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Last year January was really quiet for me and this year was the complete opposite. I  had the chance to speak at the SWPP Convention in London for the first time. Thousands of photographers from around the world congregate at the Hilton Metropole for the event, looking for inspiration and to network with others in the industry.

I headed over on Tuesday and had a chance to catch-up with lots of friends at the Convention including Catherine Connor, Melissa Love, Kate-Hopewell Smith, Peter Crymble, Chris Semple and many others. In addition I made lots of new connections including Tamara Peel among many others.

Business School is an amazing day of essential information for someone starting a photography business. It was so different to be there as a speaker and people were really interested to hear about my classes that weekend.

On Thursday I did a bit of shopping on Oxford Street and that night went out for an incredible meal with my brother who was in London for an anesthesiologist convention.

The trade show at the weekend is a great spot to meet with your suppliers and check out their new ranges, or of course to find new innovative products that your clients will love. One Vision Imaging’s stand was full of products with my images displayed, which is always a great feeling. Great to see the team at Aspire Photography Training, Sim 2000, Queensberry and Light Blue.

On Friday I had my first talk ‘Customer Experience That Rocks’ and I was super nervous – although anyone that knows me will tell you I’m never nervous about anything, but speaking to your peers is a different animal! To be honest through as soon as I got started my nerves disappeared and it was exhilarating to share my experiences with others. Photographers Edit, who I outsource my editing to offered some great prizes for those in attendance and along with a 1-2-1 consultation with me, lots of attendees left with more that inspiration!

Saturday nigtht I attended the SWPP Awards with Margaret who had flown over to support me. The meal was beautiful and I loved the incredible imagery and of course Margaret looked stunning!

On Sunday I had my second masterclass, ‘BOOM for Your Buck Marketing’. The crowd this time was even bigger and those initial nerves were a distant memory. So many people wanted more following the session and asked lots of questions, which was really encouraging.

So the end to what was a fantastic experience at SWPP Convention again this year. If you have not yet been, do not miss it in 2015! Coming back my head is full of ideas for how to improve my craft and my business. It is just what I needed to get me motivated for what is set to be an amazing year!!!

I really enjoyed your master classes Donal – they were jam packed with useful information. I took more notes in those two classes than the rest of the convention combined!


It is so cool when you have the chance to be part of one of your favourite blogs or magazines and I was delighted to be interviewed for Beth Kempton’s amazing ‘Do What You Love’ blog. Here’s what the ‘Do What You Love’ blog is all about…

Sharing so much can be scary, but since the interview went live I have had so many emails and messages from people who feel that my story resonates with them and they have found some inspiration in it.

Read the interview here.


This blog post is designed to help those getting started with planning their big day. I’ve enlisted the help of Northern Ireland’s leading wedding creatives to give you their top tips!

Wedding Photography – by Donal Doherty

  1. It is really important to define the style of photography you like. I love natural and editorial imagery, other styles include vintage, photojournalistic and traditional. Spend time exploring Pinterest and bridal magazines to see which style resonates best with you.
  2. As with anything else in life you get what you pay for. The price reflects the service, experience, product and quality of images. One of the biggest regrets for brides is that they didn’t put significant value on the photography when planning their wedding.
  3. A pre-wedding shoot is a great way to eliminate your nerves and get used to being in front of the camera. It is also a chance to get to know your photographer and I love getting to know couples as I feel I can capture their day more authentically if I understand their story.

Bridal Hair by Hairdresser of the Year, Margaret Johnston from Honey Hair & Beauty

  1. When deciding on a style for your wedding make sure it will suit your dress. If you have a vintage dress, choose a vintage style. You also need to make sure the style suits the shape of your face.
  2. Getting a trial done is essential.  You need to do this at least 2 months in advance, this will allow you to try out different looks to find the look you love.
  3. Make sure to have your hair coloured a week before your wedding. You have some time should you decide to change to a different colour tone.

Wedding Cake by Miriam from Miriam’s Cakes

  1. When choosing a cake desinger make sure you do your research. For the perfect cake you have to make sure the quality is there and that their previous cakes reflect that.
  2. Once you have selected who you want to work with look at your budget. They will help you get a good cake based on what you would like to spend.
  3. Booking early is essential when ordering your wedding cake. It gives your cake designer enough time to create your perfect cake and you’ll have time to make amendments need be.

Bridal Make-up by award-winning make-up artist, Rosemary Wright from Ashburn Image

  1.  Make sure you do not use too much fake tan. You do not want to look orange on your wedding day.
  2.  Keep shine down by using loose powder. This reduces the appearance of oiliness on your skin, which is really important for your wedding photography too.
  3.  Avoid having dark eyes and dark lips. Pick one or the other.

Wedding Flowers – by John Paul Florist 

  1. Pick seasonal flowers. Make sure you do your research to find florals you love.
  2. Plan at least 6 months in advance. This will give you and your florist enough time to organise what you want.
  3. Be prepared by having fabric samples or photos of your dresses and colour scheme to find complementary florals.

Wedding Event Design by Annette Hughes from Look Crafty

  1. Research different designers by checking out their websites and ask for recommendations from family and friends who have used a designer. Once you have made a short-list, organise to meet them at a wedding venue to view their work. Make sure you are on the same level creatively and personally. Trust is so important.
  2. Keep an open mind. Listen to the professional and take their expert ideas on board as more often that not they can translate your vision into reality in ways you couldn’t imagine.
  3. DIY is not always the cheaper option and can often work out a lot more expensive.

Wedding Dress by Peggy Doherty from The Bridal Showroom 

  1. Visit bridal shops and go to bridal fairs to find the perfect place to buy from and to pin down your dream dress. The Bridal Showroom offers the most beautiful bridal gowns from the world’s leading designers. Start early, about a year before your wedding because if you find the dress you want it could take up to a year to make.
  2. Keep an open mind, look at bridal magazines, but don’t set your mind on only one style as you may change your mind when you start trying on dresses. A professional will be able to advise you on the best dress to suit your shape.
  3. Find a bridal shop that offers in-house fittings, alterations and one that can hold the dress for you. You need to have confidence in them from the time of fitting until you are leaving your door in the dress.


So excited by the arrival of my new Queensberry sample album featuring Kathleen and Sean’s fab wedding at the Beech Hill Country House.

I’ve worked on developing an amazing new Signature Wedding Collection that I know couples will love. It brings together my award-winning customer service and photography coupled with the very finest products to enjoy your images.

I opted for a square 12 x 12 inch album with a Buckram cover in Sky Blue.

The album is in the Duo style which is dynamic and distinctive. Queensberry explains: “Duo albums are a fusion of matted and flushmount pages, creating a uniquely modern presentation album. Pages are clean-edged and images mounted in pagemount or overlay style.”