She didn’t make it easy, but this little peanut came into the world on July 30th, 2014… 8 lbs 4 oz., 20.5 in. She is just the CUTEST little thing. She is one sleepy little girl with a full head of hair. I don’t normally do newborn photos, as you can probably tell, but I had to try to shoot a few of this little princess while she’s still tiny and precious. Love her and had to share 🙂 Congratulations to Jake + Toni, you’ve got a future heartbreaker on your hands!
Today I booked my fifth wedding for 2015. While that may not seem like a lot to some, and I’m sure other photographers have many more booked than me at this point… it’s a big deal to me. I look back at my records from last year, and at this point in 2013… I had just two weddings booked for 2014. And now I have 21 booked for the year and have exceeded my goals. When I decided to go full-time into photography last June, I unsure. I was scared. And I didn’t 100% believe that I would be able to make it. But with the encouragement of multiple industry peers (who I now call friends), the support of my amazing friends and family, and hours upon hours upon hours of hard work along the way… I can happily say it was the best decision of my life. Almost a year later, I couldn’t be happier. I am one of those annoying people that LOVES their job, and I am literally living my dream.
There was a moment a few weeks ago when I was walking down Michigan Avenue going home from my shoot for The Tasting Panel Magazine when it all hit me. I just finished up shooting for a national magazine, photographing a delicious 3-course meal (and hello – I LOVE food), and I thought to myself… how is this my life? How did I even get here? Do I even deserve this? And in that moment I breathed in the fresh spring air, looked up at the gorgeous city buildings around me, and just smiled because I was reminded how incredibly blessed I am to have this life.
For the past 4 years, my friends and I have gone on local ski/snowboard trips up to Merrimac, WI and Galena, IL in hopes of honing our shredding skills before making the trip out west. Well 2014 is finally the year and the trip out to Colorado is just a few weeks away. So before we hit Breckenridge we went back up to where it all started – Devil’s Head Resort for a warm-up round. While this resort (if you can call it that) holds many unforgettable memories from previous years (multiple Truth or Dare games have been played here and countless amounts of breakfast sausage pizza and french toast sticks have been consumed) I definitely think it’s time we moved on from the hills of Wisconsin to the mountains of Colorado. Thanks for the warmup round, DH. It’s been fun. This month’s moment of the month is dedicated to the Saturday my friends and I spent prepping our snowboarding/ski legs. Gnar.
December’s Moment of the Month post is a little more personal than some of the other moments in past months have been. Don’t get me wrong – this is a beautiful moment for Laura + Bill. It was right after their first dance as husband and wife and you can just tell they’re so happy together. And I love that. BUT, the reason I chose this particular photo as the Moment of the Month is because it was my first time using off-camera flash at a wedding reception (up until this point I’ve used an external flash mounted on my camera for reception lighting). I recently purchased Calumet’s wireless triggers and umbrella stand (although I didn’t receive the stand yet… my second shooter was kind enough to let me use hers for the evening). I’ve been toying around with the idea of adding some dimension to the my wedding galleries with off-camera lighting – and I figured what better time to do so than with this gorgeous couple. And let me tell you, I’m obsessed with this image. The rim lighting around Laura + Bill, the way it lights up Laura’s hair and just around the edges of Bill’s, even the little starburst below Laura’s chin… it’s just beautiful 🙂 And it was a huge moment for me… trying something new… stepping out of my comfort zone… even after hours of practicing this technique there was still a risk I would mess it up. But the risk paid off and I created an image that I’m in love with. I’m not saying it’s absolutely perfect – but it’s a great start and I’m pretty darn happy with the results 🙂
August’s Moment of the Month was a no-brainer. It was literally the BEST Maid of Honor Speech I have ever seen. And that comes from a girl that goes to a lot of weddings, hears a lot of fantastic speeches, even cries during the majority of them – but this one? It takes the cake. And eats it, too. It’s that good.
It started off as your standard, tear-jerking MOH speech… “I’ve known the bride since… when we were little we used to… I remember this one time…” Then all of a sudden, as I captured the bride and groom reactions and subtle smiles the MOH shot over to them as she read from her notecard – I noticed music started playing in the background. My initial thought was that the band was trying to rush the MOH off the stage and was signaling her to bring her speech to an end. But then, she started singing…
“Aren’t you somethin’ to admire? ‘Cause your shine is somethin’ like a mirror. And I can’t help but notice you reflect in this heart of mine. If you ever feel alone and the glare makes me hard to find, just know that I’m always parallel on the other side.”
For those of you non-JT fans (not me JT, the other one – Justin Timberlake) the song that was playing was JT’s new single, Mirrors. At this point, I thought, “Oh that’s nice – she’s going to sing a little part of the song to the bride/groom.” But oh how small minded I am. After a few moments of the MOH singing solo, background singers joined in with the harmonies. Synchronized dancers came up on stage. Bubbles were being blown throughout the room. Then to top it all off – a member of the band started playing the saxophone. It was one of those moments that you will never forget. And the smiles on the bride and groom’s faces were stretched from ear to ear as they danced and sang along with the whole room.
It was something straight out of a romantic comedy, and I smile every time I think about it. THAT was a great moment, and I am so happy I was there to capture it all 🙂
Check back soon for the rest of Karen + Garth’s beautiful Chicago wedding!
Today’s blog is in honor of HBO’s True Blood starting this past Sunday – and because my cat happened to bust out a huge yawn right at the moment I was trying to take a picture of her. This Moment of the Month – my vampire kitty, Snowball 🙂
She literally took his breathe away. Brother of the bride (left) sees his sister for the first time the morning of her wedding. This one brings a tear to my eye.
If I could sum up Elyce + Dan’s wedding reception at Ridge Country Club with one photo – it would be with this one. The dancing was original, spontaneous, and entertaining to say the least. And this is coming from someone who goes to A LOT of receptions and sees a lot of good (and some bad) dancing. Did I mention there was karaoke, a cotton candy AND popcorn machine, sweets table, and a hot dog cart?? This reception… one of the best. This shot off the dance floor just about says it all 🙂
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…
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 🙂