. I listened to crazy talented people like Stark Photography, Charleton Churchill, Sean Flanigan, Sam Hurd, Last Forty Percent Boudoir (seriously incredible, check them out if you haven’t already), and Susan Stripling, The knowledge and inspiration I gained from all of them is priceless, and I can’t wait to start implementing what I’ve learned into my business.

I have pages and pages and pages of notes, but if I had to narrow it down, I’d say my Top Ten Takeaways from Mystic Seminars are:

  1. Don’t be afraid of shadows. Use the pops of light/darkness of shadows to create dramatic images. (see image of Ryan below)
  2. Play with double exposures to create more interesting images.
  3. Use off camera flash to light subjects without blowing out the sky to create dynamic images.
  4. Add “Pull Images for Awards” to each wedding workflow checklist.
  5. Don’t be afraid of silence. Take a moment to find the best light, frame, etc.
  6. Schedule a creative shoot for myself once a month.
  7. Snickle.
  8. Listen to everyone with an open mind. You never know when you’re going to learn something.
  9. Push myself to be more creative.
  10. Play with lens chimping, free lensing, and bokeh pano.

As you’ll see from the photos below, Portland and Mystic Seminar was nothing short of amazing. In fact, I’m almost positive I’m going back next year ☺ Until then, Portland.

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My must see/eat/do things list in Portland // Tidbit Food Farm and Garden, Pine State Biscuits, House of Vintage, Salt & Straw, Pok Pok, Timberline Ski Resort (Mt. Hood), Voodoo Doughnuts, Mulnomah Falls (take the scenic Vista House route), cocktails at Swift.

Every year, it seems as though Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years sneak up on us as soon as summer ends. All of a sudden, instead of heading to the beach, street fests, summer weddings, and lake houses… we’re bundling up in our fluffy scarves and winter hats while reminiscing about what new years resolutions we did or did not reach for the year. Did we workout more? Did we eat healthier? Did we make more time for loved ones? Did I book enough weddings?

Looking back on my goals for the past year, I’ve actually achieved the majority of them, with the exception of a few minor ones that kept getting pushed back. So I’ll chalk that up as a success 🙂 But more importantly, this year was truly one I’ll never forget. It was my first complete year running my business full-time. I learned more about myself and what I want my business to stand for this year than I have in the entire past 3 years of being a photographer. I learned about self motivation – forcing myself to work on those days that I really just wanted to relax… and I also learned about the flexibility of working for yourself – not forcing myself to work on those days that I really just needed to relax and getting the work done another day

Like every year, there were good and bad moments. Ones I never want to forget, and ones that make me cringe every time I remember them. There were blurry photos, missed moments, and over/underexposed shots. But I think the biggest thing I’ve learned this year is that it’s okay to not be the perfect photographer. I can sure as heck try to be, but I try knowing that if I fail at being perfect, then I’m still putting my heart and soul into what I do and producing the best quality photos that I possibly can. That’s what I did this year, and that’s what I want to continuing doing for all of those couples that trust me to capture their wedding days.

This year I was blessed to work with the most amazing people. The longer I do this, the more I notice that my couples trust, respect, and value my work and who I am as a photographer – which ultimately propels me to do my best for them. The relationships I have with my past and current couples have been the cornerstone of my business, and for that I am forever grateful. The moments I have captured over the past year – the smiles, the tears, the dance moves (both good and bad), the laughter, the kisses, and the hugs – all of them are so important to me. I would be lying if I said I didn’t get a little nostalgic looking through these photos/writing this post – but that doesn’t mean I’m a sap (or maybe it doesn’t – but whatever!) … to me, it just means I absolutely, whole-heartedly LOVE what I do and I realize how blessed I am to be here.

