Behind the scenes… by TaraD

Summer is here and I hate to say it but the kids are almost back to school!

Cailean starts “big school” at the end of this month and I am excited for him and for me! I won’t know what to do with myself with all the free time that I will have to edit lol!

Has your summer been full of great moments or has it just whizzed by? 🙂 We have had the busiest wedding season ever, so to balance I get up at 5am edit for a few hours while everyone is still sleeping and then enjoy as much of the day as I can with my family before heading back to the desk. It is a fantastic perk of having your own business is that you may work late into the night or early in the morning but you have the freedom to do so and not miss out on life. When the sun is shining it is VERY hard to sit at a computer for the day!

What else has been happening…. Well some of you mums out there have been asking about my Letters to Cailean project. It is still in progress, I am just scribbling letters in notebooks to later post and publish into a book for Cailean. He has had quite an eventful year this year! He has done more travelling, learnt tons of life skills, made new friends and most importantly had fun!

We also lost an important man in our lives this year which was a difficult time and taught Cailean and myself a lot. I know I am drawn to photography because I capture moments and record them forever. It is like being an historian. There is nothing that makes you realise that more than when you are watching someone pass away and thinking back and looking at photographs of happier times.

On a much happier note, in the last two weeks we have also gained some very unexpected new additions “Strong” and “Coffee” to the household.

Cailean named them and it might give you an insight to our lives when even our 5 year old knows our addiction lol..







So when we have couples coming to visit to discuss their wedding plans, they also get to see the “farm” which now includes: a husky and her two pups, hens, a rooster, bees, cats and fish (oh we got an extra one of those too called Nessie after being in Scotland lol).

I get asked so often how I have time for all this chaos, it is slightly organised chaos and it seems to work. It makes our family smile and that’s all that matters. We don’t have a tv (which takes up an awful lot of hours in the day if you think about it!) as we decided that all that was ever on was depressing nonsense! So our time is spent working (which doesn’t feel like work when it is something that you enjoy), having fun and making our house a home.

As the sun is beaming through the window calling me to go outside and the rooster is calling for his breakfast! I will leave you with the thought that “Today is a day that will never come again, so make it a great one!”

Lots of love

Tara xx

back to school pictures

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How do we make each wedding unique? by TaraD

Often we get asked how do we make each wedding different. Well it’s quite easy really 🙂 We take inspiration from our couples, the locations that they have chosen and their personalities.

We spend a lot of time before the wedding chatting to our couples to get to know them. Sometimes this is at our home, in a pub or restaurant or sometimes at while the kids are having a play date. Our style is very informal, our approach is also the same. The more relaxed a couple are around us the more fun we can have on their wedding day.

Alan and Courtney were married last week at the beautiful Ballyseede Castle in Tralee. The day before their wedding they called to our home and we drank coffee, Courtney played a game of catch the hens and our rooster “Lucky”. Then while Alan and myself chatted about how they got to know each other, Courtney popped on a bee suit and went to investigate the bee hive with Dave. The whole afternoon was very enjoyable and relaxed and we even managed to fit in a few photos too!

This meant that when we arrived to photograph the wedding the next day, we had stories to talk about to the rest of the family and Courtney and Alan were completely at ease with us. We had also found out that Courtney loves comics, while Alan tests video games for a living and this is how we came up with the idea for these images.

We LOVE what we do (I am sure you can tell that from our images) and we also want to challenge our creative minds on every single shoot so we don’t get bored! The creative mind needs to be challenged constantly! It is the blessing and curse of any artist!

So if you hire us, expect to LAUGH a lot, CRY a little (as it does get emotional) and most IMPORTANTLY have lots and lots of FUN!!!!

Wedding photo’s shouldn’t be boring, they should tell a story about you and your families for generations to come.

Make it the best story ever! 🙂

Bride reading a comic, groom playing game boy
Funny Wedding image, Tara Donoghue Photography







To see more from Courtney and Alan’s amazing wedding check out their slideshow here:




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Celebrating the men in our lives by TaraD

This weekend we are celebrating the men in our lives.

The one’s who have put plaster’s on scraped knees, built tree houses, cooked dinners, taught skills from tying shoe laces to writing your name. The men who are proud of their children when they achieve a new goal no matter how big or small that goal is.

The men who are also there to pick us up when we fall.







I am going to share something personal here…

Last week we paid tribute to my grandad and at his funeral I was given some photographs of my father who passed away when I was a child. It is a school photograph so he is roughly the same age as our son Cailean is now and the first thing I thought of is ‘that looks like Cailean’.
It gave a sense of comfort holding a piece of paper with an image printed on it from what must be 55 or more years ago. I wonder did the person taking that picture then realise how precious and valuable that image would be some 50 plus years later? It is an image that in another 10 years time I will show to Cailean and in 20 years time who knows he may show his son or daughter.








