Colleen has a beautiful spirit.
Come and read about her photography journey
and her life.
What made you love taking pictures?
The view from behind the lens is amazing. I feel like I can see every detail. In life the human eye misses so much and I feel like when I look through my lens I am able to catch all the little details that I otherwise may miss.
You LOVE textures. When did you become fascinated with them?
I first discovered textures on Flickr. I was fascinated on how much they could change the look of a picture but had no clue how to use them. I was a Photoshop virgin at the time.
What were some of your favorite textures you purchased before you started creating them?
I fell in love with Flypaper textures. I felt they were reasonably priced and gorgeous! I still think they are some of the best textures a photographer can buy.
Tell me about the European world tour you went on this Summer. How fun was that?
What was you favorite place you visited?
Oh my goodness the trip was amazing. We started in Barcelona where my oldest son Chris proposed to his fiance Kristen. Being able to witness such a beautiful time in their life was incredible!
I brought my youngest son Tyler with me to be my roomie. We all boarded a ship and spent 12 days touring through Italy, France and Spain. We had a blast!
I don't know that I had one favorite place, everywhere we went brought something new, exciting, different and wonderful to the plate.
I would have to say that visiting the Vatican was very emotional. I can't explain the emotion that sweeps over you when entering the Vatican. Rome is gorgeous and so full of history. I also fell in love with Capri, it was beautiful and picturesque.
I could of stayed in Sicily forever and lived off of the Canola's. Venice was crowded but stunning! Milan had the best shopping that I have ever seen but very very expensive.
I loved it all and can't wait to go back!
How do you handle the kids growing up?
I have enjoyed every phase of my children's lives. I have four adult sons that have provided my husband and I with so many wonderful memories. I admit that I really miss freezing my butt off on the bleachers at their football and baseball games.
When my baby boy played his last high school football game I don't know that I had ever cried so hard. I still can't walk past the high school football field without feeling sad. I miss those days. My second to oldest son just got married on Oct. 8th and I was so proud. I love the relationships that I have with my four adult sons and their fiance's/girlfriends.
We spend a lot of time together and enjoy each others company. Life evolves and I have had to learn that I can't stop time...I need to go with the flow.
Tell me about your babies.
My babies are growing up too fast. I have two little girls who are now 9 and 6 years old. They have been a joy in our lives!
We adopted our daughters from Korea and China. They have been such an incredible gift to our family. Raising girls is a bit different then raising boys and I am enjoying every minute of it!
If someone gave you $100,000 today and told you had to spend it on something FUN before the end of the day, what would you do with it?
We love our boat and spending the day on the water. I would buy a bigger boat. Although the boat I want is more then 100,000.00 so I would have to use it as a down payment.
Our boat provides us with family time and I would definitely want to spend the money on something family oriented.
You are going through a very difficult time right now watching your Mother become so sick and then dealing with her declining health. How do you stay sane?
This is a tough one. I don't know that I stay sane all the time. I do a lot of crying privately. I keep a lot of my feelings bottled up inside and feel a need to be strong for my family. We all have problems in life and I feel like no one needs to hear my problems. I find that creating textures is my sanity at times. It allows me to clear my mind and be creative.
I never thought in a million years that something like this would happen to our family. I thank God every day for the love that my Mom has surrounding her. At this point that is all we can do for my Mom.
What advice would you give to someone that is going to be a caretaker of a failing parent like yours? Have you learned anything you would want to share on this journey?
I would share with them that the journey will be hard and unbearable at times but there are also rewards to caring for a loved one. Knowing that my Mom is here in our home surrounded by the ones that she loves makes me smile.
I think my Mom has given our entire family the gift of compassion. I don't know that compassion is something that comes natural I feel like it is something that you learn. Even towards the end my Mom is still teaching life lessons.
You love to go shopping, right? What is your favorite store on the planet? If you had unlimited funds today (and today only) what stores would you race to?
I love shopping, how did you ever guess that!? My favorite store on the planet...hmnnnnn...I can't pick just one!
