The COLLECTIV | Checking in with Jessica Cruz

I first sat down with Tampa Bay photographer, Jessica Cruz in 2013. I met with her at a Tampa area tea lounge and we conversed about her life as a budding photographer, her styles of photography, and so much more. Need to catch up? Dive into our first interview here.

Jessica Cruz and I in 2013 | Image: Shaunette Stokes Photography

After nearly five years, things have definitely changed in both of our lives. Jessica has married, started a family, and launched her “adventurous love & life” photography business. In the midst of nesting for the arrival of her son, Jessica took sometime to catch up with us!

Can you believe it’s been nearly 4 years since we last chatted? So many wonderful things has happened since we last met. Share with our readers some of the most exciting things that are happening in your world.

So much has changed since 4 years ago, I’m not sure where to begin! 🙂

I guess you could say I have reached the “adult stage” of my life. I quit my corporate job 3 years ago after graduating college to pursue photography full time, traveled to Europe and all over the US for photography, I bought a little bungalow in Seminole Heights which has been a really fun place to live. It’s a wonderful community that really supports small business – this has also been helpful! I got married earlier this year to my soulmate, and we are expecting our first child this October.

It has been a complete and wonderful whirlwind!

Congratulations! With marriage, the expected arrival of your son, and travels over the past few years, I’m sure your ideology about the business and how you create has had some adjustments. Describe how you’ve found inspiration through these milestones, and how it is reflected in your work.

I have found that my work has been more driven to cater the wedding industry, couples and lifestyle photography such as families and portraits . I still love creating artwork, however my new passion has been helping couples through this amazing and exciting time in their lives of becoming engaged and where to go next in preparing for their wedding. I find my inspiration for their custom shoots and weddings through their stories and I really try my best to become friends with my couples. I strongly believe that by creating a relationships with them and getting to know them I can better tell their love story.

It is my hope and goal that through communication, giving my best advice, becoming friends and more than just a wedding vendor, that I can provide the best experience for my couples and capture the best images that I can.

Lastly, photography has become quintessential in many of our day-to-day lives. Rather with years experience or amateur ambitions, social media has made it possible for just about anyone to shoot, edit and share on the go. Do you think that this has lessened the integrity of the art? How do you define your creative authenticity in the madness?

I go back and forth with this, from a business stand point- social media is an AMAZING tool to get yourself out there. I would say around 70 percent of my clients find me on social media and the remaining are via word of mouth.

From an artist standpoint, there are some cons. There is something so special about seeing art in person, an experience you miss out on when viewing on tiny phones. We have become so used to skimming images on a daily basis that it gets increasingly difficult to create work that is “eye catching.” You find yourself almost curating your Instagram into a mini gallery and trying to post more work that is similar to a post that got a higher amount of “likes.” I think we all fall victim to this, double guessing what type of image to display, what we are going to say about the image, how it is going to possibly come across to our internet audience. I try very hard to keep my focus on being authentic and real and not so much about the numbers.

I love to show little bits of my personal life too so people can get to know the person behind the social media account and share images that I love or evoke some sort of feeling. Ultimately I think whatever work you put out there is the type of audience and clientele you will gain. So it’s very important to share what drives you!

I’d like to personally thank Jessica for taking the time to catch us up on the growth in her personal and professional lives. I love to see great examples of finding balance in the chaos of growing in your passions. At the time of our interview, Jessica was entering the last month of her pregnancy. On October 8, 2017, Jessica and her husband welcomed their healthy baby boy, Jackson! Isn’t he the sweetest?!

Congratulations, again! We look forward to your many accomplishments ahead.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.