See all things with your heart, not just your eyes. Tina Cardoso grew up two doors down from her grandfather (Howie Mac) who taught her that the sun did not have to be a flat, yellow circle – it could be whatever you see with your heart and imagination. Many years later, Cardoso realized that she had been applying that creative wisdom to many channels of her life, especially her photography.
Following her dreams (and her heart), Cardoso started Howie Mac Photo in 2010, shortly after her daughter was born. In early 2019, after 18 years in marketing, she launched her full-time studio at Winthrop Town Center in Riverview. Capturing the perfect moment, not just the perfect pose, Tina helps businesses and entrepreneurs share the heart of their business with brand photography, as well as families documenting their story and major milestones – with a little fun and a lot of love!
What inspired you to launch your own photography business?
Photography has always played an important role in my life. My father passed away when I was one, so I know him only through photos. Therefore photography became a significant channel for me learn about my dad. Second, my grandfather (Howie Mac) help raise me. He would tell me stories while looking through photos from his past. He instilled a lot of creativity in my childhood and taught me to see things with my heart, not just my eyes.
I launched Howie Mac Photo in 2010, shortly after my daughter, Lucy, was born. My ultimate goal was to leave my corporate job and do photo full-time. I wanted to show her that you can chase your dreams and be a successful woman entrepreneur. It took a few years to finally get to launch full-time, but I did it and she’s a huge piece of my inspiration every day.
What’s your advice to other moms who want to take the leap to leave their careers (or get back into the workforce) and start their own business?
Asking for help and being transparent was one of the hardest, but most important parts of my journey. We have an amazing women support system in Tampa. When I was launching my studio full-time, it was so hard to admit that I didn’t know what to do, or to share that something went wrong. I was so afraid that others would turn their back on me, but they didn’t. They embraced me and they helped me. By being vulnerable and asking for help, I was able to allow other people into my journey. And that helped me move forward.
Schedules can get hectic, but is there one thing your family does to help ease the routine?
This is a hard one because our schedules vary every week. It sounds silly, but all of our devices (computers, phones, etc.) are connected, so when something goes on the calendar, everyone knows about it. Also, trying to make time to sit at the dinner table and eat together is the absolute best thing for our souls.
What’s your favorite thing to do as a family in Tampa Bay?
We love the beach. It’s the one place where everyone lets go and relaxes. We forget about the lists and emails and just enjoy our time together. It’s the best way for our family to reset and reconnect.