Tag Archives: Photogenic

Father’s Day Portraits…

PHOTOGENIC Father's Day 2015

Our parents always seem to be the same age, don’t they?

It’s only when we look back through our photos that we see our parents as the young things they were when we ourselves were children. More often now we look back in virtual, digital formats on ‘devices’ but some of us will still have prints to look at, to laugh at  and to cherish.

Parents love portraits of their children – no contest. But what about portraits for the children? Pictures of parents and children together often get left out of sessions here – parents can be reluctant to be in photographs, for all sorts of reasons. Thankfully, children love pictures of their parents and in our experience, adult children love looking back at their childhood photographs with their parents in them.

That’s the simple reason why we think our Father’s Day and Mother’s Day portraits are so special.

You can avail of our Father’s Day Gift at this link until June 21st 2015.

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What’s the best camera? It’s a simple answer, really…

As you can imagine because we are photographers, we are asked about “…what’s the best camera…” all the time. Of course, there are many answers to that question because you have to factor in the budget and level of technical functions required and, and…. that’s usually when you get brain freeze!

Chicago/ Marsha

Marsha in “Chicago – The Musical”

So, maybe this anecdote will help with the answer to this question. Recently, our daughter was in her school musical and of course lots of people took photos of the event itself and backstage. It was one of those times when the camera phone just wasn’t enough either for the parents or the students to capture the magic on the stage and the camaraderie that built up backstage.

But what do you do when your ‘good camera’ has no power or, worse still, no space left on your card just as you are ready to use it? It’s hugely frustrating and then photographs that you really want of a very special event end up being snapped on a phone. And that really won’t cut the mustard for life’s big occasions like weddings, communions or school plays & musicals – trust me on this one.

So, you know that way you have a ‘process’ around your mobile phone? You always know where the charger is, you back it up regularly, and if you’re like me, you charge it up in the same place every night. We create processes around the things that are important to us at home or at work.

It helps to take the time to create a process around your camera too. Download, file and date your images soon after they’ve been taken (and back them up if they are very important). It’s worth learning how to do this properly, and it really is easy to do. It helps to quickly check that the images have all been saved properly and, if they have, then you can safely clear or format*  the card in your camera so it’s empty for the next time. Take out the battery & place it in the charger somewhere that won’t be a nuisance (like, not in your kettle plug).

Then, the next time you grab your camera as you walk out the door,  it will be fully charged with a clean card and ready to go.

By the way the very best camera is the one you have with you – fully charged with a clean card and ready to go. And I know that you knew that.

*Format is the technical term for clearing your card and making it ready to accept files in a camera. You can find out all about your own camera on the manufacturer’s website and on numerous photography websites.


Filed under Cameras, Family Life, Humour, Life, Photography, School Musical

“Big-wigs”, “Lock-in” – what really went on when #FLOTUS came to town…

Barry's photo of Michelle Obama with Mr & Mrs Finnegan - the only image he released from the event to the media.

Barry’s photo of Michelle Obama with Mr & Mrs Finnegan – the only image he released from the event to the media.

A lot has been said and written about the visit of Michelle Obama and her daughters to Ireland this past week. We had a particular interest because of our proximity here to Finnegan’s pub where #FLOTUS ( the Secret Service acronym for First Lady Of The United States while traveling) and her girls had lunch with the Hewson family. Of course, the whole lunch could have taken place in the privacy of Bono’s home, but he wanted to share with his guests the experience of a good Irish pub lunch in his favourite local, and fair play to him for doing so.

In an effort to create the buzz of a typical lunchtime, within the strict security parameters that surround #FLOTUS, the Finnegan’s invited in many of their regular customers, us included, to be in the pub that morning. Not, as has been rather surprisingly suggested elsewhere, “big-wigs” but the people you see there on any given day. Familiar Dalkey names like Sheeran, McCabe, Sheehan, Snell and lots of other people, young and old, who make up a fair proportion of Finnegan’s regulars. Of course, the local Chief Superintendent was there along with a local TD – but in the main, the guests that day were all friends. The Secret Service agent in charge asked Donal with incredulity “Who are all these people”…when he saw the steady stream of guests being body scanned at the entrance that morning, along with the very many who queued but were turned away. “They’re friends” was Donal’s reply “I know every one of them”. The Secret Service agent could only ask “Who has that many friends?”. I’m guessing it was his first visit to Ireland, or else he would know the answer to that.

As for it being a “lock-in”, well that’s also not quite true. I did hear one lady demand to be allowed to leave, but that was because she was a bit vexed at being asked to move back and not push out towards the area where #FLOTUS was departing. The very polite Garda (plain clothes) told her she was free to leave anytime she wanted – she just had to use the same door she came in by. In fact anyone could leave at any time, if they wanted to, but nobody did.

