“We all carry inside us people who came before us”. -Liam Callanan by TaraD

I have always wondered about “belonging”.

Where do you fit in, when you move from what you always knew?

I remember my first year in art college, we were set the task of creating a piece to do with “Identity”.

Most seemed to find the task so easy, as they had moved from home to college and they all identified with a particular place and the people from there.

Especially in Ireland you identify as being from “Kerry” or “Cork” for example.

I had no idea where to start. I didn’t have “one home,” I had lived in different places and my family were spread apart.

Almost 20 years later, a “random” video led me to being on a 3.30 am zoom call and we were discussing creating a piece about “Generations”. This would be a film piece, I am a photographer (challenge number 1! ). We had 8 weeks to complete it (challenge 2) and I still had to figure out all the technical details! (challenge 3-199 LOL!)

But unlike the feeling I had in college, this time I knew where I wanted to start and I was excited to try! So what’s the worst that could happen?

My mum has renovated a house that is over 100 years old. The house her grandfather built, my great-grandfather. A Kerryman.

I have always had a deep connection to my grandfather on my Dad’s side but I never knew much about Harry O’ Sullivan, until now. I decided to embrace this “Generations” project and started filming the land that my great grandfather worked and built his family home on. I decided to film my two boys who love to explore this land that we fondly refer to as “The hill”.

Conversations started with my mother reminiscing of days where she remembered helping her grandad on the hill.

My sons began to ask her questions and I realised how far back our family connection to this special place is.

As my film footage expanded, I tried to figure out how I could condense all this history into something that made sense for my boys in the future. I thought about the music and then another piece of magic happened. My mother handed me a cassette tape of an interview with her grandad and I converted it to digital and heard him sing….. WOW

I edited the piece within a few hours as I couldn’t stop. It all made perfect sense.

This was our story.

This was my great grandfather, born in 1890 talking to us and my children who were born over 120 years later!

To go from concept to a finished piece and feel that sense of accomplishment is amazing. I thought about keeping it just for our family, but that was coming from a place of fear. A place of worrying what others thought, being outside of my comfort zone. I ignored that feeling, uploaded the film and hit submit for what I thought was to receive review and feedback on how I could improve it…..

A couple of weeks passed and I woke up to AMAZING messages in my inbox from filmmakers in America congratulating me!

I had to go and find out what for!!! 🙂

The Educator’s Choice Awards have been chosen by the Lead Educator of the film project GENERATIONS, Allison Redmon, as those that fully embody the spirit of the FilmingLife® ArtHouse, and are noted for their storytelling, creativity and unique interpretation of the theme.

What Allison said about Tara’s film –
From the first moment I pressed play on Tara’s film I knew this film was truly something special. Hearing the actual recording of her ancestors singing voice, seeing the old photos and hearing the stories of generations past, Tara masterfully edits her family history on their land in a way that made me teary. It’s a powerful reminder to record our family members, their voices, their pictures, their thoughts and to keep them alive in our own storytelling.

You can view Tara’s award-winning film below and find her on Instagram @TARADONOGHUEPHOTOGRAPHY

My heart went into making this film and I hope to pour it into 1000’s more.

Not only for our own family but to be the first in Ireland offering heartfelt family films.

I feel so drawn to this as I know it is something that I “am meant to” do and I am grateful to those of you who have already reached out and asked me to capture your story.

As a photographer I have always loved capturing the essence of people’s stories. It has never been about “just pressing the button” for me. I see it as capturing moments that will become priceless in years to come. Now I have the opportunity to offer so much more. A way to capture the sound of laughter, as well as the visual reactions. A way to hear those conversations as well as view them. This isn’t just for us, this is for our future generations. This is for my boys and for their families.

Thank you to my mum for saying yes to all my crazy ideas, especially this one! I know it was way outside of your comfort zone too!

Thank you for introducing us to Harry.

I think he would get a kick out of “The hill” being seen in places as far away as Saudi Arabia, Australia, America and Canada.

