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WHAT IF YOU COULD FINALLY

That’s why becoming YOUR cheerleader, friend, and photographer (and getting to capture beauty with my camera at the same time!) is my absolute dream job. It feels like my true, God-given purpose to get to love and serve you and YOUR favorite people…and to get to teach other photographers to do the same.




In 1st grade, my teacher told mom that she saw a LOT more of my ponytail than my face (because, duh, I was always turned around talking to my besties behind me!). My mom wasn’t thrilled…but it told us a key fact: that my love of people surpassed just about everything else in my world, and that’s never changed!

illinois | midwest | worldwide

As a past teacher, Mrs Gum was my name for a long time–but please call me Jill! I’m here to encourage you to find the magic and meaning in the mundane (and then capture it to the fullest so that you have tangible memories for years to come).

I’m an Illinois (and beyond!) wedding and portrait photographer. I also teach moms how to take beautiful pictures in any situation and photographers how to grow a business that provides and thrives. 
               
 










Photography and Educational Resources for Photo Lovers


(created for you by your newest hype girl!)

I will never forget the adrenaline rush and joy I got at the first wedding I shot– and still feel at every wedding, over 100 in. I love capturing love and photographing it in all its forms on your wedding day (and I admit, I love the flowers and dresses, too!). It’s about so much more than just pretty pictures, and it is my honor to show you–-for all the future walks of your marriage–- how deep and full (and also CRAZY fun) your best-day-ever was for generations to come.

9 years – 4 Specialties – 1 Biz' Owner

Weddings

Whether it’s photographing your family, senior or newborn baby, or building a useful portfolio of images for your brand/small business, I’m all in. As many times as I tried to specialize in ONLY weddings for the sake of my calendar, I just could not give up following my clients through the different stages of their lives! I love seeing your family or business grow from behind my lens, and have expanded my team so that we can serve you in capturing all of it!

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Portraits

As a past high school teacher, educating other photogs as a part of my business felt like home– I was always a teacher first. I LOVE helping photographers structure and organize their business, and then grow it into a thriving business. As someone who has built my business after I was a parent, and in a similar market to today, I can teach you to do the same. Let me teach you how to create a business that supports the life you want to have– not a life built around your business

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Photographer Educator

I was a mom before I was a photographer- but BEING a mom made me buy my first camera, because time was flying by and I was so afraid I would forget. And my camera? It allowed me to say “I want to remember this,” and then KEEP those moments in the form of photos-- and it can do the same for you. All you need is your new hype girl walking you through simple, easy changes with whatever camera you have to take better photos each day– and save them for generations to come. 

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Teacher for Moms

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Meet the Gums

(my 4 favorite people ever, the most effective alarm clocks you will ever meet, and the reason i put on my rose colored glasses every day!

Our family began with a multi-year friendship between Michael and I...because he was my boss! We worked at a school together and asked HIS boss for permission to date...what a start!  

It took me just a few long, in depth conversations with Michael (and a test run of his famous chocolate chip cookies!) to know I wanted to know a lot more. We were married just a little over a year later.

Our Aussie and 3 kids completed our family over the next 7 years, and it has been a whirlwind of fun memories, learning to parent together, moving to the country, building our dream home, traveling together, and truly loving each other and our life together more every year.  I say all the time that I married up-- and there truly could not be a more honest statement.

Our kids are explorers, dreamers, shy-one-moment-and-outgoing-the-next, brilliant, and challenge us in so many ways.  But I dreamed of being a mama and wife my whole life and can honestly say that we are living a life that I prayed for for years and years. I will never stop being incredibly grateful!

Michael, Jill, and our 3 Es!

(how cute are they?!)

The Numbers

(from a mom whose 4th grader has passed her up in math!)

120

2013

300+

2.5

2018

200+

20

2019

12

The number of weddings I’ve had the honor of photographing

The Year I started JGP

The number of families who have trusted me with their memories

The number of days I work in a typical week

The first year I made 6 figures in my part-time business

The number of students who have gone through my coaching/workshops/courses

The number of Wedding Publications and media blogs I’ve been published in (including my favorite Huffington Post!)

