We had the good fortune of connecting with Heather Seignemartin and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Heather, what’s the most important thing you’ve done for your children?
I have three incredible children with whom I constantly communicate; I mean, we talk about everything. We eat dinner together every night, and I ask them for the lowlights and the highlights of their day. We talk about dreams and goals. We talk about the little things that captivate their attention. When I lose my cool and speak too harshly with them, I come to them and apologize. When I make a mistake in life or find an obstacle in my path, I talk about it with them and my process to overcome it to show them that anything is possible, but it comes with work ethic. I believe the most important thing I have done for my children has been teaching them HOW to think and not WHAT to think. I have four incredible step-kids. My role as a step-parent is a little different. My bonus kids already have two parents who love them, but their value hierarchies don’t always line up with my own. My main role as a step-parent is supporting their father and his parenting decisions, which requires even more communication to help balance the differences in parenting (what can I say, it’s a chatty household). The most important things I do for my bonus children are more geared around modeling empathy, a healthy relationship, and being a dependable mother figure with an open ear anytime they need one.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Over 17 years ago, I stumbled my way into the business of wedding and event photography with my first husband. I was his partner, but he clearly didn’t view me as his equal, and it wasn’t long before that attitude carried over in every aspect of our life together. We had a son, and I was raised to believe that you stay married, no matter what, and a lady should never air her dirty laundry. After a decade of abuse and being made to feel like a second class citizen, I finally left and began my healing journey. My ex took most of our photography and videography gear from our business. However, I still had a camera and computer that I had purchased with my small inheritance from my biological mom and was able to keep supporting myself and my three children with it. I was diagnosed with PTSD from the abuse in my former marriage, and through support groups, I was able to connect with others that had also suffered at the hands of their partners. I then realized how I could use the gift of photography to uplift and empower others to see their own beauty and strength. It was a project of the heart (which is another way to say “pro-bono). With every woman that started seeing herself different through my lens, my hope and confidence began returning as well. We rose together. *I want to recognize that spousal abuse isn’t an injustice specific to women. Still, I found that only women were interested in being photographed as a part of the empowerment project that I created. I met and married a wonderful man who elevates my heart and treats me as an equal in all ways. He is my biggest supporter and helps me work through the technical challenges of running a company, saving me time and money. But he is an active duty Marine, which means we are having to pick up my company every 2-3 years and restart somewhere new. This is the biggest challenge, and I can’t necessarily “overcome it.” I’ve learned to get involved in the community to see where the needs are and network like crazy. Photography markets are saturated almost everywhere we get stationed. I quickly learned to lean on my design and marketing skills and network with businesses instead of depending on events and portrait clients. It will continue to be a struggle every two to three years until my husband decides to retire. Still, experience has taught me to keep learning new skills and sharpening the old, so I have more tools to work with when I spot the holes that need to be filled around me. I want every entrepreneur to know that there will be lean times, but there are always opportunities to uncover, so keep yourself open and flexible. Even with the best planning, you’ll never fully be able to predict where your journey will take you or how the struggle will refine you. Keep your mind open and your optimism high. Make quality friends in your field so you have people who can relate and share their relevant experiences.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I have an eclectic taste and prefer to frequent small businesses, especially if they are environmentally conscious and community-driven. For this reason, We’d start our day at Brew Spot Coffee in La Mesa. I’d recommend their mocha, any of their teas, and their salmon bagels are a MUST! Oh, so good. We’d grab our swimsuits and head out to hike Torrey Pines, then hike down to the beach to swim or catch some rays (after applying a liberal amount of sunscreen). We’d head home to relax for a bit before heading out to another local, sustainable restaurant, Harney Sushi. My first date with my hubby was at Harney’s in Oceanside. I always add an Orange Crush roll to my order. If this was a rare occasion I had a baby sitter, we’d head to Hillcrest to finish the night barhopping in Hillcrest, Rich’s and Urban Mo’s usually make the list. I love going to the drag shows at Lips or Urban Mo’s too. The next day, we’d sleep in a little, have brunch at Breakfast Republic, then go explore Balboa Park. I’d likely take my camera to take advantage of the many photo ops. I frequent the Japanese Friendship Garden, which is especially beautiful in the spring during sakura matsuri.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My world runs smoothly and is far brighter with the love of my life, my partner in everything, a man among men, my handsome and thoughtful husband, Justin Seignemartin. This man gets more done in a day than most get in a week and I am openly jealous of his energy. He co-hosts and produces our relationship-centered weekly podcast, hosts his own interview-based podcast on military leadership, handles our marketing and SEO, formed a hobby woodworking shop, built and maintains our mini-farm, is working on a book, pitches in to help clean, make dinners, and help with homework, keeps a smile on my lips, keeps himself fit, and does it all while being an active duty Marine. He’s the bee’s knees!

Website: www.iconicimages.co
Instagram: www.instagram.com/sigandstig
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/heather-seignemartin/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/iconicimages
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/Thestigmom
Other: www.facebook.com/SigandStig

Image Credits
Candid photo of me with my camera taken by my husband, Justin Seignemartin. All other photos are examples of my work.

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