Have a happy, safe, and memorable New Year, friends – here’s to looking back at my favorite moments of 2014 – and looking forward to creating new memories in 2015 🙂

Best Weddings of 2014 | Favorite Photos of the year | Chicago Wedding Photographer | Jill Tiongco Photography

(above) see more from Liz + Kyle’s Wedding here

Best Weddings of 2014 | Favorite Photos of the year | Chicago Wedding Photographer | Jill Tiongco Photography

(above) see more from Steph + Tim’s wedding here

Best Weddings of 2014 | Favorite Photos of the year | Chicago Wedding Photographer | Jill Tiongco Photography

(above) see more from Marisa + Ryan’s Wedding here

Best Weddings of 2014 | Favorite Photos of the year | Chicago Wedding Photographer | Jill Tiongco Photography

(above) see more from Liza + Mike’s Wedding here

Best Weddings of 2014 | Favorite Photos of the year | Chicago Wedding Photographer | Jill Tiongco Photography

(above) see more from Brooke + John’s Wedding here.

Best Weddings of 2014 | Favorite Photos of the year | Chicago Wedding Photographer | Jill Tiongco Photography

(above) see more from Lexi + Tim’s Wedding here

Best Weddings of 2014 | Favorite Photos of the year | Chicago Wedding Photographer | Jill Tiongco Photography

(above) see more from Monica + PJ’s Wedding here

Best Weddings of 2014 | Favorite Photos of the year | Chicago Wedding Photographer | Jill Tiongco Photography

(above) see more from Kristin + Ryan’s Wedding here

Best Weddings of 2014 | Favorite Photos of the year | Chicago Wedding Photographer | Jill Tiongco Photography

(above) see more from Lauren + Jaden’s Wedding here

Best Weddings of 2014 | Favorite Photos of the year | Chicago Wedding Photographer | Jill Tiongco Photography

(above) see more from Carrie + Ryan’s Wedding here

Best Weddings of 2014 | Favorite Photos of the year | Chicago Wedding Photographer | Jill Tiongco Photography

(above) see more from Jess + Frank’s Wedding here

Best Weddings of 2014 | Favorite Photos of the year | Chicago Wedding Photographer | Jill Tiongco Photography

(above) see more from Lauren + Lee’s Wedding here

Best Weddings of 2014 | Favorite Photos of the year | Chicago Wedding Photographer | Jill Tiongco Photography

(above) see more from Courtney + Zach’s Wedding here

Best Weddings of 2014 | Favorite Photos of the year | Chicago Wedding Photographer | Jill Tiongco Photography

(above) see more from Jenny + Kevin’s Wedding here

Best Weddings of 2014 | Favorite Photos of the year | Chicago Wedding Photographer | Jill Tiongco Photography

(above) see more from Jena + Anthony’s Wedding here

Best Weddings of 2014 | Favorite Photos of the year | Chicago Wedding Photographer | Jill Tiongco Photography

(above) see more from Jackie + Matt’s Wedding here

Best Weddings of 2014 | Favorite Photos of the year | Chicago Wedding Photographer | Jill Tiongco Photography

(above) see more from Taylor + Joe’s Wedding here

Best Weddings of 2014 | Favorite Photos of the year | Chicago Wedding Photographer | Jill Tiongco Photography

(above) see more from Johanna + Jeff’s Wedding here

Best Weddings of 2014 | Favorite Photos of the year | Chicago Wedding Photographer | Jill Tiongco Photography

(above) see more from Sarah + Greg’s Wedding here

Best Weddings of 2014 | Favorite Photos of the year | Chicago Wedding Photographer | Jill Tiongco Photography

(above) see more from Kimmy + Nick’s Wedding here

Best Weddings of 2014 | Favorite Photos of the year | Chicago Wedding Photographer | Jill Tiongco Photography

(above) see more from Jennie + Ryan’s Wedding here

If you follow my work/blog, you know that I LOVE to travel in the off-season. This year was full of amazing adventures in Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Colorado, California, and Nashville… just to name a few of my favorites. So you know that I have my 2015 off-season calendar full of exciting and new places to go. But this year, I wanted to combine my love for travel with my passion for photography. That’s why I’m so excited to announce that I’m offering a limited number of time slots for Engagement/Lifestyle/Anniversary/Portrait sessions all over the country next year! A session like this in Chicago would be priced at $500, but these special sessions will be half off! These sessions are such a great deal, would make great Christmas gifts, and are all inclusive:

