Weddings and chocolates….

‘A wedding is like a box of chocolates….you never know what you’re going to get’ just my variation on that famous quote from the Forrest Gump movie. I’ve often thought so to myself since I started to photograph weddings. It starts with receiving an email or a call from a stranger asking ‘are you available on …..? or ‘please send me information on your wedding packages’, then progress through a booking process as appropriate via phone, email, Skype, face to face consultation or some combination of all and look forward to the wedding date coming around. I do a pre-wedding meeting where possible close to the wedding date also. The purpose of all this is to gather the pertinent information such as type of ceremony, who is involved, assess timelines etc. and get to know a little more about the couple and their specific wedding plans.


On Thursday last I had the pleasure of providing my wedding photography services to Mary & Steve. As above it started with an early morning email briefly outlining some requirements. In the subsequent exchange it transpired Mary was in Virginia planning her destination wedding to Ireland to marry Steve in Trim, Co. Meath with 50+ of their family & friends making the trip.  Information was exchanged, a booking made and we arrange to meet in person over Christmas on their pre-wedding visit to Dublin. With my schedule and their schedule it was a brief enough meeting concentrating on the high level elements. I have attended weddings in the states in the past and follow a number of US wedding photographers etc. online and was looking forward to what might transpire. As with all my weddings I consider it a privilege to be selected to document the couple’s wedding day. When the day itself arrives to a certain degree it’s a leap into the unknown, a mix of tension, nervousness, excitement (me that is, not to mention the wedding party), deep breath, knock  at the door and go from there, immerse yourself and work hard.


One of the aspects I like about being a wedding photographer is it that it give’s you in varying ways a small glimpse into the live’s of your clients (before, during & after), the people around them, what they mean to them, their personalities, their interactions etc.   So it was last Thursday, I very quickly got the feeling that this was going to be a something a little special to be part off.  A reasonably sized group but yet closely knit group of friends & family of different ages, cultures, backgrounds and geographical locations had converged in Dublin & Trim for an adventure and to coin another phrase ‘the craic’.

There are very few weddings that doesn’t have these elements and nothing to do with the venue, the number of guests, the budget etc. but for me this had a sprinkling of something extra that just struck a chord. Maybe it was just trying to imagine the logistics & volume of baggage that must have been involved (some members of the group had or are having extended holidays in Ireland & Europe before or after Thursday) or the level of detail that went into it. Maybe it was the small deviations from a typical Irish wedding including the attire of the bridal party – ten in total and their complete involvement throughout, the ‘no photos at the ceremony’ request to guests (which was adhered to) but free rein for social media posting otherwise, the Bridesman,  the ‘First Look with Mary’s father, Her father’s outfit change, the travel theme and more.  For me it’s always the people that makes a good wedding, great. From the 1st moment until I dragged myself away the openness and friendliness of this group was evident. In fairness I have experienced this at many of my weddings but I think overall the camaraderie displayed between Mary, Steve and their guests stood out more than usual, signified by the ad-hoc hand-tying ceremony performed by all the bridal party during our main photo session at Trim Castle.   

Thankfully I did manage to meet-up with Mary & Steve again briefly on Saturday morning before heading onward to their honeymoon in Spain. They gave me this lovely memento that was part of their wedding decor and added a personal inscription on it, before having seen an image. I’m looking forward to further contacts in the coming weeks and months as I complete their images and orders and hope it will go beyond that.

Wedding prop gift

I also have a new batch of Facebook connections from the group and I’m looking forward to trawling through the image postings of their trips to Ireland and their mementoes of a special day. I hope to do another post of images from the day when ready, thanks for reading.

Wedding Photography Tips


Once you have chosen your preferred wedding photographer, there are a number of ways you can be more prepared for the big day. Today we are talking about the top wedding photography tips that will ensure your finished product is truly beautiful.

Family Photos

Here is a handy list of what photo combinations you will want to get with your family:

Bride and Groom & Bride’s Parents

Bride and Groom, Bride’s Parents & Bride’s Siblings

Bride and Groom, Bride’s Parents, Bride’s Siblings, partners and children.

Bride and Groom, Bride’s Parents & Groom’s Parents

Bride and Groom, Bride’s Parents & Groom’s Parents

Bride and Groom & Groom’s Parents

Bride and Groom , Groom’s Parents and Groom’s Siblings

Bride and Groom , Groom’s Parents, Groom’s Siblings, Partners and Children

Bride and Groom with Grandparents


David McAuley Photography wedding family photos


Little Details

Certain details will make for great photographic opportunities on your wedding day.

  • Personalised or embellished clothes hanger for the dresses
  • Fabulous shoes
  • Antique Jewellery
  • Unusual centerpieces
  • Favours
  • Pocketwatches
  • Hip flasks
  • Wedding speech notes
  • Something old, new, borrowed or blue



David McAuley Photography wedding detail photos



David McAuley Photography wedding detail photos


Emergency Kits

No big day in Ireland would be complete without a little adverse weather, and it is worth being prepared. Your emergency kit should include a pretty umbrella and heel covers so that your beautiful satin heels don’t sink into muddy ground. Tissues, baby wipes and chalk can cover up a multitude of stains on your wedding dress or shoes if a little bit of mud spatters or you get a grass stain on the bottom of your skirt. Even if the weather is dry on the day of the wedding, be wary if it has been raining in the previous few days as the ground may still be soft. Bring a few white towels to place under your dress while photos are being taken outside.  Ensure your bridesmaid has hairspray, extra hair pins and powder to hand in case it is raining or indeed if it is very warm and humid, as your hair and make-up may not stay in place.


