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Designer Spotlight: La Lune Creative

[designerSpotlightHeader designer_slug=”la-lune-creative” alt_bio=”http://www.prophoto.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/lalunethumb.png”]

Although they aren’t employees, Matt and Crystal have been a part of ProPhoto since our earliest days.  Both as a beta-tester and as the first member of our designer network, LaLune Creative has always been a great source of input for us (both inspiration and constructive criticism).  We’re happy to happy to call Matt and Crystal clients, partners, and friends.  Here is an interview we did with Matt…

(be sure to check out LaLune’s latest additions to our design store at the bottom of this post)

PP: First off, where you are located?

LL: Ruston, Louisiana.

PP: Tell us a bit about yourself and Crystal.

LL: Crystal and I are happily married and work as a team.  Crystal handles all the behind-the-scenes and business aspects of La Lune while also working as a cosmetologist at a local hair salon.  Right now our children are our two chihuahuas, but in the future we hope to adopt!

PP: What’s up with “La Lune” — what’s the inspiration for the name?

LL: A couple of years ago we decided that it would be best if we consolidated everything under one roof.  The name has significance to both me and Crystal.  As a child, the idea of exploring the stars and the ocean was a big dream of mine. I wanted to implement that somehow into our new brand. Crystal’s idea was to name it after one of our chihuahuas, Luna, which was funny because her name idea connected with the same idea I had!  Luna is just another word for the Moon, and so I thought, why not just do the French word for moon?  That’s how our brand came to be — La Lune is “The Moon” in French.  In the future, we plan to open a studio with salon under the same name. We’ll be an all-in-one creative design, photography, stylist and cosmetology service.

“I love clean, simple design. I believe design should be easy and accommodating to the user, while still being attractive and functional at the same time.”

PP: Tell us about your design experience.  How long have you been designing?  What schooling, if any, have you had?

LL: I have been interested in art since a young age.  In 2000, I started playing with Photoshop and have been hooked ever since!  I moved to Mobile, AL, for a while to study Graphic Design at the University of South Alabama , and then moved back home to study at Louisiana Tech University for two more years but had to give that up due to health reasons. Crystal has two years of design experience at Louisiana Tech and was majoring in Graphic Design as well, but then found a passion in styling and cosmetology instead.  I was a portrait and wedding photographer from 2006 to 2012.

PP: How would you describe your design style?

LL: Very minimal.  I love clean, simple design. I believe design should be easy and accommodating to the user, while still being attractive and functional at the same time. I also try to create designs that with a few simple changes can look pretty in any color or brand.

PP: When did you first start using ProPhoto, and what do you enjoy most about using ProPhoto as a designer?

LL: I can’t believe how long it’s been, but the very first custom client I ever did a design for was with ProPhoto 1.  When ProPhoto 2 came out, a client purchased it for me as payment for the design. From there I was sucked in!  I participated in all of ProPhoto’s beta testing and one day I called up Jared and asked what he thought about me creating designs and selling them as templates using the export feature they added into 2.  The export process originally was meant to be for backup purposes, but I saw some potential in it. We were the first ones to create and sell ProPhoto templates in our own store.  A few months later, Jared contacted me to beta test a design store they were working on and create some designs for them for the ProPhoto 3 release!

PP: So on a personal note, we’ve known you since the early ProPhoto days and know that you’ve struggled with health problems.  Can you talk to us a bit about that – how does this affect what you can and can’t do as a designer and photographer?

LL: Looking at me you wouldn’t know it, but I was born with a terminal disease called Cystic Fibrosis — a genetic lung disease which eventually clogs your airways and causes you to stop breathing.  There’s no cure, and there are several other health issues related to CF that come along with it. I have Arthritis, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (a circulatory problem), Osteoporosis, and Sinus Disease. I am also allergic to nearly all the antibiotics out there, which is unfortunate because with CF I have a low immune system.

I had to eventually quit shooting weddings because I was having major issues with pain standing for 8 hours at a time, and breathing became difficult carrying the equipment for that long.  Even hiring assistants wasn’t enough.  Eventually my health issues, shooting portraits, and doing design work began to overlap too much and both businesses began to suffer. That’s when we decided that I take a long break, and then I made the decision to stop shooting and concentrate on something I could do at home at my own pace and time.

At home, I can still do what I love and not be out in public as much. I’m not a shut-in, but I have to be careful — getting sick from anyone means 2-3 weeks of hospital stays/home care and having to take antibiotics (which I need to use as little as possible because of my allergies to them).  There are several advantages to being able to do what I love from home, and it’s been a blessing that the path that’s been set out for me has been very accommodating for my CF as I’ve grown into an adult.  On that note, I’m very, VERY blessed. I’m 28 years old and I’ve lived way past my life expectancy already. I can’t ask for anything other than what God has already given me, which is a great life and a happy wife!  I’m completely happy with that and wouldn’t change a thing!

PP: You’ve mentioned before that you have a bucket list going, right?  I remember you talking about being an extra in a movie recently as part of your list.  What was that like, and what other kinds of things do you have on there? (see here if you don’t know what a bucket list is…)

LL: With having CF and so many health problems, the last couple of years have really made me push to get some of my bucket list items squared away so I’ve been looking for opportunities to try new things from my list. Last year I got to be many different types of extras in the movie Olympus has Fallen. Being on screen for a movie was a big deal for me so that was fun! This year I got to be in a new horror movie coming out, called The Town That Dreaded Sundown as a Sheriff, that movie releases next year.

Let’s see, In September I’m getting to see a live acoustic show of one of my favorite bands, Yellowcard but the best part is I got VIP passes so I get to meet the guys. I completed a 5k mud run last year, that was REALLY hard for me to do, and I was pretty proud of myself for making it through to the end on that one.  The latest one I’ve been able to accomplish is that I got my Motorcycle license and Crystal bought me a Triumph Bonneville to ride on. It’s one of my favorite things to do now, and I love riding, you get a sense of freedom I feel like you can’t get anywhere else.

I have some bigger things to accomplish coming up, but I think we’re going to try to figure out a way to make it to DisneyWorld and Universal at some point, that will probably be the next big one for us. Some other things include getting to race around a car track, scuba diving, sailing, lots of traveling and some other personal accomplishments.

PP: I find that really inspiring. Gotta’ make myself one of those lists…

PP: So looking back on you time as a designer, is there a favorite design project that you’ve done, or a recognition that you’ve received that stands out?  Something you’re particularly proud of?

LL: Back when we were H2 Blogs instead of La Lune we were still taking custom design projects using ProPhoto. I had several favorite client designs, but I got some heavy recognition for a design I did for a video game company. They wanted someone to do a blog design for them in a contest, and so I created the design and built it using ProPhoto. In the end they decided not to go with the ProPhoto system (unfortunate for them!) but they loved the design. You can see the blog post about it here: http://www.lalunecreative.com/bioware-project-mass-effect/.  It really shows how diverse you can get with ProPhoto, I think.

PP: I remember that project, very cool.  You have officially gone public with your nerd-ness with that one.

LL: Totally ok with being a nerd, haha.

[designList designer_slug=”la-lune-creative” designs=”oxford|paris”]

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