$250 Photo Session

  • 1-2 hour Photo Shoot at an outdoor location(s) of your choice
  • Digital enhancements, editing, retouching
  • Downloadable online gallery with top 70+ high resolution images
  • License to print photos wherever you choose

My business would not be where it is today without the love and support from my friends, family, and clients-turned-friends. It never ceases to amaze me and touch my heart when people refer me to a friend of a friend of a friend. Referrals have more than doubled the number of weddings I’m shooting every single year – and I have all of you to thank for that. So now I’m asking you – friends, family, clients, fans… pass this incredible offer along to anyone you know that might be interested. Below are dates/cities that are already on the books. Live in a city nearby one of the ones listed below? Let’s talk about our options – I’m willing to travel a bit! I will continually be adding to this list, but for now, here it is:

Portland, OR // January 8th, 9th, 10th

Big Sky, MT // January 30th, 31st

Phoenix, AZ // February 18th, 19th, 20th

Again, thank you so much to every single person that has supported my business over the past few years. I am forever grateful that you’ve allowed me to do what I love every single day. Please continue that support and pass this special offer along to anyone you think might be interested, or if you’re thinking about booking a session/learning more, please email me at photos@jilltiongco.com and we can chat 🙂

 

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Aside from listening to incredibly inspiring speakers and business savvy photographers at UNITED 2014 (which you can read more about here), I shot. A lot. Every day. Morning, afternoon, and night. The amazing people of UNITED hosted official styled photo shoots and other photographers in the community held their own as well – opening them up to the photographers and videographers at the conference. I got to work with some amazingly talented folks, and I am so blessed to be part of such a welcoming and collaborative community.

The first shoot of the week… a mini portrait session my roommate, Rebecca Read, and I did before heading to our first seminar of the day. I can’t say enough about Becca. I met her last year through a mutual photography friend at WPPI and she is just the most genuine, kind-spirited, and open person I’ve ever met. Belly aching laughs, deep late night conversations, and plenty of iced coffees were  shared with this girl over the UNITED trip. Love her to pieces. Isn’t she gorgeous?

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Photography credit (below): Rebecca Read PhotographyUnited 2014 Conference Styled Shoots | Jill Tiongco Photography | Chicago Wedding Photographer

The next session I photographed was called “Offbeat Bride.” I worked with some amazing peeps on this one… the models (wedding videographers) Mycah and Bobby Burns of Redmond Digital Media totally rocked it out. Being the person behind the camera is one thing and comes natural to most of us, but stepping out in front of the camera can sometimes be terrifying. But these two… they were naturals. They are beautiful people both inside and out and the photos show that. Mycah and Bobby – it was a pleasure working with and meeting the both of you! I hope the future brings us another opportunity to work together again 🙂 And I can’t forget Carrie Swails – the gracious photographer who put together this shoot for everyone. Carrie – it was wonderful working with you and thank you so much for letting us be a part of your vision.

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The next shoot, styled by Stephanie Arieno and again by Carrie Swails – was equally as cute and fun. The models, Jamie Hudson and Ling Harris – stepped out of their comfort zone and into the frames of dozens of photographers. They both did a fantastic job making sure to work with each and every photographer on the shoot… listening to our directions… taking the time to look at every single camera… and of course give us genuine smiles and gorgeous smoldering eyes. Jamie rocked a vintage gown, while Ling modeled a Sue Wong dress that she actually wore to her own wedding reception. The beautiful paper bouquets were made by Paper Posies and added a unique ornate detail – which are some of my favorite things to shoot…

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The last shoot was a Gatsby themed trolley ride to a private estate with a special surprise… We photographed the founder of UNITED as well as the Showit and PASS creator, David Jay and his girlfriend Ali. Showit and PASS have both been photography business changing programs so in the nerdy photography world that I live in and love… it was kind of like shooting a celebrity. #nerdalert But in all seriousness, David and Ali were adorable and so fun to shoot… and getting to shoot on a private estate in Santa Barbara? Well that’s not something that happens every day. HUGE thanks to everyone that helped put this session together… Kristin Renee (Production Coordinator), Krisd Mauga of Refined Rebel (Stylist), and Jenny Hopwood (Makeup), Embellishment Floral Studio (Hair Accessories).

