Deb Rouse Schwedhelm Workshop, Bali

Underwater Photography with Deb Rouse Schwedhelm

I don’t know how I first discovered Deb’s work, but thanks to some online serendipity I found this amazing artist a few months back and have been a fan ever since.

In an online community that is completely saturated with images, Deb’s art stood out to me for it’s honesty, depth and meaning. I am also a big water fan so that heightened my appeal to her work.

I noticed her post about doing a workshop in Bali and once I read it I thought it just seemed soooo perfect but somehow didn’t think I could do it. So I found myself reading it over and over, many times a day and dreaming about it, still not thinking that it was possible. I tortured myself over it for a long time until I finally decided I would ‘feel the fear’ and just book it!

I can’t even explain how valuable this course has been to me and is to me, as part of my photographic journey. It was everything I had hoped for AND so much more! Deb is the kindest, most generous, modest  soul and is a fountain of knowledge for any budding photographer. She is testament of how hard work, commitment and focus is essential to produce work to be proud of.

On top of everything I learned from Deb, I also had the added bonus of sharing the workshop with the BEST group of girls EVER! I couldn’t have imagined that we would have bonded so much in just 5 days but I now feel like I have the loveliest network of photographer friends from all parts of the world! Deb provided us with a safe place for us all to open up about our hopes, dreams, fears and aspirations in our photography journey.

Thank you, thank you, thank you Deb for your inspiration, your generosity, your knowledge and for bringing me to Bali!xxxxxx



Below are just a few of the water images taken in the beautiful land of Bali during the workshop.

Sunday with the cousins

As a child, my weekends and Summers were spent in the muck, in the fields or working in the bog at Altacamcosy outside Greencastle with my cousins. Wee Joseph gets so excited at the weekend to see his cousins AKA ‘The Kerr Bears’ in Carrickmore where they get outside to fed the hens, run in the muck, get their clothes dirty and have far more craic than they ever would playing with an iPad or watching TV. Also the added bonus for me is that he has a great night’s sleep after a day in the fresh air!

Rustic Runway Vintage Fashion Shoot

I have been so excited about this blog! I had previously asked Ann-Louise if she would like to help style a fashion shoot for me as it is something I have been dying to do, so was delighted when she came to me to shoot some promo for her new Vintage Clothing Website, Rustic Runway. This is a new unique online store for all her exclusive hand-picked Vintage items and she has put together a really special collection.

It started with scouting for models on Facebook, making sure Emma-Kate Murphy was free to do the make-up and Hi-Tech hair salon also kindly offered their services on the day. So following the replies from the models we arranged to meet up at the studio and have a trial run and we were totally blown away by the talented models we had found! Local girls, Colleen Kerlin, Alanna Conway, Molly McCay, Megan Maybin and Paula Bowes made top the gorgeous team of Vintage models for us to work with. Big thank you also to Clara Lyltte and Lisa McClaren who did all the hard graft on the day and  keeping the outfits in order!

We chose the gorgeous surrounding at the An Creagan Centre with its wild bogland and rustic scenery giving the perfect backdrop for the fashion shoot. Emma-Kate totally transformed the girls (who were gorgeous to start with!) and made them totally stunning. Hi-Tech hairdresser gave them all unique vintage hairstyles in style with the shoot.

I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I enjoyed taking them.xx

The Year That Was 2012.

This is a blog I have been meaning to do since the start of December and am only getting round to my review of last year as we are getting close to the end of January.

2012 was a major transition year for me, and was an extremely tough yet rewarding one. I started the year not in a good place, in a stressful job which was taking a little bit of my soul away everyday. It had got to the stage that I had become physically sick over it as I knew there must be more out there than a job which was causing me stress yet had no rewards. I felt that I was not achieving my best or didn’t feel I was free to be as creative as I wanted to be. I had a feeling that I had so much more to give.