The year we built our country dream home, our #gumfarmhouse

The number of weddings I currently shoot a year, so I can give those 24 people and their loved ones an unforgettable, focused experience

Guilty Pleasure

Book

Accessory

Fast Food

Dessert

Store TO BROWSE

The Bachelor Series

All fruit Pies

Target

Blue Like Jazz

Earrings (especially Kendra Scott!)

Chick-Fil-A

These are a Few of my Favorite Things...

(I hope you sang that…because I sure did.
As a past music teacher, I can’t help it!)

Tv Shows

Color

go-to-drink

Enneagram NUMBER

Season

person

Next

 LOST, Newsroom, Gilmore Girls

All of them- each carries such beauty!

My Michael and our 3 kids

Blush and Pale Blue…shocking, right?

Coke Zero/Sangria/PSL (basic)

2 wing 3

These are a Few of my Favorite Things...

(I hope you sang that…because I sure did.
As a past choir director, I can’t help it!)

vacation destination

Way to stay healthy

food to cook

musical

pasttime

friday night activity

Any and all- I love to travel!

Anything outside with my kids!

Dinner with my girlfriends followed by movie night with my hubby

My Knock Off Peloton Bike

Tacos. That’s on a short list.

Hamilton today...ask me tomorrow!

These are a Few of my Favorite Things...

(I hope you sang that…because I sure did.
As a past choir director, I can’t help it!)

Next

MICHAEL

My husband, biggest supporter, adventure partner, best friend, and second shooter. He is 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!).  

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 3 young kids-- 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 are SO expressive)--but they have calmed down a bit since then!

My 3 Es

All named with Es, 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 others' stories-- for generations to come. So that each person I photograph (including, and especially, our babies and loved ones) will remember and feel the love that came before them and surrounded them throughout their lives. So that each person knows they are never alone. 

JGP  TEAM

03

02

01

I share what I know so that EVERYONE, regardless of their location, can find a photographer to take those stop-you-in-your-tracks images. I also want to help photographers run a business that defines their own version of success and amplifies the industry as a whole!

A Heart for Sharing

I want YOU to be able to take your own photos of your family also…because you are the mom-tographer who’s there day in and day out for the real magic of soccer games, vacations, Saturday-morning-pancakes, Friday-Night-Dance parties,  and everything in between.

In an industry that says “You MUST specialize in ONE type of photography to grow”, I've refused to settle for one.  It is SO special to me to build those long term relationships with my clients from wedding to babies to families and beyond.  As a multi-passionate photographer, I support shooting what you love-- and teach others to do the same!

Hey there, Head of the Mom Paparazzi!

Photography for all Seasons

WHAT SETS ME 

APART...

2002

2005

2009

2010

2012

fall 2012

early 2013

april 2013

2013

2014

2015

2020

next

FUTURE

BACK

FUTURE

BACK

click each
date

JGP TIMELINE

Jill fell in love with photography in the Photography Class dark room! She loved the creativity behind shooting, and focused on 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 an 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 local photographers, 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, they often talk about their desire to have a nice camera one day and really capture all the magic they 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 baby  Michael realizes quickly how often Jill is going to want real pictures of their baby boy...and wonders if Jill might agree to just 1 session per year (instead of more!) if they invest in a professional DSLR camera 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 instantly falls in love.

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 lead her to grow a business!

Jill second shoots a lot of weddings 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!  They will forever be thankful to those 6 couples who trusted them so early on!

The business really takes off, and Jill resigns from teaching to go full time with photography and mom life.  Jill stays home with kids, and shoots 18 weddings that year. 

Weddings, teaching online Photography Courses, and Mentoring make up Jill's business hours, and play dates, parks, and enjoying their country home make up their family time.  

Jill Gum 
Classroom

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The JGP
Blog

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channel

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WHERE TO FIND MORE

I've been creating and sharing inspiration, content, and resources for years, and I'm confident there is something for you!

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 and 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, actually looked like. I could feel our love through the photos.  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 groom hugs his new wife, how a father looks at his daughter when he gives her away, and so much more.

URBAN EDGY
NON-TRADITIONAL WEDDING 

SUMMERTIME WISCONSIN VINEYARD WEDDING

Downtown Late Summer Engagement Session

UPSCALE CLASSY URBAN DOWNTOWN CHICAGO WEDDING

PURPLE AND WHITE CLASSY ROOFTOP WEDDING

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@jillgumphotography

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