On Photography, Weddings

Background Noise

0008Wedding Photography DonegalSometimes we have to take a step back, turn off the background noise and remember why we’re photographers in the first place.  To remind ourselves to shoot for ourselves, and create images which truly reflect the lives and events we’ve been asked to document.0002Wedding Photography Donegal0003Wedding Photography Donegal0004Wedding Photography Donegal0005Wedding Photography Donegal0006Wedding Photography Donegal0007Wedding Photography DonegalWe’re not that interested in what someone on a wedding publication tells us is popular, or cool this year, or shareable, or blog worthy. 0013Wedding Photography Donegal0014Wedding Photography Donegal0017Wedding Photography Donegal0019Wedding Photography Donegal0020Wedding Photography Donegal0021Wedding Photography Donegal0022Wedding Photography Donegal0023Wedding Photography Donegal0024Wedding Photography Donegal0025Wedding Photography DonegalIf we concern ourselves too much with all that stuff we’ll miss great, meaningful photographs like these, because we’ll be too busy setting up novelty shots of the bridal party eating ice cream while balancing on one leg on top of the walls at Grianan Fort or the bride and groom standing in the middle of a corn field holding a bunch of balloons.0035Wedding Photography Donegal0037Wedding Photography Donegal0038Wedding Photography Donegal0039Wedding Photography Donegal0041Wedding Photography Donegal0042Wedding Photography Donegal0043Wedding Photography Donegal0044Wedding Photography DonegalChristine and Eamonn’s wedding was both a wonderful celebration of their decision to tie the knot and a reunion with family and friends gathering in Donegal from far and near.0053Wedding Photography Donegal0054Wedding Photography Donegal0055Wedding Photography DonegalThey knew what was important to them and why they’d asked us to photograph their wedding.  They wanted us to capture a sense of place,  to create a reminder of Donegal to cherish when they return to Australia, and to focus on their nearest and dearest, rather than making it all about the bride and groom. 0056Wedding Photography Donegal0059Wedding Photography Donegal0065Wedding Photography Donegal0067Wedding Photography Donegal0068Wedding Photography DonegalShooting details and decor has its place.  We love to shoot the details, the brides in their vintage gowns of antique lace, the fancy plates and chalkboard signs.  But if those things become more of the focus than the actual people and love stories, we’ve completely missed the point.  We know that it’s important to remember that 10 years from now no one’s going to give a monkey’s if we got published or won an award if we missed shots like the one above while trying to get popular or be trendy.0071Wedding Photography Donegal0073Wedding Photography Donegal0077Wedding Photography Donegal

So to those couples planning their wedding photography we say:  ask yourself what’s important to you in having your wedding photographed.  Don’t let convention or fashion dictate. Think about what matters to you.


Show up, shut up and shoot

When Donna and Stephen asked us to photograph their wedding on Inch Island recently, they were clear that what they wanted was for us to capture the occasion with the minimum of fuss and formality.001Wedding Photography Donegal_0110002Wedding Photography Donegal_0111003Wedding Photography Donegal_0109Basically, that’s how we prefer to approach this kind of work anyway, so we had a great time watching the day unfold.004Wedding Photography Donegal_0108007Wedding Photography Donegal_0114008Wedding Photography Donegal_0115009Wedding Photography Donegal_0116010Wedding Photography Donegal_0117013Wedding Photography Donegal_0121014Wedding Photography Donegal_0122015Wedding Photography Donegal_0123016Wedding Photography Donegal_0124017Wedding Photography Donegal_0125018Wedding Photography Donegal_0126019Wedding Photography Donegal_0128021Wedding Photography Donegal_0130022Wedding Photography Donegal_0131025Wedding Photography Donegal_0127In most weddings, the more formal “Wedding Photographs” are really just a short pause in the midst of all the activity, not the centrepiece of the day. Short, sweet and move on.027Wedding Photography Donegal_0138028Wedding Photography Donegal_0136029Wedding Photography Donegal_0137032Wedding Photography Donegal_0147033Wedding Photography Donegal_0141034Wedding Photography Donegal_0142035Wedding Photography Donegal_0143So, a quick stop in Fahan, away from their guests for just a short while, then on to the Inishowen Gateway Hotel for the rest of the celebration.037Wedding Photography Donegal_0163038Wedding Photography Donegal_0148041Wedding Photography Donegal_0145042Wedding Photography Donegal_0149043Wedding Photography Donegal_0150044Wedding Photography Donegal_0153045Wedding Photography Donegal_0154047Wedding Photography Donegal_0156048Wedding Photography Donegal_0157049Wedding Photography Donegal_0158050Wedding Photography Donegal_0159051Wedding Photography Donegal_0161052Wedding Photography Donegal_0162We think it all worked out pretty well. Show up, shut up, and shoot.053Wedding Photography Donegal_0160


