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Meet Jill Tiongco of Jill Tiongco Photography in Based in Bucktown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jill Tiongco.

Jill, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve always been drawn to a creative lifestyle. Even when I was a child, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up… I just knew I didn’t want to be stuck behind a nine to five desk job. So after college when I found myself doing just that – sitting behind a desk Monday through Friday, I knew something was just off. Everything happens for a reason though, and I am so thankful for my previous job as a Web Designer. I learned invaluable lessons in both my professional and personal life over those few years. I met great people, worked under an inspiring mentor, and without those experiences I would not be where I am today. I was comfortable, but I knew I needed more.

When it came to designing graphics, I was always good at taking pieces that exist and either improving or adding to them. I struggled with creating art from nothing. And unfortunately for a few years I took that as a lack of creativity on my part. I struggled with finding my place in the professional world. And then I found photography.

I’ve always loved taking pictures. There’s something about capturing a moment, making that moment last forever, and remembering it in a beautiful way. Creating a photograph, a scene, a frame… it has always come natural to me. My art is in my subjects. And I now realize what I thought was my tragic downfall is actually the strength that has propelled my business into fruition. That strength has allowed me to do what I love every single day of my life. Photography isn’t just business for me. It’s a way of life. I photograph everything I do, most of what I eat, and anything I want to remember.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It’s been a fairly smooth road – and I’m so lucky for that. The whole transition from starting out as a hobbyist, into doing photography on the side, to quitting my job and working full-time running my own business has been fantastic. Every business has its challenges, but I’d say the scariest part was just taking the leap and trusting myself. Once I was able to do that, it just gone from there and I’ve never looked back. As a business owner, I’m constantly growing, finding new opportunities and challenges, and learning more about myself and how I face adversity – but I like to look at overcoming challenges as a way of growing and evolving with the ever changing industry.

Please tell us about Jill Tiongco Photography.
I specialize in authentic, timeless, and romantic wedding photography (as well as Engagements and Lifestyle Portraits). When I meet with clients before booking, I often hear that they were drawn to how natural everyone looks in my photos. It always looks like everyone is having fun (mostly b/c we are!), they look comfortable, happy, and beautiful. There’s a light-heartedness about my photos and I think that candid, easy going feel is what a lot of my clients relate to.

There are so many amazing photographers in Chicago, each with his/her own personal style and aesthetic they bring to their work. What sets me apart is just that – it’s me. My style, personality, quirks – it’s the little things that make working with the right couple so special. I take the time to meet with the couple beforehand to make sure we’re the right fit. To make sure we connect on a deeper level. To make sure they get my quirks and I get what makes their relationship unique. It’s all about that dynamic, and I take the time to make sure we have that. It helps make them feel a little more comfortable in front of my camera – and that makes all the difference.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I probably would have quit my job and done photography full time sooner!


  • Weddings start at $3,800
  • Engagements/Lifestyle start at $750

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