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Every shoot was different and fun in it’s own way. I got to work with some extremely talented photographers, shoot some easy on the eyes models, and work in locations that I don’t often see in Chicago – especially not in this polar vortex that we’ve been stuck in for months! THANK YOU to everyone that helped make these shoots happen during an already amazing conference. Your hard work, generosity, and gracious spirits are what help push us past our creative limits. You are making all of us better photographers and for that I am forever grateful.

I came into UNITED2014 not knowing what to expect. All I knew was I was going to be reconnecting with my photography family that was born last year at a similar photography conference in Las Vegas, WPPI. Ryan Moore, Rebecca Read, Jordan Quinn – you are all my favorite ding pieces. I can’t say enough about how much fun I had with all of you. The way we help each other, the stupid things we laugh about… practicing empathy and breaking into song at Nardones La Famiglia Pizzeria while making sure to leave no carb behind… my Nail Clippin’ Photogs… I love y’all. And I’m so excited to add new names to this group of photogs I now call friends – Karena Dixon (can’t wait for June!), Jamie Grant, Mycah Burns, Ali Williamson, among many others… I am so thankful to have met all of you! Hopefully we can all work together again soon ☺

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Photo credit (below): Ryan Moore PhotographyJillTiongcoPhotography_0042.jpg

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While UNITED put a lot emphasis on connecting with new friends – they even gave us a card with names of 3 random people we had to hug/take a selfie with – it wasn’t just a conference of photogs running around hugging (okay it kind of was but in an awesome and not creepy way). UNITED was full of incredible photography and business marketing tips like how to shoot in horrible light, how to cultivate gesture and breathe life into posing, how to create a more defined brand, building hot threads on social media… I could go on for days. But on top of all of that was a stronger, reoccurring theme presentation after presentation, speaker after speaker. The messages that stuck out to me were not about the best lenses to use or the most effective way to market to my target audience (although those were great, too). But, the lessons I hope stick with me the most are the ones that can be applied towards life in general and not just my photography business:

I am blessed. I am adequate. I am a photographer with a life outside of photography. My business does not define me. I define my business by doing what I LOVE. Use my gifts to serve others. Live a life of purpose. Redefine success.

Jill Tiongco Photography | Chicago Wedding Photographer

To be completely honest, I came into UNITED feeling frustrated. I was comparing my work to other photographers, feeling inadequate, feeling envious, feeling stuck. But after being immersed in a creative environment, shooting everyday, feeling the support of other people who have been through that same mindset and made it through even stronger, learning not to compare my work to others… I left Santa Barbara with a new and refreshed outlook on not only photography, but life. I am chomping at the bit to shoot more. I am incredibly excited for wedding season to start. I am itching to put all the things I learned into practice. In other words, I. Am. Pumped.

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So where do I go from here? Well, if you know me, you know I have a laundry list of things to do. And that I have a list of that list categorized, prioritized, and color coated in order of importance. Branding updates, blog refocusing, workflow improvements, website curating… all of it. But at the top of those lists are these 3 things:

1. Focus on what makes me happy, and in return make clients happier.
2. Be active with the Chicago Shoot and Share group and cultivate relationships with new photographers.
3. Use my gifts to serve others.

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Check back on the blog next week for more photos from the insanely beautiful shoots I did at UNITED2014 – including an offbeat beat bride sunset beach shoot and a gatsby themed trolley ride to a private estate… you won’t wanna miss it.

With the recent launch of my new website, I wanted to take this opportunity to make sure clients, friends, and family all know how to navigate through the updated client photo galleries and are aware of all the products available. All clients receive a private gallery where they can view, download, and share photos from their JTPhoto session with just a click. Clients have immediate access to their photos and can have them saved onto their computer within minutes! Gone are the days of waiting for the USB drive to arrive in the mail 🙂 Once they receive the link via email, they can simply click SELECT PHOTOS > DOWNLOAD as shown below. Using the password provided, clients can access the photos immediately.