I know it isn’t as easy for others to photograph their families and capture those magic moments (otherwise I would be out of business a long time ago lol!). I often get asked by people, “how can I stop them being blurred, under/over exposed” etc and I suggest that they come on one of our workshops to learn how to shoot like a pro lol.

But for those of you who do want a quick and fun selection of images to capture the love between father and child, I want to offer something to you…

Daddy and me mini sessions will be available throughout the months of June and July at a massively reduced fee of €129 (usually €200). As this is about giving back and not about making money (we are only covering our time) 20% of every shoot will also be going to the fantastic CUH charity.  We have been working with this charity recently and I can tell you that it is a fantastic service offering “a wide range of life changing and life saving equipment and services for patients attending Cork University Hospital”.
Both Dave and myself are happy to support in any way we can and we hope that our mini sessions can help raise some much needed funds for the charity.
Daddy and me






To book a shoot contact us on: 085 1555060 or 085 1196528
To buy a gift voucher for that special man click here… 

Finally to the men in my life who have influenced who I am today, my dad and my grandad I miss you today and always.

To my own husband, Dave who doesn’t always get enough praise for what he does day in and day out. Thank  you I couldn’t do it without you!

To all the dad’s today, we thank you, we love you and wish you a very Happy Father’s Day….. x

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Rain gives us life! by TaraD

Boy running in the rain

Ok so I think we are all getting a little frustrated with the Irish weather. It’s april and we really are having four seasons in one day!

Snow in the morning, flooding in the afternoon, a blast of sunshine and even storms brewing at night.
The kids want to get out to play, the adults want to get out for a walk or do some jobs in the garden instead it is a daily challenge to get from the house to the car without getting saturated!!!
It brings everyone’s mood down, makes us all feel a bit rubbish unless of course you are a 4.5 year old!

As many of you might have realised, I learn a lot from my son. Looking at the world through a child’s eyes is an art we as adults loose.

Let’s look at this crazy weather from a child’s perspective…
Anytime that we look out and it’s raining, Cailean says it’s ok “Rain gives us life”. It’s that simple!
So instead of complaining and feeling sorry that we aren’t sitting on a beach right now, I will look at the world through my son’s eyes. Yes Cailean rain does give us life and our grass wouldn’t grow as easily as it does in a drier climate. Our country quite simply wouldn’t be as beautiful as it is if it didn’t rain so much! So instead of complaining, I will pass on another little piece of wisdom I once heard. “There is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes!” So lets throw on our wellies and waterproofs and make every day count!

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Letters to Cailean, “Stay you”… by TaraD

I have always encouraged you to draw outside the lines, to think outside the box and nurture the creative streak that you have. This means that others may find you “different” and you ALWAYS have to remember that being different is AMAZING! The most interesting people I know are “different”.
What fun is it to follow the herd? It’s boring spending your life in others shadows. So continue to “invent” ways to travel to space, tools to make your day easier, robots to clean your room (I would love if you could organise that LOL). All the inventions that you tell me about daily are amazing for your age. I hope you always have that passion of figuring out how to make the impossible possible. I still try it at 32, constantly questioning but “What if?”
Sometimes it works and I get to try amazing things and other times it doesn’t and I learn from those experiences.
You are an incredibly strong individual. You are making your way in this challenging world and I can already see you developing some pretty smart coping mechanisms in dealing with your peers who are questioning where you “fit in”.
Stay you little man and always remember, “when you follow the herd, you are bound to step in sh*t!” 🙂

Love mum xxxx12832308_10156627771180261_1842384485803187863_n

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Letters To Cailean – Dress up! by TaraD

So I have well and truly fallen off the wagon! These letters have been scribbled in my notebook but haven’t made it to the blog as I have just been too busy!

I have seen many social media posts where January has been regarded as a practice month for new years resolutions, with many beginning again in February.
So with that in mind I wont beat myself up but get on with it and start getting back on track!

For those of you who have also let the new years resolution slip, don’t give up lets start again.

“Dressing up!”
An average day in our office begins with two cups of coffee each and a long list of tasks to get through. Our to do list never gets much shorter, but I often reassure myself that if it was to get shorter that would mean that work would be quieter and there would be less to do, this in turn would probably make me panic lol. So its good to have a constant “To Do” list
We often get distracted from this list and the days plan of action as phone calls an emails can mean our priorities change.

As many of you know working from home of course has its advantages and disadvantages. One advantage being when your child is sick, it is easier to juggle looking after your baba and work. Whereas if you were tied down to set hours in a specific workplace you have to organize a babysitter or phone in sick yourself.