Over The Gap

The clocks have changed and apparently it’s officially Springtime here. The days are beginning to stretch and the light lingers little longer in the evenings. We closed out last years weddings in the company of Michelle and Stephen whose celebrations carried them through midnight and into a New Year and a new phase in their life together. Hair and Makeup expertly managed by “Powder ‘n’ Pout” from Carndonagh, in a Maggie Sottero gown from “Beautiful Day Bridal Cottage” in Greysteel, County Derry, Michelle set off to St Michael’s in Urris as the grey skies filled with rain over Mamore Gap. Over the years, we’ve photographed a lot of weddings here, in fair weather and foul. Urris, as anyone who knows the area will tell you, sees some fairly severe conditions at times and this day was no exception. Still the guests laughed and joked with us as they rushed from their cars through the downpour to the shelter of this remote church, dismissive of the wild and windy day. Roof beams creaking in the wind did nothing to distract from the musical accompaniment to the ceremony by Maeve Ward with the service conducted with his usual warmth and humour by Fr. Brady. The service over, we set off to visit the home of Stephen’s Grandmother which lies at the foot of the road leading thought the Gap of Mamore.Later, despite the weather and, specifically at the request of Michelle, we headed up to The Gap. The strip fields below are a well known landmark in this area but more importantly this is where Stephen and his family are from, this is their place and part of who they are. It’s an appropriate background, but not just photographically. As dusk fell we moved on to The Ballyliffin Hotel, the wedding formalities all but over aside from the speeches, the wedding celebrations continued as the New Year rolled around.

On Photography, Weddings

In The Deep Midwinter

The basic requirements for making a photograph are light and time. Those two elements, coupled with some sort sensitive surface be it digital or film based and you’re pretty much sorted. If however, as Shane & Kerry did, you set the date for December 30th, you can be pretty certain that light and time are going to be in fairly short supply here in Donegal. It has often been said, in the world of wedding planning, that the one element you can’t book in advance is the weather. Nonetheless, while the weather could have been kinder, it could certainly have been much worse, and Shane & Kerry seemed  pretty unconcerned. The low, cool, blue winter light contrasted sharply with the warmth of St. Mary’s Church. Venturing into the cold once more even as dusk fell, Shane and Kerry were still determined to see through their plans to have their wedding photographs include at least some outdoor settings. So with the last faint rays after the sun had set, with a little help from a video light, the floodlights on the Castle Bridge and maybe just a hint of the wedding car headlights we made one last quick stop before the reception.

Special Occasions, Weddings

Are You Dancing? Are You Asking?

Gary & Claire’s wedding, the first wedding in the newly refurbished Plaza Ballroom in the heart of the Main Street in Buncrana.wedding-photography-donegal_0004Over the years The Plaza Ballroom witnessed its share of romance. Saturday night dances probably saw the beginning of many relationships with young couples who would go on to marry after a first meeting under the ballroom lights.wedding-photography-donegal_0006 The small hall opened in 1944, the Main Ballroom on July 12th 1958 and throughout the 60’s and 70’s The Plaza was at its peak.wedding-photography-donegal_0007 Later years saw the Dance Halls up and down the country wane in their popularity, and lights of  The Plaza grew dim. Saturday night dancing was replaced by Sunday night Bingo until that too came to and end in the 90’s.wedding-photography-donegal_0008 Over the years the building had fallen into disrepair, and the black & white pictures of the dance goers in their Saturday night outfits which lined the walls faded into memory.wedding-photography-donegal_0009 The Sunday morning display of pictures in the little shop across the street, where couples or friends could buy a copy of their photographs from the night before, ended too.wedding-photography-donegal_0010b wedding-photography-donegal_0011 A community led effort in recent years has seen The Plaza come to life again and once more the crowds are drawn in on the weekend for bands, plays and dancing.wedding-photography-donegal_0012 wedding-photography-donegal_0013 The celebration of Gary & Claire’s marriage, with catering by The Lily Rose, was the first wedding reception to be held here in maybe 40 years. The couple themselves painstakingly crafted the table favours and the decorations.wedding-photography-donegal_0033wedding-photography-donegal_0034wedding-photography-donegal_0035A new era of Saturday night dancers, as we pay our little homage to the tradition of ‘having your picture taken’ at The Plaza.wedding-photography-donegal_0032wedding-photography-donegal_0031wedding-photography-donegal_0030wedding-photography-donegal_0029wedding-photography-donegal_0028wedding-photography-donegal_0024wedding-photography-donegal_0014 wedding-photography-donegal_0015 wedding-photography-donegal_0016wedding-photography-donegal_0017 Gary & Claire with Ursula, who helps manage The Plaza today as it comes back to life.wedding-photography-donegal_0018So, the lights have come back on and once again the dance floor in the Plaza fills with people.wedding-photography-donegal_0019 wedding-photography-donegal_0020 wedding-photography-donegal_0022 wedding-photography-donegal_0023


