We had the good fortune of connecting with Juli O’Cain and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Juli, how do you think about risk?
I think we all know there is a balance between risk and reward. For me, my natural inclination is to avoid risk. I prefer safety and security. Working towards a goal with a guaranteed outcome sounds way better to me. I would have missed out on so many things if I would have listened to the voice that tells me to stay inside my comfort zone. I even look back at decisions I made and knowing myself better now, I am surprised I made them! Thankfully, the call of adventure and beauty has many times overcome the call of fear and security in my life. It started in college when I took a semester to study abroad in New Zealand, flying thirteen hours across the world by myself knowing no one. I fell in love with mountains and outdoor culture and knew I wanted to live somewhere like that. So next, I drove across the country from Indiana to Colorado after completing graduate school also not knowing a soul. I will tell you I did it scared. My first career is in the wonderful world of speech language pathology (shout out to all the amazing SLPs out there!). Sometime before and during the pandemic, I fell in love again – this time with photography. I went from being an expert in my current field to feeling like a clueless graduate student all over again. For me, the risk here was questioning if I was investing in something that would never come to fruition (aka failure). Did I dare “put myself out there”? Am I good enough? Would anyone want me to take their photos?

There is always risk in starting something new, even if it is not financial. You invest your time, your passion, your hopes, and your dreams. I have grown so much in photography and am so glad I took the risk of “being a beginner.”  The two biggest things that helped me overcome the fear of risk with starting my photography business were my support system and a community of other photographers. My now-husband and friends provided so much encouragement that I could not have moved forward without. My husband Drew always asks me, “What is the worst thing that could happen?”  He also helped me celebrate the little victories along the way that got me closer to my goal and have a growth mindset that learns from failure and focuses on continued learning. I have also found the Colorado Springs photography community full of good people that provided education, encouragement, and support. It helped greatly knowing other new photographers who had recently started out. You are not alone. Even if it is in another field and something that no one else has tried, you are not the only one to “try something new.” Let that give you courage. The last thing I will share is that looking back, it all started with that first step. If I had not done that first scary thing of leaving my comfort zone years ago in college (which led to Colorado, which led to taking pictures while hiking, which led to portrait photography), I would not be here today doing what I love. And it’s not just the courage of taking the first step, it is also the trust of knowing that everything will be okay (even if you fail, even if it turns out different than you think).

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am about to celebrate my one year anniversary of my photography business! I started Bespoken Photography with a passion for capturing people authentically in the beautiful place we live. I am proud of the growth I have made in my skills and craft as a photographer. I started off with portrait photography of families and couples and recently have been doing more newborn sessions and weddings. I view photography as a collaboration. Teamwork makes the magic and working together is what creates the best images. I provide the skill and direction from behind the camera and you bring your true self. My goal is to make you feel comfortable enough to do that! I love capturing connection, beauty, and emotion. The candid in-between moments are my favorite. As a person who values having options, I also like to provide my clients with a variety of shots. I always include formally posed shots alongside the casual candids and capture all the serious, fun, light-hearted, and sweet moments. My growth as a photographer is still ongoing and I am so excited to invest more into weddings particularly. Photography has helped me see the world differently. I see colors differently, different types of light, and I am more easily able to find the beauty in things that is sometimes not so evident. As my background did not start in photography, it has also required humility and patience. In the end, I just love taking pictures of people and sharing beauty with others has brought so much joy!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Now this sounds fun! If you’re visiting me in Colorado, you know I am taking you for a hike or taking you to the mountains. I love living in Colorado Springs and there are so many new, fun places here. Let’s start the day by stopping by a good coffee shop – Loyal, Building Three, or Story. We will start you off with an easier hike to help you acclimate. Mt. Cutler in North Cheyenne Canon is perfect for the first day. It’s a short hike with beautiful views! I will remind you to drink lots of water, don’t worry. Then we grab lunch at my favorite burger joint – Skirted Heifer! Sweet potato fries are a must. I also never get tired of taking visitors to Garden of the Gods. There are places you can even get away from the crowds – Siamese Twins Trail is a favorite for that! For dinner, we go to Coati because I am craving the cauliflower from Anju and it has such a fun vibe. Then, we stop at Homa in Kinship Landing for a drink because I feel instantly cooler and more relaxed just being in their Greenhaus. The rest of the week we drive up Pike’s Peak so you can say you’ve been at 14,000 feet and see the new visitor center, do more local hikes (Section 16 is currently closed but also a favorite), and visit my favorite pizza place Slice 420. I still haven’t been to the Olympic Museum or to our new soccer stadium Weidner Field, so maybe we will try those together.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My dearest old friend Danielle who first modeled what pursuing your dreams looks like. My husband Drew for also following his small-business dreams and encouraging me through all my doubts. All my clients along the way who have trusted me to take their photos!

Website: https://www.bespokenphotography.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bespoken_photography/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bespokenphotography

Image Credits
Ashlee Kay Photography

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