Made with love,

Tara x

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Dress for your shape by TaraD

Wedding dress shopping is one of the most important things on a bride’s To Do List.

It can also come with a certain amount of stress if a bride is not sure where to start of what kind of dress would look best for her body shape.

This is a very simplistic, general guideline of the main body types and some choices of dresses that would best suit each particular body type.

Rectangle Body Shape

The body is well balanced at top and bottom and is fairly straight with a well defined waist.
In this case you want to enhance your arms and legs equally; add definition to both bottom and top body.

A-line dresses work well, ruffled, sleeveless, strapless and sweetheart lines all work well.

Triangle Body Shape (commonly referred to as Pear Shape)

The body has narrow shoulder and wider hips;
Especially the butt and thigh areas which are visually bigger. You want to enhance the top body to create balance.

A-line dresses also work well for this body type.
Dresses with more details at the top work well (whether it’s ruffles or V-necklines).
Avoid skin fitting tops / loose bottom dresses.

Hourglass Body Shape

The body is equally proportioned at top and bottom with a well defined waistline.
All types of dresses will look on this body shape, but anything that accentuates the waist or just a bit below the waist works the best. Body hugging dresses look good for this body type as well.

Inverted Triangle Body Shape

The body has broader shoulders than hips and is sometimes compared to an athletic body shape.
In this case you want to enhance your hips and bottom body to create balance. Keep the top of dress simple and minimal and let all the details (ruffles, layers, accents,etc) be part of the bottom.
The old trick of the deep V-necklines also helps to elongate the top body and give the illusion of narrower shoulders.

Round Body Shape (commonly referred to as Apple Shape)

You have a heavier upper body, broad shoulders, bigger bust and heavier at midriff with a minimal waistline. Since the weight concentration is above the hips, you want to highlight your legs and bottom for balance.
Deep V-necklines work well to elongate torso and give the illusion of narrower shoulders.
A-line dresses and Empire waist dresses are your best look.
Any dress with a higher sitting waist will work well. Long sleeves and ¾ sleeves also work for the top.
Avoid figure hugging dresses (like the mermaid style dresses for example).

Here is a useful diagram we found on Reddit.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope this helps!

Diana x

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Best man’s speech…. by TaraD

After many years of photographing weddings, we have heard hundreds of best man speeches.

We have heard everything from one liners, to 30 minute long speeches, to hilarious speeches to embarrassing speeches and everything else in between.

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some quick tips on things to avoid or do, based on the thousands of guest reactions we’ve experienced over the years. Don’t make your speech very long. 5 minutes is a good average, 8 minutes gives you plenty of time to talk about memories and life stories if that is your aim, anything longer than that and you risk boring your audience.
One or two good, interesting, or funny stories should be enough.

Watch your language.

Remember there are a few generations sitting in the audience, and the generation gap (in
terms of language) has never been wider. It should be common sense to avoid curse words or other derogatory or offensive words, that although might be the norm among the guys, would offend some in the audience. Also remember that sometimes the priest / celebrant, is also part of the audience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t bury the groom – or the bride, or you might run the risk of losing that friendship forever! It’s perfectly fine to go for humour and tell funny stories about the groom, but be careful with the level of embarrassment you choose.
Remember that the groom is not well known to one part of the audience, you don’t want to leave them with the wrong impression of the groom. Try to stay clear of making jokes about the bride – it’s just safer for your own health!!

Another common sense point is, please don’t bring up the Ex in your speech!

Surprisingly, we’ve heard it a few times and it usually doesn’t end well.

This is the couple’s special day, it should be about them and some things are just better off in the past where they belong.

Even if you’re happy things didn’t work out with the ex and can make great jokes about it, we advise you to resist the temptation.

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t just read your speech because you’re nervous or just want to get through it quickly.

And whatever you do, don’t copy your speech from the Internet!

Doing all these things doesn’t show much appreciation or thought for the bridal couple and your relationship with them.

