Voyage Chicago Magazine | May 31, 2017

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jill Norton.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Jill. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.

Most memories of my childhood were visual. I was always just watching everything and everyone and quietly letting it all sink in. I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and loved being outside, loved dancing and listening to my parents’ albums and loved reading and looking at photos in books & magazines.
After graduating from Miami of Ohio with a degree in Retail Management and a minor in Photography, I moved to Chicago and eventually broke into photography working with fashion photographer, John Beckett, soaking in all I could about the studio, the cameras, the shoots, but mostly how to make the models feel so at ease in front of the camera.
I became a photo editor for 2 national magazines, both in print and web, and enjoyed learning about the other side of the photography business. In 1997, I finally got back behind the camera and photographed an amazing trip to Italy. When I returned, I exhibited my Italy images and that was the start of my business. I soon found a niche for working with children and developed a style that stood apart from the typical studio portraits. I photographed them just being themselves and enjoying being kids.
I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark III, and primarily work with a 50mm 1.4 lens that is significant to my style of candid, natural light photography. I photograph everything from children and families to events, corporate head shots, travel, lifestyle and also work with commercial clients photographing real models, products, food and architectural spaces for annual reports, packaging, advertising and other forms of marketing and promotion.
I have a natural light studio in Evanston with a great park across the street. I am a member the Evanston Chamber of Commerce, have chaired of The Evanston Arts Council and work for Northwestern University as Visual Communications Manager for Student Affairs Marketing, doing photography, working with students and web design work. I always keep shooting for myself and exhibit that work whenever I can and finding the many amazing images in everyday life.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?

It was a challenge building my business and learning along the way. I had to find ways to network and offer my services for free to build my portfolio when I started out. I also had growing pains and finding my limits of how much work I could take on and what work I wanted to do and did not want to do. I slowly built the business as I wanted it to be and learned along the way how and when to say ‘No’.

I have made mistakes that have made me a stronger photographer and learned how to overcome disappointments. I also had to realize what my niche was and to embrace my photography style and recognize what I provided to my clients. All challenges along the way have made me who I am today after 16 years in business.

Please tell us about Jill Norton Photography.

I have a natural light studio, but do most of my work on location. My style is about candid, real interactions with families and bringing out personalities of kids, adults and letting things happen naturally. I use natural light in most circumstances and I believe the photos I capture will live on through generations for the families I work with.


If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?

Had a better system of organization from back in the negative days, moving into CDs, moving into hard drives, it has been a challenge just to keep up with technology. I don’t know that I would have done anything else differently, as all elements of my business have made my business what it is today, and I am very proud of that.


Pricing:
  • In Studio Head Shot Sittings $180 and includes all high resolution images
  • Full Family Sittings $380 and includes all high resolution images and web gallery

Contact Info:
  • Address: 725 Washington #109
  • Evanston, IL 60202
  • Website: jillnorton.com
  • Phone: 312 403 1222
  • Email: jill@jillnorton.com
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jillnortonphoto/
  • Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/jill-norton-photography-evanston
  • Other: https://www.behance.net/jillbrazel