I finally quit my day job in February as my health was suffering. This was not an easy choice as I was giving up the security of a monthly wage and I had no promise that I would find work but I had to believe in myself and that it would all work. I have  always loved photography and have been practicing me technique since I got my first SLR in the first year at Uni. I now had nine years of working as a press photographer under my belt, which taught me many things.I had to believe that I could make a living out of my passion, in the middle of a recession of all times! Photography to me has always been my calling and I can’t imagine ever not doing it. Anyone who is interested in photography will understand this, it is something that you simply get hooked on.

So I spent the first few months of the year reading every business book I could get my hands on, contacting people for advice, spending hours in the library doing research and I was getting very  excited about becoming  my own boss. The business side of photography was something that was totally new to me but something that I really enjoyed as I learnt more about it.

I found that people came to me at just the right time. I saw an advert for the Prince’s Trust Business Training course and successfully made my business plan with their help and was delighted to be approved a business loan, which was such a great help. The Prince’s Trust also appointed me a business mentor, Niamh Taylor , whose advice has been invaluable to me this year. Niamh also had a great year as she was awarded CIM Ireland Senior Marketing Professional 2012!  

I also received continuous support and advice from the Omagh Enterprise Centre, who have some amazing staff who are always there to help. I couldn’t have done it without them,

At the start of Easter I got a call from South West College who had an opening for a photography teacher which I jumped at. I took a lovely group of students for their NCFE qualification in photography, which was such a great experience and I was very proud that they produced such amazing work which they then exhibited and sold in aid of CHARIS Cancer Charity.

My dream was slowly becoming reality as my business plan was also approved a grant by  ARC (Assisting Rural Communities) and they  agreed to offer me a grant to get my studio open at Clanabogan. I had my planning permission approved and we got the work started on transforming dad’s garage into a nice space for my studio and once I got building control passed I was able to start taking my first studio bookings in my own first studio!

I had been following the work of Derry/Donegal photographer Jay Doherty (if you hadn’t heard of him, check his work now) and really liked his style of work (if you hadn’t heard of him, check his work now) . He agreed to let me help assist him at weddings which was a great experience for me. I have done many weddings on my own but I do think that as a photographer it is great experience to assist other photographers and share ideas. It also helped that most of his weddings were in totally breath-taking locations on the coast, which he totally utilises in his work.

I had started the year with a totally empty diary and a massive empty wall calendar on the wall in my spare room and it made me smile as I took it down at the end of the year that surprisingly my diary and calendar had been filled to the brim. It was definitely a year of hard graft, building  self-confidence and believing that it would all be ok!

As I went through my portfolio from 2012 I was surprised to find so much work, when you have your head in your work you don’t actually realise how much you are actually producing. I have met such beautiful people this year, been part of so many special moments at weddings, on family and newborn shoots and much more. I am so grateful for all of it.

I now have a year ahead of me where I know that it is now time to step it up a gear and keep working on my dream.

I hope my year can inspire others to not be afraid to follow your dream. For me, it wasn’t an option but a must. If I can do it, anyone can.

I have had a favourite saying for years which I keep it on my fridge door, ‘Reach for the stars and the only place you can fall is the sky!’

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has helped me on this journey that was 2012.xx





Feeling Inspired!

I feel like i am bursting to the brim with ideas and inspiration right now after a special trip to London last week.

The first month of the year is when I usually go back to the drawing board and set some goals for the year ahead, so this past week was spent doing just that at the 2013 Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers convention in London. The convention is the coming together of some of the leaders in this business who kindly give their time to tell us about their own personal experiences and give us some advice on the path that we are taking.

It is so inspiring to hear what some people have achieved through their drive and passion for photography and hope that this gives to the encouragement I need to make this year a fruitful one for me!

Celebrations Donegal-Style!

Driving over the Pettigo Mountain on a beautiful sunny September evening it was clear that the Donegal players had the support of the entire county. Messages of good luck for Jimmy and his team were written on the wall for all to see as you approached the border

Even in the wilderness of the Pettigo mountain, Donegal coloured turf-bags, abandoned yellow and green cars  and Donegal bunting from every homestead-these supporters were serious!

It’s been exactly 20 years since the county won their first All-Ireland final so it’s not surprising that the party started in the Diamond in Donegal Town as soon as the final whistle went.