It’s understandable and normal that you might be feeling nervous, but if you just take a few deep breaths and just be yourself, it will show.

You don’t need to race through the speech, you can read it at your own pace by taking tiny breaks and looking around the audience and the bridal couple.

Eye contact and even adding your own humour in between sentences goes a long way. And if you want to break the ice, you can always start by being honest and funny and saying something like “I’m absolutely an awesome best man, but not exactly great at speeches…”

Keep the best for last.

If you want your speech to be memorable and make an impression, keep something amazing
for the end. Whether you end with a joke for laughter, or whether you end with a poem for tears, just make the ending special and make eye contact with the bridal couple as you do it. And if you want to make it extra special, toast not only the bridal couple but also their parents. This will touch their hearts and show that your thoughtfulness.

And last, and probably the most important advice we can give is, don’t drink too much alcohol before giving your speech!!!
We’re sure you can see the wisdom in that…

Diana x

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Mindset is everything…. by TaraD

“When you have a ‘solution thinking mindset’ and choose to focus 80% of your thoughts  / words on solutions – you will not only be heading more speedily to long-term success, but you will immediately feel better in the moment.” Karen Salmansohn

For those of you who don’t know who Karen is, she is the best-selling author of Be Happy Dammit, among many other books.  I thought her quote was appropriate for the theme of this short blog: solutions and mindset.

By now everyone has a story to tell about the state of the world and their own experience within it.  Within our own diversity as human beings everyone has approached it in different ways; some people have chosen to dwell in misery and continue to hold on tight to the drama that is splashed all over the media, others have accepted the facts and started looking towards the future and finding options and solutions.

I personally have chosen to surround myself with positive things, people and situations.  I’m not ignoring the situation and hiding under a blanket. I am simply looking for the silver lining in the positives in my life instead of dwelling on the negatives, or on what’s broken.  In reality we’re all facing similar things, but it is our mindset that makes all the difference.

Let’s make this article more specific to the thousands of brides who had to cancel their weddings.  Or did they?  I’ve been following brides from around the world, who find themselves in the same situation, and was pleasantly surprised to see how some of them handled the situation and came up with different solutions for their story.

Of course these ideas will not work for everyone, based on several circumstances, but it is just to give you a glimpse of possibilities; where couples chose not to dwell on what IS, but chose to get excited about what WILL BE.

For some couples keeping the original date of their wedding was important, and they didn’t mind giving up the reception part. I’ve seen couples who held a wedding celebration with just themselves (bride and groom) and the celebrant in their own backyard that was beautifully decorated.  They had a beautiful cake, toast and flowers.  They chose to hold a reception and renew their vows on their 1st wedding anniversary.

I’ve seen couples getting married in the church, only themselves and the parents were present (and distanced appropriately as per the rules in place at the moment).  They chose to say their vows now and hold the celebration next year.

I’ve seen couples getting married in the Registrar’s office, or City Hall, depending on what country you live in.  Only the couple and witnesses were present, at appropriate distances of course.  They chose not to do the church wedding and hold a celebration next year for their anniversary.

I’ve seen couples get their family and friends together to get enough chairs to hold a wedding / small reception on a farm, out in the open, where everyone could sit a bit further away from each other.  They chose to have only family present in order to be able to hold the wedding.  Everyone chipped in with flowers, chairs, decorations…definitely a tale for their story book.

I’ve seen many couples who just accepted the current situation as a fact and made a decision to postpone their wedding until next year because for them it’s still important to have the wedding as originally planned with all their loved ones present.  But what I have seen is a lot of them getting excited about the chance to ‘revise’.   Many of them now have a chance to review and change any part they were not completely happy with, like the venue.  Others have decided to make their wedding next year ‘bigger and better’ to make up for the delay.

Some couples chose to do a celebration of the original date of their wedding, whether it’s just a toast in the garden, or a movie and pizza night and do a video to send to their family and guests with the invite for the new date next year.  Some couples have done some really cool photo / video montage of their story to send out as the new ‘wedding invitation’ for next year.