Doing a 'selfie' with Michelle in Finnegan's June 18th 2013.

Doing a ‘selfie’ with Michelle in Finnegan’s June 18th 2013.

It was more a lock-out than a lock-in, and despite the feigned disinterest of the media in the proceedings, the rush for the door as the cavalcade swept up Castle Street can only be described as a stampede. As I tried to head out the door that #FLOTUS had exited minutes earlier, I was met with a crush of journalists wielding their branded mics and I had to retreat. Today FM, Newstalk and TV3 all got in ahead of RTE and the breathy interviewers pounced on Peter, Alan and Donal Finnegan for the DETAILS!!!!

A fair amount of tweeting and FaceBooking went on from inside the pub, but not as much as you would expect because, quite simply, it wasn’t the typical social media tribe who were in there. My pics weren’t great – you can see what I tweeted here, if you enjoy the feeling of watching paint dry – but I did get a pic from Dominic Hearns who had a great vantage point throughout the proceedings. It was of one of the Finnegan children doing a ‘selfie’ with Michelle Obama (above), which I thought was hilarious. I imagine that Malia and Sacha Obama would have liked to engage in this type of typical teen behavior too during their visit – but I expect they don’t have smart phones or Instagram accounts. Still, couldn’t you just see it “Me with #bookofkells in #hogwarts or some place #whatevs….” or “OMG the #bugs are killing me #momwhydidyoumakemedothis! #eatenalive”

This widely published photo  of Bono meeting Michelle Obama at Finnegan's was taken by Dominic Hearns and tweeted by another from inside the pub.

This widely published photo of Bono meeting Michelle Obama at Finnegan’s was taken by Dominic Hearns and tweeted (by another) from inside the pub.

The scramble for photos was hilarious too – scores of smart phones poised for that winning image – the one everyone wanted of Michelle and Bono. Dominic did also get the most widely published photo of the proceedings (right) and he kindly shared it by text within the pub but alas, his image was tweeted and improperly credited, which is a great pity.

The real memento image of the day was the one Bono wanted of the two families together and the #FLOTUS staff photographer duly obliged. Barry stood by while this picture was taken (he doesn’t do ‘invasion of privacy’) but one of the Secret Service guys leapt forward and said “Sir, we have to take you out…” GULP! Happily, Barry wasn’t ‘taken out’ and he got to photograph Michelle, Dan and Colleen together, which was the picture they really wanted.

Barry waiting to be "taken out" by the Secret Service.

Barry waiting to be “taken out” by the Secret Service.

Of course, the only people who came anywhere near the group while they dined were her personal staff including her photographer, Secret Service and the wait staff of Finnegan’s. And only the Finnegan family and Gordon Snell were introduced. If you hear anything else, well take it with a large pinch of salt. The rest of us were providing the buzz and atmosphere for which Irish pubs are famous and we did our job with gusto and with the benefit of a free bar*.

There are lots of stories and anecdotes from the day – the lead up, the back story, the “Jaysus, the Hollandaise has curdled…” story, the “I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you…” stories and most embarrassingly, the “Shit, where’s #FLOTUS’ handbag gone…” story. None of those details can be fully recounted here, you’ll have to come out to Dalkey for that.

(* mine was a soda water and lime throughout, honest.)

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Children & Animals – all in a day’s work.

There’s an old adage about never working with children or animals. But children and animals are at the very centre of our portrait work, so that adage can’t apply here.

To be honest there are occasions when things don’t go according to plan. Or to be more accurate – sessions do go pear-shaped.

One client recently captured a classic moment in the camera room and I’m showing it to you here along with my photograph of the same family with their pet – who also decided to lie down on the job!

All in a day’s work..

The real work of capturing small children at their best involves managing these situations and coming through them with a smiling & happy child.

Sometimes a child can be feeling unwell, sometimes they can be tired (so picking the right time of day for young children is really important) and sometimes we are being treated to a performance.

The skill is to know which scenario we are dealing with. Then we work with the child & their family and manage the child back into the picture or else to defer the session and try again another day. The latter is thankfully a very rare situation.

The years of experience we have helps us take a child from melt-down to portrait magic. The melt-downs are usually just storms in a teacup which can be diffused very easily with a bucketload of  patience.

The little girl on the floor in this picture was sitting up with her sisters within the following few minutes and we have beautiful, happy images for the family.

How did we do it? Well, that is one of the secrets of our success.

Children? Animals? All in a day’s work.

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