Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Photographer Interview with Colleen Mooney of Chasing Dreams Photography

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 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.


Tracy P. said...

This is fabulous. I want to go to Italy now. (Still.) Please remind me you miss freezing your butt off on the baseball bleachers next May, Colleen!! VIP at McDonald's, rather go out to dinner with are my kind of gal! Beautiful work, and more awesome questions, Becky!!

Teachinfourth said...

I can understand her feelings about her mom being sick and having to deal with everything that comes with that. Not a pleasant thing to deal for her photography textures? Beautiful additions to her images. I never use textures myself, but if I did, hers seem like an excellent choice.

MarshaMarshaMarsha said...

such gorgeous textures and i love have they transform the flowers to more than just an object, but into art.

colleen, i think it is pretty wonderful that you raised your sons and adopted as well. what a blessing!!!

Formerly known as Frau said...

Great interview...her pictures are amazing the textures make all the difference....holy cow her Italy pictures wow! gorgeous !

He & Me + 3 said...

Just beautiful. I adore her little girls and the textures on her pictures. BEE-U-T-FUL!

Anita Johnson said...

Hey, another inspiring interview, thanks.

Katie said...

I love all these photos!! And those textures are amazing!

Skeller said...

I do so love your interviews! Colleen's images, textures and travels are all as beautiful as her heart clearly is.

Jennifer @ Studio JRU said...

Oh wow... Colleen's images are amazing! I love how she said the human eye misses so much and through the lens you can catch those details you might otherwise miss. Exactly... I couldn't agree with that more! The textures are beautiful and so much fun. Makes me want to play and start using some! Beautiful work. Wonderful interview!

Sue said...

Her photos are wonderfully artistic and SO appealing. I just love the colors and textures.


Colleen said...

This was so beautiful, both the words and images! I was just amazed by the sheer beauty she captures but even more, buy her generous and beautiful outlook and spirit!! Thank you so much for sharing!!

Adrienne in Ohio said...

I still haven't mastered using textures, but her before and afters make me really want to try harder. This was another lovely interview, Becky!

patty said...

enjoyed that interview!! love the photos, especially w the little in an full face laugh! precious joy!! :)

Michelle R Photography said...

Hooray for featuring Colleen - a dear friend of mine!!! She has a heart of gold!!!

Great interview!!!

p.s. Chasing Dreams textures rock! ;)

photowannabe said...

Delightful interview with a true artist. I love her slant on life and how she see's it through the camera's lens.
Thanks for sharing with us.

marc said...

Great interview! I think she should definitely set up her Etsy shop (especially for the florals).

Mrs4444 said...

I agree with Marc--The florals are my favorites (although her daughters are truly beautiful).

I'd love to know the name of the song she sang to her son when he was little, please.

LifeMosaic said...

Wow.......what an awesome interview, Beckster!! Reading that interview interspersed with all those gorgeous photos of Colleen's over the years really just made me think of how truly blessed she really is....
I know Colleen personally and I can attest...she LOVES to shop and she DOES look 25...its VERY annoying, actually :)!!

There is no doubt her textures are just fabulous and coupled with her gift for photography there's really no limit to her business success.

However, it is the love that Colleen has for her children that always strikes me the most. THere is not a moment in any one of her children's lives that she does not celebrate and find the beauty in. Being an amazing Mom is one of the greatest gifts anyone can be...and I know that of all her successes, it is being Mom to each of those children that brings her the greatest joy (yep, even more than Louis Vuitton could ever give her!)
Gorgeous work, Colleen...and great delivery, Beck!
Big Hugs,

Becca said...

What beautiful pictures!! I love them all :-)

the Lola Letters said...

Oh how I loved this interview! What a talent. So many great images, it would be impossible to choose a favorite :)

Busy Bee Suz said...

What a great interview...I love love love her photos. And those girls; adorable. Going to visit her site!!

TechnoBabe said...

Your interviews keep getting better and better. Amazing. I liked so many of her sample photos. And how fun to find out about her. My brother and sister-in-law just adopted a two year old girl from China and they are thrilled with her adjustment and how happy she is.

Stillmary said...

What an incredible post. And the pictures are beyond description. I am truly awed. Loved it - beginning to end!

Tiffany said...

Where to start....absolutely FABULOUS! Thank you for sharing such an amazing talent.


Jen said...

Great interview! Her photos are fabulous!

Unknown Mami said...

The girls are beautiful. Wonderful photography, truly inspiring.

lifebythecreek said...

I love texture. I've loved it for the past couple of years, after finally learning how to apply it. And Colleen's textures are some of my all-time favorites. The tones, the way they look on the photo, the seamless way that you can blend them so that the totally change the image while retaining all of the good points; priceless. When I saw the "Mishmosh" before and after edit, I thnk I nearly passed out. DO speical and incredible! I love reading about the newest addition to your fam, as well as those who've been there for a while. It will get easier, and in the meantime, you're deveooping some great social skill in Jack. well done1

My Photographic Eye by Irela said...

What amazing work. I have followed Chasing Dreams now for a while and she is absolutely inspiring. Thank you for sharing and I look forward to seeing more of your beautiful work.