Not all these ideas work for everybody as everybody’s situation is different and so is the mindset.  This is just something small to give all our brides a burst of positivity and some excitement about what WILL BE.  Fall in love with your wedding plans again, it is not so much about WHEN you will get married, but more about WHAT do you want that day to represent?  You have a chance to review what is really important for you, who do you really want to share it with, what can you do to make it extra special?

We will be bringing you some trends from around the world soon to help you feel that excitement once again…

Diana x

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Postponing your wedding? You may want to read this…. by TaraD

From Heartbroken to excited…..

Since we shot our last wedding on the 14th March 2020, I, (like many others) have been dealing with a rollercoaster of emotions.

I have learnt so much from the last month and feel that I have really grown as a human being (and not just physically with all the extra food I’m snacking on!).

We have been chatting to lots of brides and one mentioned that I had changed her perspective from “heartbroken” to “excited again”.

Just think about that for a moment, from “heartbroken” to “excited” completely opposite emotions.

I then went onto have a business call with a group of business owners and I mentioned in conversation, how I had switched someone’s perspective and it made everyone stop. It was almost a mic drop moment. They felt that my words had potentially changed that woman’s life in a great way and I hadn’t thought of it. They asked how the rest of her day would have continued with her fiancee? Her family? Her friends? To go from upset and heartbreak to being excited again just by reading a heartfelt message that I had sent to her. How would her next phone call go? Instead of tears it would be “but we can do that now instead, we have more time to save for this etc….!”

For me its all about perspective, it is about seeing things from a different point of view. Life has always been that way for me. I studied “To kill a mockingbird” in school and recently again during this lockdown with my 8 year old. I explained to him a quote that has stuck with me ever since. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.. until you climb into his skin and walk around in it”.

I think by nature we often become so focused on our own problems that we don’t see others. Not because we are selfish, or careless but because it doesn’t necessarily affect us.

I have noticed online in various wedding groups and heard lots and lots of couples using words like “devastated”…. “heartbroken” …..“torn”.  I began to feel that I was missing something, or maybe they were (un-intentionally of course!). Those words are associated with grief and death, which I could relate to the virus. But I wouldn’t associate them with rescheduling a wedding.

Why? Well, we aren’t talking about cancelling a wedding which is associated with loss and grief when a relationship dissolves. We are talking about postponing. Simply moving the celebration to a later date. This is a chance to breathe. We are always so busy with life and planning a wedding is even more hectic than the everyday stress. Now you have an opportunity to literally just breathe! Have fun together, go for walks (within 2k!), learn more about each other than you ever knew before.

This unprecedented time is like an intense pre marriage course! You are with your spouse 24/7. This time will help you to adjust, to give each other space, even if you can’t physically! You will learn to share jobs at home that you never had to do before. You will learn how to come up with solutions to keep each other sane! 🙂

If you are already parents, you will have a whole other range of challenges and learning opportunities thrown into the mix! 🙂 All the parents reading this are currently saying “HELL YEAH!” 🙂

This time together is incredible. This pause is giving you the opportunity to focus on what you REALLY WANT, without all of the daily distractions and pressures that are normally happening while trying to plan a wedding. You can give it your complete attention now, or very little if you choose to take a break from the planning! Both are perfectly ok, you choose what works for you!

For me  instead of focusing on the fact that I don’t know when we will get to shoot a wedding again. (Just to clarify this is our livelihood. Like many other suppliers, to potentially loose all our weddings this year is not something we can brush off lightly). I am looking at all the opportunities this last month has given me and I am incredibly grateful for that.

Instead of feeling sad every time I get an email with someone changing their wedding date, I am feeling happy that they are now stress free. They can now look forward to their wedding instead of being scared on the lead up to it.

