“Every day I work on trusting the universe, trusting myself, and continuing to follow my intuition.”
Picture this: a room in warm tones. A copper lamp sitting on top of a darkly varnished bookcase. A mirror, reflecting a large hamsa tapestry illuminated by fairy lights and a single candle’s flame on the windowsill. This is Jules’ yoga room. She tells me about her practice, “It has turned into this creative outlet – like a dance for me – I quiet my mind and open up to the creativity.”
A freelance photographer, Jules says yoga is one of the things that inspires her most. She has learned over time that in order to excel in her freelance photography business she needs to prioritize her well-being. “Every day I work on trusting the universe, trusting myself, and continuing to follow my intuition,” she tells me. “When I’m being genuine and true to myself, it shows organically in my work.”
“My biggest goal when I shoot portrait sessions, weddings or influencers is to make my subject feel genuinely beautiful as if all of their insecurities have subsided for this brief period of time. I want them to feel confident and connected with themselves,” she explains. As Jules speaks, I can’t help but think, “If you can do that, I could use a personal photoshoot most days of the week.”
Jules says she tries not to focus on success or failure. “My yoga practice has taught me so much about being present in the current moment—I try to bring that into my photography as well.” She’s been aspiring towards this mindset for the past few years and describes it as a constant work in progress. Before discovering her love for yoga, Jules stumbled upon her passion for photography in her early college years. “I realized I was happiest when I was creating,” she recalls.
During college, Jules met her close friend, Courtney. They began encouraging each other to connect, create, and build their dreams. Courtney, who at the time was a novice blogger, was a huge support to Jules. “We got creative together and didn’t care about messing up or failing – it was all part of the learning process,” Jules says. Years later, their weekly shoots exploring their small college town have evolved into passions more intense than either could have anticipated. Courtney now lives in NYC and has her own successful blog, Mimosas & Manhattan. “Court makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside,” Jules says. “Everyone deserves a supportive friend like that.”
After graduating with a degree in photojournalism in 2015, Jules moved to Chicago to pursue the unknown. She was unsure of where this next chapter would take her and describes herself at that time as directionless. To dig herself out of feeling lost, she started to work on herself. That’s when she dove headfirst into yoga.
Jules followed the same path toward healing that I followed in my own life. “Know yourself the best out of anyone,” she told me. “Organize your thoughts and check in with what you truly want.”
Yoga is Jules’ method. I meditate. When I’m freaking out or dealing with stress and insecurity, I find my sweet spot under my down comforter and listen to my inner voice. It’s crazy how disconnected we can get from that little voice of truth. But if you quiet your life down regularly, it will emerge from the storm clouds like the sun…shining its light on that thing you need most.
Jules’ favorite photography trip to date was traveling to Finland as part of a freelance gig with Zapwater Communications last April. There, she documented the beautiful city of Helsinki and then traveled north to Lapland. “The experience was absolutely incredible, and one I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” she says. Jules loved diving into the nature, landscape, and culture. “The people were very laid-back. I really connected with the pace of the Finnish lifestyle,” she says with a laugh.
While exploring Helsinki, Jules shot one of her favorite photographs to date. A man was walking by an alleyway with a little boy on his shoulders the moment she snapped a photo of the Helsinki Cathedral. “It’s like this brief snapshot into someone else’s life, but it tells you a whole story in that frozen moment,” she says. Jules loves capturing genuine human behavior intertwined with nature’s landscape.
I, like Jules, have discovered the real challenge is creating balance. Maintaining that line between wanting to prove yourself and taking time to re-center is tricky. But honestly, it’s the only way. “It’s impossible to be successful if you’re not taking care of yourself,” Jules encourages, as I nod in complete agreement. Foster a healthy lifestyle and listen to your passion.
“And connect with people and this planet!” Jules exclaims. Her favorite part of her work is taking stress off of people she photographs. “Having your photo taken can be super intimidating. Even I don’t particularly enjoy it,” she admits. Jules has fostered warmth and genuineness in her demeanor. Because of this, her subjects feel – her subjects know – that they’re in a judgement-free zone. “I want to give people a space to feel freely themselves and at ease.”
She is very good at that. I felt so relaxed and renewed after my phone conversation with Jules that despite this being our first conversation (via telephone no less), I offered her a place to crash if she ever felt like coming to Washington, DC – the place I call home. At first I was surprised with myself, but then I realized it was actually so clear. When we surround ourselves with people who choose to courageously start and continue to follow their dreams, we do it too.
And honestly, deciding you want to listen to that passion, that little inner voice…it’s hard. It’s our human tendency to avoid that kind of stuff. We’re scared. But giving your voice a quiet place to talk helps us realize what we really want. It could be changing careers, going back to school, starting fresh, or having that difficult conversation. We often experience a great sense of relief after pausing to create space for that gut feeling.
So if we decide we’re committed to trying this out, how do we start? How do we navigate through the fog of the day-to-day…which is more often than not, pretty damn intense? Jules tells me when she needs a spark, “I get outside and put my feet in the grass. I take a small trip. I take a drive. I put on a song and my brain resets and refocuses, and I feel inspired.”
I challenge you today to find your safe place and listen to those thoughts which have been trying to get your attention. That idea you’ve been thinking about or maybe avoiding. Then, find your community and start experimenting with what you’ve heard. Whether the result is what you had hoped for or not…it doesn’t really matter. There is no right road. No bad or good. No right or wrong way to get there. If you choose to start your walk, all paths lead to your true self.
JULES' 3 FAVORITE THINGS
RAINBOW KITTEN SURPRISE
An indie rock band with a folksy singer and a techno beat. This genre-bending musical group is true to its name, as every song has a different and surprising sound.
Jules’ favorite yoga pose. It’s tough, she tells me. But once you achieve the pose, it really stretches your hips.
“Wherever You Go, There You Are” - by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
This book brings meditation and mindfulness practice into our everyday lives in a realistic way. His words are simple, but the message is life-changing.
DON'T MISS THE HYPE
Sign up to receive our weekly emails on all things NOVAA & Hype Girl. We totally respect your inbox, so don't worry babe, your email is safe with us.