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I’m so glad you stopped by! I’m Jill, and I’m an Illinois and beyond wedding and portrait photographer based out of Central Illinois and chicago. I believe images can craft the story of people’s lives just like words can, and love working with joyful people! 

Welcome

I CAN COOK. MAC AND CHEESE AND EGGS. ONLY!


IN THEORY, I WANT TO LEARN. 
IN REALITY, IT STRESSES ME OUT. 

I DON'T HAVE AN SPORTY BONE IN MY BODY. I DID HOWEVER DANCE FOR 15 YEARS OF MY LIFE, AND BEGAN SKIING AT AGE 5 (THOUGH MY HUSBAND CLAIMS HE IS CLUMSY AND HASN'T JOINED ME YET). 

EVEN THOUGH I AM LACKING IN ATHLETIC SKILL, I CAN SING, PLAY PIANO AND CLARINET, AND LEARNED EVERY OTHER BAND INSTRUMENT WHILE EARNING MY MUSIC ED DEGREE IN COLLEGE.

I COULD EAT CHIPOTLE AND TACOS EVERY DAY. YUM! 

I GREW UP A CITY GIRL, AN HOUR FROM CHICAGO AND STILL ABSOLUTELY LOVE THE CITY (AND PHOTOGRAPHING IN IT)!


BUT AFTER MOVING TO THE COUNTRY 2 YEARS AGO, I DEFINITELY HAVE A COUNTRY HEART NOW, AND IT SURPRISES ME EVERY DAY! 

MOST IMPORTANTLY, I FIND MY GREATEST JOY AND HOPE IN JESUS CHRIST, WHO GIVES MEANING TO MY EVERY DAY. 

FAST     FUN     FACTS

2002

2005

2009

2010

2012

fall 2012

early 2013

april 2013

2013

2014

2015

2016

NEXT

FUTURE

BACK

FUTURE

BACK

High school photography dark room classes...Jill falls in love! She loved the creativity behind shooting, learning composition and style in film photography. Jill did not love the smell of developer on her hands!!

We don't yet know, but are thrilled to find out. And we know it is in the hands of a God who has such a plan for our lives.

Jill sees the first engagement session of old friends that she is completely captured by. The real emotion- so clearly seeing exactly what they are feeling- moves her. She starts following a few photographers local to her, and is a bit curious (but is also moving head forward into music education).

Jill and Michael start dating (and traveling!), and on their adventures, talk often about their desire to have a nice camera one day and really capture all they get to experience together.

Jill and Michael get married, photographed by one of those first photographers Jill feel in love with. It was everything they dreamed of!

Jill and Michael have their first child. Michael realizes quickly how often Jill is going to want real pictures of their baby boy...and wonders if they might lessen that amount to 1/year instead of 1/month by them taking the leap to invest in a professional DSLR like they have always talked about.

Jill spends the year home with her baby, and learns, studies, and practices with her camera constantly as a desire to freeze as many of the precious moments as she can! 

After emailing with that sweet wedding photographer of hers and gaining some encouragement and support, Jill decides to photograph a few family friends just to see how she likes it and how it goes. She loves it. 

Jill assists on her first wedding with that beloved wedding photographer of hers. She is hooked, and knows that her passion for it and her drive to learn will move her towards that direction.  

Jill helps and second shoots a lot throughout the year while building her portrait business and teaching part time. Life is crazy- but it's fun! Jill and Michael decide they want to work together as often as possible- so he starts training as her second shooter!

Jill and Michael shoot their own 6 first weddings (all while pregnant with baby #2). Every Saturday is more fun than the previous, and they love it all- even if it is a little terrifying at first! They will forever be thankful to those 12 people who trusted them first!

The business really takes off, so much so that Jill and Michael decide Jill needs to prioritize her time home with her kids more than she was able to, so she resigns from teaching. Jill stays home with kids, and shoots 18 weddings that year. 

Weddings, portraits, the first JGP workshop, and mentoring make up Jill's business hours, and play dates, parks, and enjoying their country home make up their family time.  