David McAuley Photography wedding detail photos


DIY Wedding Ideas

With many couples now eschewing the tradition of having their parents pay for their wedding, saving money is more important than ever. Brides and grooms are now choosing to DIY many elements of their wedding, so today we’re featuring some of our favourite DIY wedding ideas to give you some inspiration!

Candy Buffet

This has been a really popular option for weddings in the past number of years, but if you can’t afford to pay a couple of hundred euros to have someone create a professional candy buffet at your reception, you could give it a go yourself with some help from friends and the staff at your venue. While many suppliers will display the candy on a cart, you could just use a table from the venue and decorate it with a colourful table cloth that matches your wedding theme. See if the venue has any boxes or crates you can stack underneath the cloth to create different heights to place jars and bowls on. You can get some great jars in discount stores and IKEA; and if you know of someone with an account at a cash and carry, ask them nicely if you can use this to buy boxes of your favourite sweets. For a really impressive and professional look, work with your colour scheme and use sweets in varying shades of that colour, or decorate the jars and bowls with ribbons in your theme colour. Don’t forget scoops or spoons for the jars, and paper bags for people to collect their sweets in. You could also jazz the table up with LOVE signs, balloons and tealights, or even a personalised poem.


DIY wedding candy buffet david mcaulley photography
Image via Runaway Chef


‘Will you be my bridesmaid/groomsman’ kits

Ask your bridesmaids and groomsmen to be part of your big day with cool DIY gift boxes. A heavy duty cardboard or a wooden box can be filled with colourful tissue paper or raffia, and filled with the following:

For the girls

  • mini bottle of champagne
  • necklace or bracelet
  • nail polish in the colour scheme of the wedding
  • votive candle

For the guys

  • mini bottle of whiskey
  • cufflinks
  • socks
  • bottle opener

On the inside lid of the box, decorate with the question ‘Will you be my…?’


DIY bridesmaid gift box david mcauley photography
Image via Secret Wedding Blog


Photo Booth

If you can’t afford to splash out for a photobooth, set up a stand with a polaroid camera that also saves the images to a digital file you for to keep but lets your guests keep their polaroid as a keepsake; or alternatively ask them to take two photos and stick one of the pictures to a pinboard for you to take home after the wedding. You can get great props online or in joke shops such as mustaches, crowns, silly glasses and noses, feather boas and signs.


DIY wedding photobooth david mcauley  photography
Image via Wedding Tweets


Do you have any great DIY wedding ideas? Share them with us here!

Surprise Engagement in Howth

I was delighted to be asked recently to help out David with his proposal to long-term girlfriend Ann Marie at the site of their first date on Howth Head in Co. Dublin. David arranged for SocialBee to set up a secret picnic while I hid among the gorse to capture the romantic moment when he popped the question to Ann Marie. The surprise engagement shoot turned out so well that it was even featured on WeddingsOnline recently!





Ann Marie and David met through friends in DIT but it was few years before the stars were aligned for this couple. They moved to Perth four years ago and David thought that this visit home would be the perfect time to ask the love of his life to marry him, and chose the exact spot where they had their first date years earlier. His surprise plans were almost thwarted when Ann Marie announced that she had plan with her family that afternoon, so David had to make a sneaky phone call to her Dad to have the plans cancelled so that everything could go to plan!

surprise proposal shoot howth dead david mcauley photography


As you can see from this photo, David was delighted when Ann Marie said YES!

surprise proposal shoot howth dead david mcauley photography

Melissa from SocialBee had set up a wonderful picnic for the newly engaged couple to enjoy, with a bottle of champagne to celebrate with of course. Ann Marie was surprised and delighted with the amount of thought and effort that David had gone to to arrange everything.

Ann Marie & David’s love was captured perfectly with the site of their first date in the background; a wonderful memory to take away with them and keep forever.

surprise proposal shoot howth dead david mcauley photography

Look your best in wedding photos

When you are going to be investing so much on capturing memories from your wedding day, you will want to ensure that you look your best in the wedding photos. There are a number of ways you can prepare for your photos, so today we are offering our top tips to help you look your best.

Practice makes perfect

Practice smiling in the mirror, or take a few selfies – find out what way of smiling makes you look the best, as well as what feels natural and comfortable. Look back through old photos of yourself and choose your favourites. Mimic your facial expression in the mirror so that you can practice it for the big day. You could also look at how your favourite celebrities pose and smile on the red carpet, and try it out for yourself at home. Be aware that if choose a documentary-style photographer like me, there will be lots of shots of you when you’re not posing too, and these can often be the most beautiful.