I love JCrew and Potterybarn. If I had unlimited funds I would head to Louis Vuitton. Man a girl could go crazy in that store! So are you offering me unlimited funds?
What has been your most effective way to market your textures?
Well a few things really. Facebook is a great tool for marketing. I also have been really lucky with my advertising partners. The Coffeeshop Blog and iheartfaces have been awesome to advertise on!
Giveaways are a great way to get your product out there. I also have some awesome photography friends that are always giving me shout outs!
Are you listening to anything special right now?
This brings back beautiful wedding memories.
What is the best thing about living in your state?
Since I live in IL now but I'm really a CA girl...this is a tough one to answer. I admit I don't always love it here and miss home. I guess I would have to say the best thing about IL is the change of seasons and downtown Chicago is pretty awesome!
Do your kids get tired of being in pictures?
My little one is always ready to strike a pose but my 9 year old tells me to kick rocks!!!
What are 2 of your goals for this year for your photography and your business?
I am always looking to improve my photography. I get so busy and often turn people away for photo shoots but this year I would like to do more photo shoots.
Although, with another wedding in the works I don't know how much time I will have.
I have been asked if I would sell some of my prints from Italy and so far I have not set up shop to do so. My goal is to set up an etsy store to sell a few prints.
Do you love when people send you examples of how they edit their pictures with your textures?
Oh, gosh, YES!!!!!!! I love, love, love it!!!
I really love featuring their pictures on my facebook fan page.
I get inspired when I look at the art others create with my textures.
What is your favorite thing to have for lunch?
You want the truth? McDonald's. I am a VIP at McDonald's in case you didn't know that...
Do you like to have friends over for dinner?
I would rather go out to dinner with friends then I can really enjoy my time with them rather then spending time cooking and cleaning.
Are you the room mom?
Tell me about your perfect sort of day.
Any day that involves having my kids around is a perfect day!!! Time goes by so fast, I am trying to savor every minute with my family.
What do you tell people when they ask you what they should wear to their shoot?
It all depends on where we are shooting. I really like natural pictures and I am not one that likes everyone to match. I like to see people be themselves and have their own identity.
When it involves a family I certainly don't want them to clash with one another but I don't think they all need to look alike either.
I also believe that the pictures don't belong to me they belong to the person in them...so I try to incorporate what the family wants.
What has been your favorite thing to shoot this year?
My son's engagement pictures in Italy and my other son's save the date session.
Tell me about the wedding. What was your favorite detail?
My son's wedding was incredible. Ashley was the most beautiful bride I have ever seen. Dancing with my son Justin to the song I used to sing to him as a baby was quite emotional. I felt like there was no one else in the room but us..did I mention there were over 300 people watching us?
I think the sweetest part was at the reception. The DJ dedicated the song "Stuck like Glue" to our little one (that's her favorite song) who was the flower girl.
The crowd of people formed a circle around our little one and she brought the moves to the floor. Each of her brothers, her daddy, me, the bride and the brides daddy took turns dancing in the circle with her. It was about the sweetest and most touching moment I have ever seen. I know she felt like a rock star!!!
Did you help them pick their photographer?
I did help them pick the photographer and she rocked!!!!
What are 2 of your favorite blogs to visit every day?
The Coffeeshop blog and many many wedding blogs...we are planning another wedding so I am always looking for ideas.
How do you stay so young Colleen? You look like you are 25. : ) I only know you are not since I think your son that got
married is older than that.
Ha!!! Well I would love to tell you that I eat right but since I just admitted my VIP membership to McDonald's there went that idea. I don't know...good genes maybe, lot's of moisturizer and botox!!!!
What is your favorite thing about fall?
Hands down I love to watch the leaves change colors. Fall is so pretty! I just love all the beautiful colors of fall! I love to cook and I seem to enjoy cooking more once fall comes and it gets a bit cooler outside.
Go and visit Colleen. She is a beautiful person with a beautiful soul. She will help you learn how to use textures. She will answer questions and be a friend. She is a blessing.