MICHAEL

My husband, biggest supporter, dream chaser, adventure partner, best friend, and second shooter. And also the designer of all my crazy home ideas...like my shiplap wall in my branding colors!!  Michael manages a few aspects of our business that I am less skilled at in addition to second shooting, and is an amazing photographer. He has a business and financial sense that I am lacking, and balances me here just as well as he does in our marriage (which is in every single way!).  

SARAH

Student turned teacher's aide turned friend turned babysitter turned #jillgumbride turned Jill Gum Photography Assistant!! Sarah is a life saver and breath of fresh air for my business and does mostly virtual work now, but likely more soon! She does so many behind-the-scenes tasks that allow me to spend my time growing my business and my skills- and I am so thankful for her! She works HR for a local college in her day job, and lives with her new husband and adorable puppy Dex.

PIPER

My daytime entertainment, break excuse, and companion during work hours. And sometimes she has to listen to my crazy ideas before I run them by a human. ;-) Piper is our rescue pup- an Aussie mix- and she was our first baby.  It is hard to have a super energetic dog and 2 toddlers- but she keeps us on our toes and we love it. We joked when she was a puppy that she spoke with her ears- they have calmed down a bit since though.

BABIES

My first muses, and the reason I will always want to keep picking up my camera again and again. To document their story- to document other's stories- for generations to come. So that each person I photograph (including and especially our babies and loved ones) will know of and feel the love that came before them and surrounded them throughout their lives. So that each person knows they are never alone. 

PARENTS AND CLOSE FRIENDS

The dream encouragers, listening ears, sounding boards, blog readers, and babysitters to this crazy adventure we are on- we would be completely lost without their commitment to our happiness that we do not deserve, and without their love. You know who you are- and you are as important a part of this business as anyone! 

JGP  TEAM

my why

The picture to the right is of my grandma. My mother’s mama, whom I never met because she was gone before I was born. The picture is old, and blurry, and messy. And it is one of my most cherished possessions. I knew from the moment I touched a piano key that music was going to be an enormous part of my life; it one day became my greatest creative passion and first career. And this picture tells me that that heritage came from somewhere, generations ago, from a woman who I only know through memories and stories. And this image. These are the stories that inspire me to shoot. The feeling I get when I see these images, perfect and imperfect, clean and messy, genuine raw emotion, is what has caused photography to become so meaningful to me and to my creativity. That feeling is my why.

The picture below is of my grandma. My mother’s mama, whom I never met because she was gone before I was born. The picture is old, and blurry, and messy. And it is one of my most cherished possessions. I knew from the moment I touched a piano key that music was going to be an enormous part of my life; it one day became my greatest creative passion and first career. And this picture tells me that that heritage came from somewhere, generations ago, from a woman who I only know through memories and stories. And this image. These are the stories that inspire me to shoot. The feeling I get when I see these images, perfect and imperfect, clean and messy, genuine raw emotion, is what has caused photography to become so meaningful to me and to my creativity. That feeling is my why.

I have always adored photography as an attempt to freeze the sweet moments to tell the stories I want to remember forever: I was always the friend with the camera out, taking hundreds of pictures during my travels, and storing endless prints from various events. I will always remember the moment that I first saw myself and my husband (then, fiance) photographed professionally…how meaningful it was to see what we, what our love, looked like through a lens. And then I had my first son, and it was all over…I knew photography moved from an interest to a necessity in my life. I had to capture his sticking-out-everywhere hair, the light in his eyes with a new toy. The way my husband cradled him in his arms. And that very quickly turned into capturing the way a new groom holds his wife, and how her father looks at his daughter when he gives her away. 

ROMANTIC BLUSH AND BLACK SPRING WEDDING

NAVY + SILVER WINTER WEDDING, ILLINOIS

CLASSIC PURPLE SUMMER WEDDING

Country Farmland Engagement Session

PEACH AND NEUTRAL SUMMER WEDDING

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