Cailean was sick and off school for a week and he was popping into and out of the office between naps. This particular day both Dave and myself were dealing with a difficult task, the stress levels were increasing and Cailean popped into the office with some accessories on. He was wearing high heels, bracelets and a necklace and said “Look mum I’m you!”
Straight away the mood was lightened and everything was quickly put into perspective. Our son was obviously on the mend (which is all any parent cares about) and there will always be days when work may be more of a challenge but it isn’t worth getting stressed over!!! J
Cailean then decided to dress up as his dad which was even more hilarious (See pics).
I am sure every parent is blown away by their children daily but our little one really does impact on our lives in such a huge way. We are so blessed to have him!

Dear Cailean,

I love those random memories that make me smile, no matter what is going on in my life right now.

Love mum x

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Meet the latest addition to the family! by TaraD


Paddington bear at Paddington Station

This is Paddy Bear, he is a close relation of ‘Paddington bear’ and the latest edition to our ever expanding household who we found while in London last week 🙂
‘Paddy’ has been tormenting the household by getting up to all sorts in the middle of the night and Cailean is absolutely loving it! So how did this mad notion come about? Well Dave and myself are almost catching ourselves on the way back this month with the most manic January we have ever had!

In the last ten days, we have exhibited for 3 days at 2 separate wedding fairs in 2 different counties, taught 5 inspiringly individual and unique groups, flown to London and back to met two lovely couples (who have since booked us to shoot their weddings next year) and then collectively attended almost 60 hrs of a mix of many different lectures and training seminars (yes even we need to train too) at the swpp convention 2016 which was held at the Hilton metropole, Edgware rd, London.

We have met with some of ‘thee best photographers in the world’, picked their brains and been motivated and inspired by them (Thank you!).
Made time to drop in and surprise my grandad twice and all this meant we got to see Cailean very little!

So as any parent knows that when you are away from your child for a few days your heart literally aches and we missed him SO much! So we had to figure out what on earth could we bring back from our trip and with help from my aunt and grandad here is Paddy, the latest addition to the family 🙂 (Yes we should patent it and market the idea!).

All this craziness has meant that my new years resolution (Letters to Cailean project), is a little shorter this week, but here goes…

Dear Cailean,

We are impressed by your independence daily and we love that you have such amazing dreams and goals. One day you want to be a pilot and fly us around the world, (I can make the coffee and Dad can make the food was your latest idea). We wouldn’t mind that at all! 🙂
The next day you are a pretending to be a firefighter or out being a farmer counting sheep with our neighbour. If all we can teach you is to follow your dreams and be whatever you want to be, then we will be happy. Work takes up an awful lot of our lives so it’s important to make it something that you love.

“Dream big, work hard, stay focused and surround yourself with good people”.

Love mum x

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Letters to Cailean week 2 by TaraD

So as we are settling into the new year, Christmas has become a distant memory for most!

Here is a shot of Cailean as a shepherd in his first school play!

January has been a busy time of planning and meetings for us as so many couples got engaged over the holidays!

We are preparing for wedding fairs over the next few weeks (Silversprings, Cork this week and the INEC next week) and our “quiet month” has been manic! 🙂

How many of you have been sticking with your new years resolutions? Or how many have ditched it already?! 🙂

I’m sticking with mine so far, for those of you who didn’t see the start of it and have a spare five mins click here…

Letters to Cailean – Tara’s new year project

Dear Cailean,

It is completely normal for you having brides and grooms coming to visit and discuss their plans with mum and dad and you probably know more about weddings than children two or three times your age!

At Christmas we met two grooms who were preparing for their wedding and you asked us where the bride was, so we took the opportunity to explain that love exists in many different forms.
Sometimes two women love each other, sometimes two men love each other. Sometimes a wedding can have two brides or two grooms or a bride and a groom.

Frank Ocean puts it simply as, “ I believe that marriage isn’t between a man and a woman but between love and love.”
So when you replied.” Cool, can I watch something on the iPad now?” We smiled and wished that many adults could view the world with such simplicity as through the eyes of a child.


So as you escape to your treehouse with the new furniture you decided to put in (a chair and your suitcase), I admire your independence and practicality. You have chosen two clever objects, a chair for you to sit on and look out at the world and a suitcase full of essentials and clothes to keep you warm in this weather! As parents it is our job to give you the right tools needed for life but quite often we learn a lot more from you. Life can be simplified, adults often overcomplicate it.

We should step back focus on what is important which is LOVE.

“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.”
Richard L Evans.

Until next week!
Mum xxx

Missed the first letter to Cailean? Read it here….

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Letters to Cailean – Tara’s new year project by TaraD

So as we approach back to school and work, planning multiple goals and new year resolutions (that are often certain to fail), is the norm at this time of year.