Every morning I start with a coffee and my notebook and list 10 things that I am grateful for. This may sound completely crazy, (or pointless) I know, I thought so too when I was first asked to try it! But what have you got to loose? Try it and see how it makes you feel, how it switches your PERSPECTIVE on things.

How you start to realise how incredibly lucky you really are! You have your health and you are safe. In the world we are living in right now that is worth celebrating.

So lets switch our perspective and see how it makes you feel.

Instead of stressing over how I am going to make ends meet, I am grateful for the amazing amount of focused quality time with my children. I am learning about them, watching them grow, teaching them daily life skills as well as the home schooling! I have got to know them both better which seems crazy, but we now have much more time to sit and talk. It isn’t rushed or interrupted by me looking at the screen editing/emailing/designing while agreeing and nodding to them. (I know, great parenting! As I said at the beginning I have learnt a lot!).

I have also learnt how much I genuinely love my career and I can’t wait to return to telling people’s stories. I really miss it!

I miss creating, but now I am capturing my own story and my children’s story, for their futures.

Today I am grateful for the gorgeous sunrise and another opportunity to work in my garden. I am grateful for my family and friends health, my morning coffee, my husband, as we are continuing to work great as a team keeping everyone upbeat. The roof over our heads, the chats I will have with friends, the books I now have time to read, the memories I am getting the opportunity to create.

I am grateful for you, if you took the time to read the longest post I have ever written! I hope it helps!

With love,

Tara x

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The “C” Word…. by TaraD

The forth of February is World Cancer Day. Many people have a negative reaction when they see the ‘C’ word and that’s
exactly why this day was created.

In today’s world it is very rare to meet someone or a family that hasn’t been touched in some way by some form of cancer and who doesn’t have a story to tell.
Here are some basic facts about this very important day and why we should all join in on the celebration.
The World Cancer Day was established at the turn of the millennium, on February 4th 2000.
Its purpose is to encourage the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer by targeting misinformation, by
raising awareness and by reducing the stigma surrounding it.

Over 100 countries participate worldwide with almost 1,000 activities taking place around the world. People hold festivals, walks, seminars, campaigns. Some campaigns like the nohairselfie charity (#nohairselfie) go a little beyond and bring people together globally to shave their heads and post it on social media to show courage and support to those undergoing cancer treatment. You can even do it virtually through the app without having to shave your actual hair.
Major cities around the world have started to light up their major landmarks in orange / blue in support of this important day.

This year’s theme is “I Am and I Will”. It is a beautiful theme that is all about you and how you see yourself fittinginto this global event.

You complete your own sentence. I am (fill in the blank) and I will (fill in the blank).

For me this year’s theme is: I Am a survivor and I Will support others on their journey.
This was also my journey a few years ago and the fact I’m still here to write this article is a blessing. So I commit to
helping others on their journey in whatever ways I can, by donating, participating in events, talking and listening to encourage and support those on their own journey.
What does this day represent for you? Who will you be and what will be your theme?
If you want to know more about this day and how to help, participate, be a part of it…you can check out the official website www.worldcancerday.org
Diana x

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Sunset to sunrise photography experience by TaraD

This will be a unique experience for a photographer of any level.

We will be facilitating an overnight workshop with lots of fun and laughter also guaranteed.

We will be meeting in the beautiful setting of Glenbeigh with Rossbeigh beach on our doorstep.

The course will include approximately 6 hours of shooting time – covering landscape and portrait photography, the sunset, astro photography and for the early risers, the sunrise the following morning! Bring warm clothes!!!

Also included is accommodation, dinner on the night of arrival (which is a great opportunity to network!). Breakfast the following morning, before our editing session where we will show some images that we have shot over the weekend and our post processing techniques. Wrapping up with a Q & A session by 12pm on Sunday.

If you are interested in taking a huge leap with your photography this will be a fantastic learning experience. Grab your tickets here:

https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/sunset-to-sunrise-photography-experience-tickets-89373010079?aff=ebdssbeac

We look forward to meeting you!

