It is such an honor to feature Judy Beedle, creator of Judy Beedle Photography, today. From her incredible photos that capture the most poignant, funny, sad, memorable moments in life and tell exceptionally compelling stories to her passion for living life to the fullest and following her dreams, Judy is an endless source of inspiration. This funny, warm, generous, colorful, insanely talented soul started her own business and has already made some life long dreams come true, including finishing her first book.
Recently, I had an opportunity to talk to Judy about her new book, what taking the leap and starting a new business has been like and what happens when you give yourself one month to pursue a dream.
Please allow me to introduce, Judy Beedle.
TST: Judy, I think it's fantastic that you just completed your first book. Tell us about it and what made you decide to do it now?
JB: Well, my book is called Living Against The Grain... and it's look inside 2 Gluten-free bakeries. I actually just found about this challenge this year. The book project is called the Solo Photo Book in a Month Challenge (similar to the challenge for novelists to write a book in a month), or SoFoBoMo. This is the link http://www.sofobomo.org/2009/.
Anyway, I decided to do it now because the challenge happens from May 1 to June 31 (you pick which 31 days in that time frame you want to do the challenge). I started May 15, and ended Monday June 15. Part of why this challenge spoke to me was the fact that it had to be done, start to finish in a month - as in, all the shooting, editing, and layout done in a month. So, it's not a huge commitment when you think of it that way. Besides, what's a month out of your life? I kind of feel like I can try anything for a month. Give yourself a month to do something you've always wanted to do and you'll find a way to make it happen!
TST: What do you feel you accomplished in completing this challenge?
JB: I accomplished something I have always wanted to do - make a book of my photos! I also got to tell someone's story, which is what I love so much about photography. Part of the challenge requires that all images be taken during the 31 day stretch, so I had to find a topic and I decided I needed to make myself step out of my comfort zone and put myself into someone else's territory. It would have been too easy to do more documenting of my life, my family, my friends. But I wanted to be challenged and hopefully make something that I would want to show to others, and maybe be able to use it as a way to get more work. I also learned how to layout a book, which I have been meaning to learn how to do for some time now. I used Blurb, which was very easy and user friendly.
Personal projects are a great way to stay motivated and to make yourself grow, creatively. This was a perfect project for that kind of thing! I am not sure I would have had enough discipline to just start photographing in bakeries otherwise, unless I was being sent on assignment. And being able to tell the business owners about the project was a great sell. For one, they know I would make a book in the end, they might get some photos of their business and maybe some free promotion. So, it worked out for all of us, I think. Now that I've taken a project like that, I know I can do it and am actually looking forward to the next project, whether it's a book or something else. I atually feel like this whole thing was quite a growing experience for me, and somehow I'm literally walking away with more confidence than I had a month ago! There is nothing like the sense of accomplishment to motivate you.
TST: What was hard about doing this project?
JB: What was hard about it was dealing with some technical glitches (I had a few major camera glitches and actually ended up returning my brand new camera). And I actually put more time into than I anticipated. But really, the toughest part was probably all the decisions. You can let yourself just go on & on with book layout and all the options. Plus, I took 532 images and only needed 35. Ha! But it really wasn't that bad because I edited as I went along and knew which images I would definitely want in the book before I started laying anything out.
JB: I honestly think I have never felt more fulfilled in my life than I have these last few months, so that validates to me that I have made the right decision and I just need to keep at it. Even when the money situation feels scary or I'm working all day on a Saturday, I'm still loving what I do and excited to see where it takes me. I will say that at times there is something scary about putting yourself so out there, sharing so much of yourself with others and opening yourself up for perhaps rejection or criticism. I go to several networking events now, and that can sometimes be daunting. You just hope that you'll meet nice people and something will come of it. There are times I walk away empty-handed and drained and other times when I walk away feeling jazzed up and inspired. Still, I love what I do so I am willing to put in the work :)
To learn more about this fabulous photographer, please visit Judy Beedle Photography, check out her cool blog, Live Through the Lens and don't forget to pick up a copy of, Living Against the Grain. Thank you so much for being here, Judy. Please keep creating gorgeous work!