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Once clients have the photos, they are free to print wherever they choose. However, while Walgreens, Target, Staples, etc. produce a decent quality photograph; I believe the clarity, color, and overall quality of the photographs are not fully showcased to their full potential.  Why spend the extra $$ to have professional photos taken to lose some of the quality in the end? That’s why clients can purchase prints, canvases, frames, etc. directly from the JTPhoto gallery and have them printed with my professional printing vendor. The video below shows how easy it is to order a custom framed print:

Clients can also order greeting cards! Thank You Cards, Save the Dates, Happy Birthday – it’s all right there. The video below shows how to order Thank You Cards using photos from your wedding gallery (the same process can be used towards Save the Dates, Birthdays, etc.).

The whole process is quick, simple, and easy. If you have any questions on how to order any products, please feel free to email me at photos@jilltiongco.com and I’d be happy to help!

I get a lot of people asking me what equipment I use, what my favorite lenses are, and what I recommend. I am in no way saying I know it all and everyone should do what I do… but I figured I’d write a little blog sharing what my favorite pieces of equipment are and what’s in my arsenal.

Bags:

First of all, I bring all of my equipment to every wedding in my Think Take Photo Airport International V2.0 Rolling Camera Bag. It has customizable compartments inside the bag to fit every photographer’s needs. It rolls (thank God because with all of my equipment in there it is HEAVY), and is carry-on size so I never have to worry about checking my camera equipment when flying. I love that I can carry all of my equipment in one easy to move bag rather than carrying multiple bags or pieces around with me all day. Photo credit (below): taken from Think Tank Photo

Jill Tiongco Photography | Wedding Camera Equipment | Chicago Wedding Photographer

When I’m actually running around shooting, I usually park this bag in a safe corner of the room and load up my Shootsac Lens Bag with whatever lenses I see fit (depending on the size room, what I’m shooting, lighting situation, etc.). While it does get heavy and puts strain on my back/shoulders carrying all that weight around (each lens weighs 3-7 lbs and I usually have 3 in my bag, plus carrying my camera + lens + flash sometimes) it pays off because I have everything I need in the moment and never need to run back to my bag. For example, if I had the 70-200 f/2.8 on my camera body and a guest asked me to take a photo of them (and the room is small/there isn’t enough space to back up far enough), if I didn’t have my lenses to switch out I would have to run back to my bag to get it. Totally convenient to have my lenses on me at all times, and the shoulder strap actually makes it a little more comfortable and I’ve gotten used to shooting with this bag slung over my body. Photo credit (below): taken from ShootSac

Jill Tiongco Photography | Wedding Photographer Equipment | Shootsac Lens Bag Review

Camera Equipment:

Now to the meat and potatoes. What do I actually fill these bags with? Here we go:

Canon 5d Mark iii: My primary camera. Top of the line, incredible quality, great in low-light. It’ll set your bank account back a little (okay, maybe a lot) but definitely worth working it into your budget.

Canon 5d Mark ii: My backup camera in case anything happens to my Mark iii while on location (God forbid). Also a great camera. It was my primary for a while until I upgraded to the Mark iii. I don’t use it that often anymore but it’s always nice to have a backup in your bag (I recommend ALWAYS keeping a backup camera – you never know what can happen on a shoot)

Canon 135mm f/2.0: Great lens. Honestly, I bought it to fill the long distance range lens spot until I could afford to get the 70-200 f/2.8 IS (which I now rent for every wedding, but will be purchasing this spring before my 2014 wedding season). I use it mostly for wedding ceremonies, sometimes for reception shots. Since I’ve been renting the 70-200 more often though I usually lend this one out to my second shooter to get some tighter shots. I recommend purchasing it as a placeholder until you can add on the 70-200 permanently. Once I do, I’ll probably sell this lens. But here’s the great stuff it’s gotten me so far…