Many of us feel pretty shattered from late nights of partying (I wish!). Or if you have been working like us, you may feel delighted to have had such an amazing Christmas working with great people, but you are also looking forward to a few days off and a hot bath to ease the aches and pains. (Having cameras strapped to you for over 30 hours in 3 days makes muscles hurt that you didn’t know you had!).

So back to the resolutions! This year I have decided to do something a little different which combines the two things that I love the most, my family and photography.

I am going to write weekly letters to Cailean (my four year old), with accompanying photographs (which I will also print and NOT LEAVE ON THE COMPUTER FOREVER!)

At the end of it I plan to create a book with the photographs and letters which will be a nice keepsake and reminder of 2016. All going well (now I’m being super ambitious, it may be something I will continue for other years).

I am hoping that one day he may read them and it will give him an insight about life, love and the general day to day chaos that our family is! 🙂 They will be pretty short and sweet, so it isn’t like it will be taking up my already non existent free time 🙂

It is something that I feel will make me focus, give me headspace to take a photo that I am not being paid to take, that is just for me. An image that will record something that I want to take, be it on good days or bad for us to look back on.

I feel that it will encourage me to document our own memories more and as our gift is capturing other people’s stories, why shouldn’t we also be recording our own?

As I have heard many times it is like a painter not wanting to paint his own house or a plumber not fixing his own leaking tap!

So here goes and I am sharing them with you so that I can’t give up easily half way through! 🙂  ….

Dear Cailean,

It’s the start of a new year, 2016, which for many is a time of reflection, planning and setting goals for the coming year.

Usually they include things like:

  • Loosing weight, (which your dad and myself are going to attempt and has already been put off until tomorrow LOL).
  • Save money for holidays, (you have already asked if you can go to see where Santa lives so we better start saving now!).
  • Learn something new, well you do that every day and we also learn from you so you have that one sussed.  The list goes on so I’m sure you get the idea.

Anyway one of my new years resolutions is to write to you, so that one day you can read these and have an insight into what was happening in your mad house and how much we love you 🙂 

Today is a rare day off, we have been working all over the holidays so haven’t got to spend as much time with you as we would like. But we are about to snuggle up in our “cinema” as you call it and watch a movie.

It’s moments like these that make me realise how lucky I am.

 I hope that when you are a grown man you will still want to come and hang out with your parents every now and then 🙂 

Thank you for bringing such life and love to our home.

Lots of love,

Tara (as you only call me mum when you are tired/sick or up to something and trying to get around me!). xxxx



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Not all who wander are lost by TaraD

As we are fast approaching the holiday season and Christmas madness seems to be in full flow, I feel quite relaxed compared to previous years. Even though work wise, it is probably our most hectic year yet!

Why hasn’t the christmas madness set in yet? I guess it is because after years of working as hard as possible to build Tara Donoghue Photography, I was offered the opportunity to fly half way around the world, take almost a month off and get to finish the trip with shooting a wedding with the backdrop as Sydney harbour bridge (YES I KNOW IT WAS AMAZING!!).

I have finally managed to re set the balance which as any business owner will know is like turning the titanic (a friend recently explained it to me with that metaphor and it really “sunk in” lol!)

Most business owners work late into the night, don’t take days off and usually end up checking in on some aspect of their business over any major holiday season. While others are running out the door never to think of work again until the holiday season is well and truly over! Being self employed is completely different. It is very hard to let go! If it is a business that you are passionate about you literally live and breathe it.

Flying to the other side of the world forced me to let go. Sitting listening to the sound of the sea, coffee in hand, while this side of the world was fast asleep, makes you think about the chaos, the pressure and the insanity we all put ourselves through daily in order to be the best we possibly can and provide the best we can for ourselves and our loved ones.  Spending every day playing, laughing, talking, exploring was amazing for us as a family and me personally. Life still carried on, brides and grooms still continued to enquire and book us for their wedding day, as we corresponded via email and the business didn’t fall apart because it didn’t have my undivided attention for a few weeks.

Christmas is all about family, it is about reaching out to friends, neighbours and strangers who may need a hand at this time of year. It isn’t about buying pointless gifts or stretching ourselves to the limit, it is about love.

As a Wedding and Portrait Photographer, it is my job to document and show “LOVE” on a daily basis. The love between husband and wife, parent and child, or sibling rivalry as may be the case in a family shoot 😉

We still have 6 more weddings to shoot in 2015, which is why I haven’t bought one Christmas pressie yet (but there is still plenty of time!). For me this christmas is about seeing our son in his first christmas play. It is about watching him get swept up in the magic of Christmas (Dave is still trying to convince him that Santa will need a beer left out for him!). It is about focusing on the present not presents and making and recording memories for us to look back on in years to come.

So if you feel yourself getting a little or a lot stressed out this Christmas, try to step back and focus on what is important.

Take time out to be present this Christmas.

With love,

Tara xxx



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