Aline & Mark - Galway Wedding

Aline & Mark’s wedding was always going to be a special one for myself and Annie. I’ve known Mark for a few years as he trains Jiu Jitsu with me in Dun Laoghaire and when he told me they were having a small, intimate wedding with only his close family and friends in Galway, we jumped all over it. Timing-wise, it was the first wedding myself and Annie were going to be photographing after two autumn photography workshops and so we knew we’d be buzzing with ideas and new things we’d want to try. When we met up to chat about the day we explained that we really wanted to push the boat with the wedding photography and an excited Aline and Mark effectively gave us carte blanche to do our thing.

They chose to get married in the "Twelve Hotel” in Barna which is an incredibly cool little boutique hotel with some of the most accommodating staff we’ve ever worked with and 40 guests (+ Milo the dog) all made their way to a English/Portuguese ceremony with a nice early start at 11am. After the ceremony, we had almost 2 hours for the couple shoot so we started off by heading down to Barna Woods to get the couple shoot started.

We were a good ten minute walk into the woods when it started raining and by ‘raining’ I mean proper, west of Ireland rain. Buckets of it. It rained so hard that they had to close down some local roads for a while. We had a cute little wedding umbrella which we gave to Aline (which just about covered her and half covered Mark but they genuinely seemed not to care. “Ah sure it’s part of the story of our day!” said Mark.

We went back to the hotel to dry off a bit and the Hotel gave us access to their very funky West Restaurant where we did a little indoor shoot and, with a little break in the rain, we headed back out to the pier for a gorgeous early sunset.

After an unbelievably lovely dinner, they started speeches. It was fairly unusual to see all the wedding speeches delivered without notes and when Mark mentioned that his was going to be off the cuff, I was a little concerned as I’ve seen off the cuff speeches go pear shaped. Instead though, what followed was one of the most sincere and heart-felt set of speeches we’ve heard in a long time. Aline’s Brazilian family had flown over for the day and Mark delivered a good chunk of his speech in Portuguese. I don’t know what he said but it was enough to have everyone (who understood) in floods of tears.

Jesse (who also trains Jiu Jitsu with us!) from the Suitcase Trio turned up after dinner and gave us a set list which had the dance floor absolutely jam packed. He blasted out the Beastie Boys, House of Pain and a mix of Brazilian songs which resulted in some kind of set dance routine led by Aline & her family.

I don’t know what time myself and Annie left the party but it was after midnight and when we went up to our room, I realised that my shoes, socks and boxers were still soaking from earlier in the day but I hadn’t even noticed until then.

It was that kind of a wedding.

Irish Documentary Wedding Photographer - 2018

Honoured, thrilled, shocked are three of the 40 or so emotions that span through my head when they called out my name to come up on stage to collect the award at the Irish Wedding Photographers Awards night in Belfast last week. It was actually a joint award, if I’m being totally honest but given the incredibly high standard of the other Irish wedding photographers in that room, I’d have taken even a runner-up place with absolute pleasure.

There’s a blog post that I wrote back in June where I had mentioned that I had set myself a goal of winning 10 wedding photography awards in 2018 and at the time of writing, I had 5 in the bag but this one is different. The wedding photojournalist awards are awards for individual wedding photographs but the award pictured here was for a selection of images that 3 Irish judges deemed to be worthy of this pretty feckin’ amazing title.

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I know a lot of photographers don’t like to enter awards or competitions but I find that they help keep me sharp. Myself and Annie both regularly enter them and we sit down every two weeks and look through our images to see how they measure up to our wedding photography goals.

Nicola & Mark - Palmerstown House Estate Wedding, Kildare

Nicola & Mark’s wedding photo slideshow of their beautiful day in Palmerstown House Estate.

Juliana & Michael - Haddington Hotel wedding, Dun Laoghaire

Juliana & Michael met in Dublin city centre a few years ago, fell in love and moved out to Dun Laoghaire. It made sense that when they got married last month, they brought together a small group of their closest family and friends for a wedding in Dublin city centre followed by food and fun in Dun Laoghaire (The Haddington Hotel). Their day was filled with fun, laughter (so, so much laughter), food and Portuguese speeches (by Michael!) and tears (happy ones though). Juliana & Michael were one of the first couples within their group of friends to get married and they’ve set the bar pretty high!

Juliana started off her morning preparations in herself and Michael’s home on the sea front in Dun Laoghaire. Juliana has been living in Dublin for years but is originally from Brasil. Both her parents made the trip over for her day and her hair and make-up was done by an incredibly talented friend. Michael put his very funky suit on surrounded by a good gang of his family in the Royal Marine in Dun Laoghaire and they made their way (separately) into Dublin City centre to the wedding registry office.

Michael & Juliana’s Dun Laoghaire Wedding.

Aisling & Dave - The Cliff Town House

The Cliff Townhouse, Dublin Wedding

Aisling & Dave wanted to put together a 'simple party' for close family & friends and on a crazy hot, sunny Friday in July (Friday the 13th - for what little that mattered!), they transformed their garden into a wedding ceremony space that looked like it was purpose built for the occasion, had a good friend officiate a beautiful ceremony,  drank some bubbly and danced down the aisle.  A shuttle bus later and the whole wedding party are ambling through St. Stephens Green and onto into the Cliff Townhouse for some food and celebrations. 

A lovelier group of people you couldn't meet. 

Ciara & Mike - Merrion Hotel / Dun Laoghaire Yacht Club

Ciara & Mike had one of those beautiful Summer days that we've all been getting very used to over the past few months. Ciara got ready in her family home in Sandycove, with a quick stop off at the Family pub on the way into The Merrion Hotel where Mike and little Joey were waiting for them.

The afternoon was spent on the deck of the National Yacht club in Dun Laoghaire, we did a quick couple shoot on the pier. 

As far as locations go, when Ciara & Mike chose Dun Laoghaire for their wedding, I don't think they could have imagined the day that followed. It was a glorious wedding day and thank you Ciara, Mike, Annie and Joey for letting me photograph it for you.

SLIDESHOW

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Global ranking & Awards

In January, I had set myself the goal of pulling together 10 Wedding photography awards in 2018. and to that end, I've been taking the time to enter the Wedding Photojournalist Association awards. The WPJA is a worldwide association of photographers who have a demonstrated talent for candid originality and a dedication to the documentary approach in wedding photography. So far this year, I've somehow managed to win 5 awards. The awards are classified in gold, blue and purple and are picked my some seriously good judges (There's a few Pulitzer price winners in there). I'm particularly proud of my two golds as it means that 4 out of the 4 judges marked them out as winners.  

The awards have points attributed to them and they go towards an annual global ranking system.

2 Award winning images

I was beyond thrilled to win two Wedisson awards for the images below in the 34th Collection in January. 

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I've never entered any photography competitions before but in December I decided to set myself a goal for 2018 of trying to win a international photography award. I really didn't expect to win in January as the Wedisson awards have a seriously high standard but I'm certainly not complaining. 

I like that of the two photos that won, one was a photo-journalistic (unstaged) shot and the other was more experimental. For the experimental one, I used a bit of a old copper pipe to bounce the natural sunlight onto Sinead and Seamus to make that fog/flare effect. The other one was much more ad-hoc, I got down low and shot upwards to frame Sinead and Seamus as they were exiting the church. 

To be fair though, most of the credit for the photos goes to the gorgeous couple who made it way too easy for us!

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