Stay at home Moms that inspire series-Jessica Guercio

Hey friends, welcome back to the series! This is a subject that will never get old for me to talk about-Inspiring Moms. I continue to get my own inspiration from every woman and every story shared. I like that this a space where I can share their words…unedited and unfiltered. They don’t need me to speak for them, they all do it so well on their own!

Speaking of friends, I want to talk to you about my girl, Jessica Guercio. If you’re having a fun moment Jessica is either part of the reason or the one documenting it for you! Within a 1/2 hour of meeting her we were literally rapping along to a song together!

She is a wife, mom, friend to many and a talented photographer. Her ability to make people feel comfortable comes across in her photography, which really shows the beautiful moment as it is. So I’d like to take another beautiful moment and turn the camera around so to speak and let you hear from her. Here’s Jessica..enjoy!!!

Tell me about your career/business:

” I am a former elementary teacher turned photographer, owner of Jessica Guercio photography. I started JGP out of a love of photography, working with kids and families, and wanting to provide families the ability to capture moments without making a huge investment in their time and money.”

How many children do you have and their ages?

“I have one cool 4 year old dude-David.”

How long have you been a stay at home mom?

“4 years….ever since the little guy came along. I taught elementary school for eight years before we had David and I had every intention of returning to the classroom from my maternity leave and summer vacation. As August got closer and closer, I just couldn’t justify the amount of money I would be making returning to the classroom versus the moments I could be a part of by staying home. We had to make some financial compromises and adjustments but once I made the decision to stay home, I never looked back.”

What made you decide to get started and how long did you think about doing so before you did?

“Photography has always been something I have done and loved. A wildlife photographer who worked for National Geographic came to speak at my elementary school when I was little and I just couldn’t believe this guy got to travel the world and take photographs at his job. It blew me away!

Fast forward to adulthood…I was a stay at home mom researching someone to do a few family photos for David’s first birthday. I just wanted a few of him in his birthday outfit and one good pic of the family. I didn’t need a two hour photo session, I didn’t need super posed glamour shots….just a quick (husband hates taking pictures), easy (did I mention the one year old) and affordable (stay at home mama) photo session to capture a few photos of this moment in time. It was close to impossible to find someone.

By this time, I was itching to do something for myself and get back to work. I looked at going back to teaching but it just didn’t logistically make sense to do full-time. I dabbled in direct selling with a wine company but it just wasn’t something I felt passionate about. I started toying around with my camera again, shooting candids of David and his friends at the park when we would go. I took a few online photography classes, started shooting family photos for friends. I researched, I questioned, I studied. In 2016, I decided this was something I was going to seriously consider pursuing and put myself out there. I researched more and more and more… I was just going to have to make the leap.

I knew that I wanted to be the photographer I was looking for in 2014. I wanted to do sessions that were fun and allowed families to just get a few family photos, to capture where they are right now in this moment. I want to be a part of people’s memories and make it easy for them. I took the leap just over a year ago, and haven’t looked back since.”

Why are you passionate about it?

“People always ask me if I miss teaching and the answer is always “yes, but…..”. I love working with kids and photography has allowed me to continue working with little ones, even if it’s just for a brief period of time. I get the chance to capture their personalities and watch them grow. I truly have fun and want families to do the same when they come to me for a session.

The thing I didn’t realize when I started this was how empowering it can be to work on something you are truly passionate about. Something that makes you more than just “wife” and “mom”. There have been bumps and mess-ups and hard conversations but I’ve managed to navigate and find my way. I’ve met amazing families, cool kids, and learned so much about myself through my work.”

Do you have any tips or advice for a fellow mom getting started?

“Ever edited an Instagram photo and questioned yourself 30 times before posting? Did I crop it right? Is that the right filter? Will my husband get mad that he looks terrible but I look awesome? (Just kidding,my husband always looks awesome. 😄) That’s how I feel with my photography and my business at times. I’ve learned to follow my gut. Have I made mistakes? Absolutely. But I’ve learned something from every single one of them.

The best advice I can give is lean on your village. I could not do this without the support of my friends and family. My neighbors have watched my son, my friends have referred me to their friends, and my husband has given me business advice and artistic encouragement when I need it most.”

What challenges have you faced?

“Timing, logistics, budget. I invest a lot of time and money back into my business and have to really sit down and focus on my goals constantly. As many will tell you, you get out what you put in.”

What have you learned about yourself or your chosen business along the way?

“Having been in business for just over a year…the list of things I’ve learned is long. I’ve learned to be patient and wait for the moment. That goes for photographing kids and running a business.”

What are some benefits of what you do?

“I love getting to work with kids and families. It is truly my favorite part of this business. The other benefit is being able to buy my husband’s birthday gift without having to borrow money from him 😀.”

What are your goals as you continue?

“My short-term goals are to continue to grow my business and continue to get better at what I do. I study constantly in order to improve my work and develop new ways for clients to feel more comfortable in front of the camera. Long-term…upgrade to my dream camera to really knock people’s socks off.”

Why part time instead of full time, why was this right for your family?

“Part time is what works for us right now…where we are at this stage of life.”

Favorite thing about being a stay at home mom:

“I know being a stay at home mom is a privilege and I am truly thankful that I’m able to do it. As they say, kids are only little for a short time. I’m really lucky to get to be home with him and have these years with him.”

What would you want your child to know about why mommy does what she does? What is your advice to him?

“Work hard and be nice. It applies to everything and will always bring success.”

Best memory of a successful moment doing what you do:

“Every single time someone views their photographs and says ” I LOVE THEM!” Seriously…best feeling ever.”

I want to say a big thank you to Jessica for chatting! It was so good! If you want to check out her amazing work you can find her at her website or at her Jessica Guercio Photography page on Facebook. Since she and I love to chat you can comment to either of us here! I hope you’ll keep tuning in to the blog for more stories of incredible women like Jessica in the coming weeks! Janet