Jill Tiongco Photography | Canon 135mm 2.0 Lens Review | Photo Samples

Canon 85mm f/1.2: My FAVORITE portrait lens. I’ve been using this a lot more lately and paired with the Mark iii – it’s incredible. I highly recommend this lens if you’re shooting with a full frame camera body. The bokeh is insane when you shoot wide open, and it helps being able to open up to 1.2 in lower lighting situations, too. Here’s a few samples of shots taken with the 85mm…

Jill Tiongco Photography | Canon 85mm 1.2 Lens Review | 85mm Photo Samples

 

Canon 35mm f/1.4: This lens is great for wider shots without distorting around the edges too much. It lets you shoot a little bit more of the environment and surroundings, and gives the photos a little more ambiance feel. It’s also a must have for tight spaces. This is currently the widest lens I own, but I plan on purchasing the 17-40mm f/4 lens this season to be able to shoot a little bit wider when it comes to room and ceremony shots. Here’s a few photos shot with the 35mm…

Jill Tiongco Photography | Canon 85mm 1.2 Lens Review | 35mm Photo Samples

Canon 50mm f/1.2: This used to be my go-to lens for portraits until I started shooting with the 85mm more. I still think it’s beautiful and use it when I want to get closer to my subjects but don’t have a ton of room, or I use it for details a lot. It’s also sort of my safety lens… If I’m not sure what I’m going to be shooting or what the space is like, I’ll most likely start with my 50mm on my camera body and go from there. It still gets a little of the environment around the subject but also gets closer than the 35mm. Here’s a few samples…

Jill Tiongco Photography | Canon 85mm 1.2 Lens Review | 50mm Photo Samples

 

Canon 580ex Flash: Since I specialize in natural light photography, I really only use flash when I absolutely have to (mostly during receptions). I can’t really complain about the 580… it does it’s job when I use it and haven’t had any issues with it.

Canon 420ex Flash: This is sort of my backup flash in case anything happens to my 580 on a shoot. I also use this flash for off-camera lighting at receptions or for certain portraits. It connects easily to my trigger kits and does its job. Here’s a few samples of off-camera lighting I’ve done with the 420…

Jill Tiongco Photography | Canon 85mm 1.2 Lens Review | Off Camera Lighting Photo Samples

Calumet Wireless Trigger Kit: see above.

Calument 8′ Flash Light with Flash Bracket: see above.

36″ Umbrella

Neewer LED Video Light

Vivitar Series +1, +2, +4, +10 Close-Up Macro Filter Set (72mm): I actually really love these filters. They cost me under $20 and shoot beautiful detail shots. Some people use the 100mm Macro Lens, but right now I can’t justify spending $1,000 on a lens that I would only be using for close-up details like rings, shoes, decor, etc… when the macro filters do a great job. I will definitely add the 100mm to my arsenal eventually, but right now it’s got a few other lenses ahead of it in line (70-200mm f/2.8, 17-24mm f/4, and maybe a new flash). Here’s what I’m talking about…

Jill Tiongco Photography | Vivitar Macro Filters Review | Photo Samples

Sanyo Eneloop Rechargeable AA and AAA Batteries

8GB, 16GB, and two 32GB Compact Flash Cards

Four Canon LP-E6 batteries (for Mark iii and Mark ii)

Jill Tiongco Photography | Wedding Photographer Equipment

 

Being that all of my equipment is laid out on the table I had to take the above photo with my phone. The quality difference is killing me but I really wanted to show everything I had laid out at once. Anyway, hopefully this helps anyone looking to venture into the photography world. You’ll also notice that I shoot mostly with prime lenses. While some might argue that it’s not the most convenient style… constantly having to switch out lenses depending on the focal length I want and actually use my legs to zoom in and out (walking) instead of just turing the ring… I’ve found a HUGE quality difference when using prime lenses and I prefer the crispness of my primes. That being said, there’s TONS of other pieces of equipment that I don’t use that others probably find essential, but like I mentioned in the beginning of this blog… this is just how I do it (for now, too. If you read through everything you’ll see that I’m always adding more equipment to my bag and my want list is always growing). If you have any questions on anything, feel free to shoot me an email – I’m always down to chat photog 🙂