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Irish Wedding Awards, Creative Photographer of the Year! by TaraD

Irish Wedding Awards, Creative Photographer of the Year
Winners of Creative Photographer of the Year 2020.

 

Wow what an incredible way to start the year!
We decided to go to Dublin last Monday as we were finalists in the category of:
“Creative Photographer of the Year” for the Irish Wedding awards.
We have never been nominated or attended these national awards before.

 

 

As it was on a Monday night in January and we knew a few other suppliers attending, one being a lovely past couple of ours Karen and Anthony (Karen is a florist and was also a finalist in the awards, https://www.facebook.com/flowersbykarenlimerick/ ).
We thought it would be a great excuse to go away for an evening and catch up with them and some other fantastic people, including Sharon from Ballyseede Castle!
Little did we know it would turn into a night of massive celebrations as WE WON!!!!
So there are not too many pictures taken that night by ourselves as we were too busy celebrating! But there are hundreds taken by the fabulous Nina Val and you can see those on the Irish Wedding Awards page. Thank you Nina for capturing the moments for all of us suppliers.

It is an AMAZING boost for us in January as we have been making huge plans for 2020 and we are starting it in the best possible way! I must say a huge thank you, for those of you who nominated us (that was a surprise in itself!) and for the judges who felt we deserved such an accolade. We are extremely grateful!

Just after we hit post on this blog another email pinged through to say we are one of the IRISH TOP 100 WEDDING SUPPLIERS! Wahoooo! 🙂

 

Winners badge

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All things wedding albums… by TaraD

Happy new year! We are in full flow this January hitting the ground running!

Does anyone else feel that Christmas was a distant memory even though we are only a few days into the new year? Well we do but we are incredibly excited about all the adventures and events lined up for 2020 so we hope its a great one for you too!

Diana has kicked off the blog writing for us, in between designing some beautiful albums. So here is some info from her on that!

“Designing an album for a special event in someone’s life, like a wedding, is an important part of a photographer’s job.   Our job is not done after the day is over and we all go home.  After someone ‘s special day, and after the long editing process , we get to have some more fun!  The first part of designing an album is to choose the top 100 photos (in the case of a wedding) that we feel represent the major parts of the day.  They should represent special moments like the bride & groom getting ready before church, bride arriving at church, the ceremony, family portraits after the ceremony and so on… 

 

 

Then we review what we know about the couple, from working with them in person as well as from the photos. For example, what are some of their hobbies?  What are their favourite colours? Are they part of a team?  We do this so we can better personalise their album with something more relevant for them like their favourite colour or poem or song or special moment from the wedding.  

 

 

While the majority of couples choose a plain black / white background for their wedding album, giving them the option of colours, themes or graphics can really make their album and photos stand out.  Every couple should consider this when working with their photographer on their album.  While we create this initial version of the album, we work closely with the couple on revising it until they are happy with the final product. This album will exist for generations to come and will tell your story, it should be as personal to you and as beautiful as possible.”

 

 

Want to know more about our albums? Or would you like us to design a beautiful album for you? Then get in touch today to see more samples!

Until next time,

Happy January!

 

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Wedding shoes…. by TaraD

So I have an obsession, I realised many years ago that I get excited about wedding shoes LOL.

For my own wedding I chose Irregular choice, for their quirkiness combined with the practical reasons of comfort and height! I am 5″7 so I don’t tend to wear heels. I didn’t want to feel like I was towering over everyone in 4 inch heels so I went for a kitten heel with a platform built inside the shoe so they were incredibly comfortable! They are also very reasonably priced, especially when it comes to shoes and putting the words “bridal” or “wedding” in front of anything!

So while I don’t regret my choice for a second I do still drool at Jimmy Choo bridal shoes. I really do love them and love photographing them!

I would never be able to wear them as I would definitely end up breaking an ankle or something! But maybe one day I will treat myself and make sure to walk very carefully LOL.

What are your dream wedding shoes????

 

Tara x

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