Boss Mom of the Week: Cristina Jones
Cristina Jones is a styled stock & product photographer. Wife, mommy, and bacon addict! Forever a Rhode Islander at heart. I get by on coffee and smiles 🙂
Tell us a little bit about your family and your Boss Mom journey.
I’m Cristina, a Coast Guard wife, Mommy of two adorable children (5 & 1 1/2) as well as mom to two dogs, my first babies 😉 As a USCG wife, I’ve been through some military moves. I was fortunate enough to work for a company who allowed me to work remotely once we had to move far from my office. This was great until my daughter was about 2. At that point, we realized it was no longer best for her, and I left my corporate job to be a SAHM full-time. Soon we were pregnant with baby #2 and it reinforced how important it was for me to be home with them.
After about 3 years as a SAHM, it became more and more necessary for me to have something that was my own. My own interests, grown up, and something I could be passionate about that did not involve sippy cups & diapers 😉 My corporate job was a high-stress, ~12 hour workday, mentally exhausting type of job. I worked in electronic trading technology for a large investment bank. While I didn’t love the stress, the nerd in me really loved the work. Trading technology does not exactly get my creative juices flowing though. That was always something I felt was lacking in my corporate jobs. I’ve been passionate about photography since I was a child. I went on to take photography courses in college, and afterwards at the Houston Center for Photography. The best lessons I’ve learned however have been through trial & error. In my years as a SAHM, I was able to focus on the skills I knew I needed to strengthen. Knowing I’d be at home with my son until he starts a part-time pre-k program, I knew I had to do something that was more “me” while staying home with him. This is where the beauty of styled stock photography came in. It was something I could do from home, work at my own pace, and manage to keep caring for the kids as my top priority. As I gained experience in styled stock photography, I realized I could handle product photography in the same manner. Now I am lucky enough to offer both services from my home studio.
What are some of your favorite go to meals when time is tight and dinner MUST get on the table?
My favorite has to be a chicken enchilada bake. One pot, layer into a lasagna pan, into the oven it goes, and 20 minutes later there is a cheesy, melty, toasty, yummy Mexican dish! Slice up some avocado for extra goodness 😉 We switch it up on Day 2 by adding rice & beans. Bakes ziti is another staple that can be done in a jiffy!
Where do you go for inspiration?
There are a few portrait photographers I look to frequently. There are so many beautiful techniques in portrait photography, lighting, and editing styles, I like to see how each photographer makes it their own. Recently I’m working on some stock images geared towards calligraphers & invitation designers, so I’ve started following wedding trends in some Facebook groups as well as magazines in an attempt to stay current.
What are you currently reading or listening to (podcasts, books, blogs etc)?
I keep going back to Heidi Hope & Leah Remilet. Although their line of photography is different than mine, they have some excellent marketing tips & “mompreneur” tips that I think could apply to any business.
What is one piece of business advice that you’d give to a mom just starting out?
It’s okay to take it slow! My goal was to start a business slowly while I still have one of the kids at home full time. There is so much legwork involved in starting a business properly. From state paperwork, to legal review, to setting up a website securely… all of that takes an awful lot of time, especially if you are doing it on your own. I knew it would be time consuming, so I wanted to have all of this under my belt once both kids were going to school. At that point, when I can devote more time to my work, that’s when I feel like I can hit the ground running and I won’t have to wait on the technicalities.
What are some of your favorite quotes or words to live by?
Life is the art of drawing without an eraser. – John W. Gardner
In one word, sum up your life as a Boss Mom.
What are three core values of your business and how do those values relate to your motherhood?
- “Patience is a virtue” This goes along with #5 above. Although I can always work on my patience, I try to remind myself not to rush things that are not necessary in the moment. This is something I try to teach my kids (well, my 5 year old for now) and even my dogs lol. I’ve been made fun of for telling my dogs “patience is a virtue” when they freak out as I try to put their leashes on for a walk.
- Focus on what you have, not what you don’t have. As a business with a tiny budget, this is something I struggle with. It’s so tempting to buy new props, or want to upgrade my equipment, but I need to remember to do the best I can with what I have. When we focus on this at home, it leads to a happier, more grateful life. It’s amazing how you can reinvent the wheel when you decide to work with what you have available to you. Some of my best ideas have come from this process. I’ve applied it from my photos, to homework, to rearranging furniture, all with great results!
- I just try my best. I know it sounds very cliche, but it’s important to remember we are all doing the best we can. There are pros and cons to every decision we make as moms in business. If I say “yes” to writing a blog post, I am saying “no” to extra quality time with the kids and mom-guilt sets in. If I say “yes” to quality time, I’m saying “no” to updating my listings on Etsy and I worry I’m going to fail. These are just a couple of examples, but I try not to get hung up on each decision. It’s tough to find the right balance. If at the end of the day, I’ve managed to keep everyone generally happy, while making the best decisions I could, I consider it a success!
Cristina has a great section on her website that we want you to know about. Check out her help and tutorials section for advice and help on all things photography!
Connect with Cristina Jones!