Crystal, we are so grateful you decided to share your story with us. Let’s start with who you are both personally and professionally. Give us the 30-second elevator speech that you would give when asked to introduce yourself.
I’m a portrait photographer based in San Diego. Clients describe me as a talented, patient, and fun. My friends say I am caring and generous. I’m passionate about portrait photography because it allows me to document moments in my clients’ lives that they want to remember in a beautiful way. I’m proud to say I’ve been called a Photographer Ninja because I can get the shot without being noticed! I’m a wife to the most handsome man I’ve ever met, mother to two hilarious and wonderfully unique little humans and one gorgeous golden retriever. Beyond that, I find joy in exploring the world with said husband and sons, volunteering at my church and kids’ school, hiking, laughing, red wine or bourbon, chai tea lattes, dark chocolate, watching era films or Sci-Fi and Fantasy series, hanging out with friends, and any way I can find to enjoy this life God has so blessed me with.
What does “As Strong as the Mother Next to Me” mean to you?
“As Strong as the Mother Next to Me means that my mom friends and I are in this motherhood journey together. I gain a wealth of knowledge and personal experience stories from them. We can count on each other for support. What’s even more incredible about moms is that we don’t even have to be friends to support one another. We can meet at the park or in a Facebook group and simply start chatting, supporting, and sharing.“
How important is it to you to surround yourself with other moms both professionally and personally? It is important to surround myself with other moms both professionally and personally because they can easily relate to life with children. If I need to cancel or reschedule plans every now and then because something came up at home such my kid getting a fever, they 100% understand.
How did you get started with your current role? Tell us more about your day-to-day life in business. I got my B.F.A. in Fine Art Photography at Cal State Long Beach in 2005. From 2000-2012, I worked for numerous portrait studios and photography related jobs. I launched my own photography company in 2012, the year I had my second child. I am extremely grateful to generally be able to book sessions around my family obligations. My day-to-day life strongly resembles that of a stay-at-home mom, the difference being that while my kids are at school, I work on editing photos, emailing clients, and sharing work on social media in my home office. My kids stay home with my husband or a sitter when I go on location for photo sessions.
Staying motivated while working at home can be challenging! Also resisting the urge to book up my calendar with sessions is sometimes an internal struggle. For the purpose of boosting my ego and bank account, I want to take all the sessions. But, I’ve learned that my relationship with my spouse and kids suffer when I overbook myself. Keeping both worlds in balance is key.
What piece of advice would you give another mom who is struggling with balance work/home life? Or is thinking about starting her own business? Speaking from my own experience: if I can raise kind, respectful, loving, and well-rounded people, I will have succeeded at one of the most challenging jobs in the world. This goal cannot be attained without time and effort on my part. When my work/life balance is off, I feel it in my gut; the mom guilt. On the other hand, when I am satisfied with the amount of time and energy I am investing into raising my children, I feel at peace. I do not get the same verbal gratitude or accolades from my kids as I do from clients or my work, but the personal accomplishment feels worth it.
Tell us about a challenging time in your business and how you overcame it? My biggest ongoing challenge is trying not to take it personally when a client moves on to another photographer after booking with me. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen often, but when it does, insecure feelings creep in. My mom tribe is crucial at times like that. I can count on my friends to remind me to focus on all the wonderful clients I still have!
How did you build your community of moms around you and how have they impacted your life personally and professionally? My group of mom friends is made up of moms I’ve met mainly through my kids’ schools and sports. These friends are more valuable than precious jewels and have carried me through hard times and laughed with me during joyful times.
Would you like to share a special offer to our readers? Portrait sessions start at $300 for a 45-minute photo shoot and you select your 10 favorite digital images.
“As Strong as the Mother Next to Me” was built on the principle and belief that with the right community and sisterhood you can move mountains. Founder Niki Jones is a single mother and entrepreneur who understands that leaning on her circle doesn’t make her weak; it makes her unstoppable.
Research supports that by doing good or paying it forward, in ways big or small, not only feels good, but also does us good.
MOTHERHOOD IS HARD ENOUGH. San Diego Moms wants to provide an experience and community that is inclusive, uplifting and supportive to ALL moms. By empowering and lifting each other up, we become better women, partners, leaders, and friends.
At this time I would like to ask you to nominate two moms, and we will only share their first name in the article, but also WHY you are nominating them.
“I met April through “Outdoor Classroom” a free parenting class/weekly playdate for their children provided by San Diego Continuing Education. She amazes me by running her own business, Home Grown in the City, home-schooling her awesome son, and enjoying life all the while.“
“I met Jaimie when our sons played T-ball together. Jaimie is a mom of two, Realtor, AND hair stylist! She manages to balance it all AND laugh a lot!”