Far From Any Road

Wedding photography by Memory FactoryMary & Leo recently made the long trip back home from Australia to Donegal for their wedding in the spectacular setting of Letterkenny CathedralWedding photography by Memory FactoryUsually separated from their families by twelve thousand miles or more, their day started from the place they still think of as homeWedding photography by Memory FactorySet on a hill, high above the hustle and bustle of the town, The Cathedral offers a calm, quiet haven from the world outsideWedding photography by Memory FactoryWedding photography by Memory FactoryWedding photography by Memory FactoryWedding photography by Memory FactoryWhile weddings are undeniably serious ceremonies, there should always be a place for a little levity and humour to calm any frayed nervesWedding photography by Memory FactoryWedding photography by Memory FactoryWedding photography by Memory FactoryWedding photography by Memory FactoryWedding photography by Memory FactoryPhotographers seem to get younger every dayWedding photography by Memory FactoryWedding photography by Memory FactoryCeremony and formalities almost all done the wedding moved on to Castlegrove House, just a few miles from the townWedding photography by Memory FactoryWedding photography by Memory FactoryWedding photography by Memory FactoryWinding down the laneway, far from any road, family and friends take their ease in the tranquility and privacy that Castlegrove offersWedding photography by Memory FactoryWedding photography by Memory FactoryWedding photography by Memory FactoryWedding photography by Memory FactoryWedding photography by Memory FactoryWeddings like this one are not easily organised from the other side of the world, the logistics are challenging to say the least. They are too, for us, a reminder of how happy we are when we are given the opportunity to share in them and contribute what we can to making them memorableWedding photography by Memory FactoryWedding photography by Memory FactoryDonegal Wedding Photography by Memory FactoryDonegal Wedding Photography by Memory FactoryDonegal Wedding Photography by Memory FactoryDonegal Wedding Photography by Memory Factory



We recently had the privilege of photographing a particularly lovely wedding day.  One with only a select number of guests, held in one of Ireland’s finest hotels.  It rained a bit, but not too much, the sun came out, but not for long, it was a little bit special.

A wedding at Solis Lough Eske Castle

A wedding at Solis Lough Eske Castle

A wedding at Solis Lough Eske Castle

But we won’t be sharing photographs of the bride getting her hair styled, or her father getting a first glimpse of the bride in her finery, or the groom nervously checking his speech, or their first kiss as husband and wife…….Because we understand that sometimes our clients want to keep these intimate moments within their intimate sphere.

A wedding at Solis Lough Eske Castle

A wedding at Solis Lough Eske Castle

A wedding at Solis Lough Eske Castle

This couple were very particular about every detail of their wedding day (not picky, not control freaky just particular), and in particular they knew that they wanted to share this day only with their nearest and dearest.

A wedding at Solis Lough Eske Castle

A wedding at Solis Lough Eske Castle

A wedding at Solis Lough Eske Castle

So their request that their photographs remain private was entirely in keeping with the tone of the day

Portrait Photography, Special Occasions

Coming Home

Perhaps more than most countries, Ireland has a history of emigration. Stretching back over the centuries, whether out of economic necessity or a sense of adventure, Ireland’s people have found themselves in the furthest corners of the globe. Still, it seems however far they travel, or for however long, this place remains “home” in the minds of the diaspora.

That feeling of home, of being at home in a place, of being of that place, recently brought baby Oliver back ‘home’ from Australia to be christened at St Columb’s Cathedral in Derry. In the midst of his family and in a place they felt to be a part of them. Occasions such as this can be tinged with a little sadness too, families being only briefly reunited before once again going their separate ways. We were delighted to be able to photograph the event and make these pictures which he and his family will always have to remember this day and this place.

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Portrait Photography, Weddings

Double Vision

Over the years we’ve photographed a lot of weddings and, every so often we’ll meet the couples we’ve worked with in the past again, as their families grow. It doesn’t seem so long ago that photographed Jo & Michael’s wedding in London, but here they are again. This time their family has grown more quickly than is usually the case, and they came in to the studio the other day with Sarah, Sylvia and a very happy Granny.

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On Photography

Past, Present, Future and Forgotten Passwords

Time will never stand still and those moments that bring us such joy become memories in an instant. To capture such a moment and record it forever is truly monumental.

Joshua Atticks

We’re all familiar with the idea that to have a photograph of something helps us maintain a feeling of connection with the person or thing pictured. Since the earliest days of photography, this idea that we can ‘hold on’ to people or a thing now passed has been one of the primary motivations behind the taking or making of photographs. Photography though, from a technical point at least is in a constant state of change. From the earliest Daguerrotypes to Wet Plate Collodion to Silver-based Film and now to digital capture, the machinery has evolved over time. At the heart of the matter though, the wish to preserve images remains. In some minds perhaps, the photographic print or the wedding album seems out-dated, even unnecessary. Today we can store our images “In the Cloud”, we can carry them with us on our ‘phones or tablet, send them by email, post them on Facebook or distribute and share them in a dozen ways or more. The thing is though, that all these things will change. The value in a properly made photographic print you can hold in your hand or put on your wall however, remains constant. We all know we can trust these things to stand the test of time quite simply because we have seen the evidence, in our parents and grandparents photographs which hang in our homes without any device being needed to access them, no password required.


The Wedding Portrait of Doris & Michael Bradley : 1926