I‘m going to share a little bit of my heart today, for 2 reasons. First, I think it ‘s important for you to really know parts of me- not just what I do but who I am! And second, because I have always believed that if you don’t say your dreams…out loud…than it is nearly impossible for them to come true.
We are at sort of an interesting spot right now with this business. I say we because even though it really is mostly me, there is definitely a team of people that are quite involved in every part, and also in every result. JGP has grown faster and more than we ever pictured, and we are immensely grateful. Michael and I talk frequently about what this business looks like as our kids get older, with us as wedding photographers. It has been easy for me to give up 20 Saturdays a year to this point because I get so much week time with my kids. It has always been a bigger sacrifice for Michael, who works during the week, which is why he only shoots about 60% of my weddings with me, so he still gets plenty of weekend with the kids. But we both recognize as they get older and start school full time, losing Saturday time with them, even less than half the Saturdays of the year, is a big sacrifice. What about when they have activities? We love photographing weddings. Together. We absolutely love it. But I don’t think either of us are crazy about missing Saturday morning soccer games, missing our memories, to capture others. So we are weighing all of those pieces. We are hoping that in a couple years when our kids are in school full time, we can step back to closer to 15 weddings (but we love our pace for now!). We are looking at whether both of us photographing is the best option for our kids, and how all of that will come together.
But one of the solutions that we have found, for me? Friday weddings. I would love to photograph more Friday weddings. We got married on a Sunday, and I know non-Saturday weddings happen. Most photographers love to photograph them because it means they can photograph twice (or even 3 times!) in one weekend. While I do have one double header weekend (as they are called!) next year, in general those are not something I plan to do much of because I don’t want to lose 2 long days in a row with my kids. However, I want to shoot Friday weddings because it means that I can have Saturdays at home with my kids!! If I could photograph 10 Friday weddings a year, I could keep my full wedding schedule and only miss 10 Saturdays. Out of 52, those are pretty good numbers! As a business practice, I don’t really offer discounts on wedding coverage because I feel like it is unfair to discount in certain situations and not others, and impossible to decide when to and not to. It is important to me that the investment of the Jill Gum Wedding Experience is exactly what it’s worth- so discounting in the winter season, or making a new price for each person says to me that it isn’t worth the value it is set at, and I know the experience I am giving my couples is more than worth it’s value. That being said, because I believe Friday weddings are an important part of the future of my business for my family, I am going to begin offering a lower Friday investement to brides who book in 2017. And I know a part of people booking Friday weddings is knowing about them, and knowing about the benefits. So I am going to begin a little series sharing about those as well soon! But in the mean time…if you get engaged soon or have a newly engaged friend, consider this option for you! I am excited about the possible future this can bring my wedding business that at this point holds some uncertainty and worry.
Friends, if you have any ideas or even just encouragement about how a Saturday-based job can work once the kids are in school, please leave it for me. If you are a photographer with older kids and are navigating this, I could use your encouragement and thoughts. We worry that we are working entirely hard on something that we won’t find possible in the future- and that is scary to us. As is the vulnerability of writing this post. Thanks so much for reading, and being along for the journey! I appreciate you all.
I'm Jill, a wedding and portrait photographer based out of Chicago and Central Illinois, and available world wide! I'm also a photography educator, wife to my favorite person on the planet, mama to 3 amazing kids and an energetic aussie, and obsessed with statement jewelry and all desserts (especially fruit pies!).
As a past high school teacher, I have a major heart for education. After going full time in my business, I have built a business I love that gives me an almost 6 figure salary and allows me to be home part time with my kids. I dream for you to run a business that enhances your life and lights you up, and I believe I can help you learn how to do it with a little hustle and a lot of heart!
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You're in the right place! As a past high school teacher, educating others is my life's work and a HUGE part of my business! I have been teaching moms and hobbyists how to use their camera from first purchasing it all the way to coaching them into businesses of their own, and I'd love to help you as well, wherever you are (and whatever camera you have!).
I'm so glad you are here! Teaching Photographers and other small business owners how to run more joyful, successful, and profitable businesses is one of my favorite parts of my business! I specialize in working with photographers to make their goals a reality (or figure out what their goals should be in the first place!).