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TWENTY TWO… Personal

On Saturday, we photographed our last 2017 wedding.  Number 22 of 22.  Out of those 22 weddings, 10 were not local to us, with 2 being out of state.  And our first 5 and last 2 weddings were all local, so all that traveling occurred between June and mid October.  In addition, we shot 4 destination engagement sessions, 2 out of state.  I say all of this because quite honestly, I can’t believe we made it through!

Why?? Because this was all while parenting our 2 littles, while Mike has another demanding full time job, while growing the education side of my business and maintaining the portrait side…and while growing a little baby boy!!!  We sacrificed a lot of “down” time this year because of it, and I’m not sure we will ever run our schedule quite like this again.  But we made it, and we loved it, busy and all!  Those 22 couples (and the 17 for next year we shot engagement sessions for this season) mean so much to us and were so fun and kind this year!

By far the trickiest part was doing this while pregnant.  Obviously…I have been pregnant before. With our second, I was already a wedding photographer– but I photographed 4 weddings pregnant that year.  We were careful with timing (because we knew we had more years if it didn’t happen this year) when we got pregnant to ensure we could complete the season, but you never know how any pregnancy is going to go.  And while I was 100% confident that we would be able to serve every one of those bride and grooms as well as if we weren’t, I still breathed a MAJOR sigh of relief when I got in my car on Saturday night, knowing that we made it!

This hasn’t been my easiest pregnancy. Not my hardest, but not my easiest.  And in addition, the warm season was way longer than typical.  We got out of my first trimester pretty quickly in the beginning of my season, but it is just hard to be on your feet for 8-10 hours in the heat no matter how good or bad you are feeling while pregnant, and we did it almost weekly for most of this pregnancy.  Michael has been an absolute gem– carrying everything, and loading me up with endless bottles of water and snacks.  Taking on more than the usual tasks at weddings (let alone life).  Beyond all that, he also usually turns out my very favorite images from the day– he is just absolutely amazing.  I said it before and I will say it again and again, but I married up big time. I also had 4 different second shooters join me throughout the season when Michael couldn’t, and each of those ladies was so so so good to me and helpful in every way, let alone gave fabulous imagery to the day (thanks so much Lauren, Angie, Ramie, and Sarah– website coming soon for her!).

But the biggest thanks goes to those 22 couples.  A handful of them did not even know that I was pregnant yet when I photographed their day (though we found out the night before our second wedding of the year, and our previous wedding had been months before), but many of them did, and they were so gracious and kind. No one looked at me strangely if I sat for a minute here and there, they and their lovely parents and friends constantly offered water and food, a few of them sent or gave sweet gifts for our little boy…and each of them were just as kind and loving as ever, and we are so so appreciative of every small and big gesture!

This has gotten long but I just wanted to share a little about this season and a little of the joy and celebration we are doing now for being on the other side, and serving those 22 couples well.  I am going to share a bit about shooting a busy season while pretty pregnant soon for those other expecting or someday expecting mama photographers!  It has been an amazing year, and while we are limiting a bit in the future I am so glad we ran this marathon– we will never forget it!

Just for fun– a few pictures from our FIRST pregnancy almost SIX years ago (what?!??) taken by the fabulously talented Beth Laurren, who was a large piece of the start of my business!!

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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!).  

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