David McAuley Photography how to look your best in wedding photos


Get your teeth whitened

If you are self-conscious about your teeth, it may be worth talking to your dentist about the best options. This could mean a couple of cleanings, getting your teeth professionally whitened (avoid cheap home kits available online – looking for trouble!) or perhaps you could invest in clear braces if you would like straighter teeth for your wedding. It’s important to note that all of this may take time, so start thinking about this well in advance of your wedding day so that you can have perfect, long-lasting results.


David McAuley Photography how to look your best in wedding photos


Have an engagement shoot

Having an engagement photoshoot with your wedding photographer is a great way to feel more comfortable with the photographer as well as being able to see how you and your partner work together in a photograph. It might even be a good idea to have the shoot in a location you are thinking of using for your wedding photos so that you are familiar with the light, the terrain and the overall feel of the place. If there are lots of people around, it may make you feel uncomfortable so try to find a quieter time to take the photos or choose somewhere a little more secluded.


David McAuley Photography how to look your best in wedding photos


Think happy thoughts

Many people don’t realise that when they smile for a photograph, the smile isn’t reaching their eyes and can look unnatural in the end result. Think of a joke or a happy memory while taking the photos to help you relax and feel good (this shouldn’t be a problem on the happiest day of your life!)


David McAuley Photography how to look your best in wedding photos


Clean hands & nails

Your hands will probably feature quite a bit in your photographs as there will be a focus on your wedding rings and bouquet, so ensure your hands are really clean, moisturised and that your nails are neat. Have your engagement ring cleaned so that it really sparkles too.


David McAuley Photography how to look your best in wedding photos


Advice for the Groom

Going by tradition, some might say that the groom makes the biggest decision when it comes to wedding planning, as they will more than likely be the one to pop the question. There is often a misconception that once a couple is engaged, the groom takes the back seat and lets his partner do all the planning. However, there are so many ways the groom can stay involved in the wedding planning process, so today we are offering up some advice for the groom and what to expect in the run-up to the big day.


The Big Decisions


Advice for grooms David McAuley Photography


Give your input on the big decisions for the wedding – the date, the location, what kind of ceremony you have, who’s invited, what entertainment you’ll have and what kind of food will be served. Your partner will appreciate the help and you will feel more at ease knowing that you have given your input. It’s likely that you and your partner will have discussed things like the style of wedding you want long before the ring goes on; so ensure that you are on the same page when it comes to this. If you are envisioning an intimate soiree while your fiance is planning for 300 guests in a huge ballroom, now is the time to have a conversation and find a compromise. The same goes for choosing what type of ceremony you’ll have; if you come from different religious backgrounds this will be a very important conversation to have, as you will both want to make your families happy.


Support Your Partner



Advice for grooms David McAuley Photography



If your fiance has taken on most of the wedding planning duties, he or she will undoubtedly become stressed out by some of it and will need your support and patience. Take bad moods and tantrums with a pinch of salt, and ask how you can be there for them. Find out if there are any smaller jobs you and your groomsmen can look after, which will lighten the load on your partner. Most importantly, if you feel the stress is getting to your relationship, why not plan a spontaneous weekend away where you can both relax and forget about the wedding for a few days? It can help to put everything in perspective and give some much-needed breathing space to your partner.


The Stag


Advice for grooms David McAuley Photography



Your best man and/or groomsmen may be planning this, but ensure you give them your input. If you don’t fancy a night in the casino followed by a strip club, then make that clear to them. Keep in mind the budgets of your friends and family members that will be attending – if you know that your best bud is struggling with his bills, then a long weekend in Barcelona may not be the best idea. Keep things simple – you don’t have to travel for hours to have a great experience. A night away doesn’t have to break the bank if you choose budget accommodation or self-catering, and keep it wallet-friendly with some bar food and a pub crawl. Some wise words – leave plenty of time between the stag and the wedding, just in case you have a little ‘tumble’ and end up with a few bruises, or heaven forbid, a broken bone!


Take a time-out on the big day


Advice for grooms David McAuley Photography



On your wedding day, things will go very, very quickly. When the ceremony is over and you’ve taken your photographs, make sure you and your partner take 15 or 20 minutes alone to kick off the shoes, have a small bite to eat (you will be very hungry) and let the events of the day sink in before you return to your guests and the night begins. You will appreciate the day all the more.


Rain on Your Wedding Day

One of the last things a couple wants to think about on their big day is rain or bad weather.  Even in the height of summer, you can’t guarantee a dry day in Ireland, so it’s best to be prepared for it and assume it will happen, rather than just putting the Child of Prague statue outside the night before and hoping for the best. Here are some tips to help you prepare for rain on your wedding day.

Pretty wellingtons and umbrellas

You can now accessorise your bridal party with cute and colourful wet weather gear. Ivory and white umbrellas, adorned with frills, bows and polka dots to match your wonderful dress, or bright red brollies that will make for an incredible photo opportunity. Wellingtons in an array of colours could again make for a fabulous photo opportunity with you and your bridesmaids, while also letting you keep those special high heels safe for dancing later.

Rain on your wedding day wellingtons David McAuley
Image via Want That Wedding

Ask your photographer for advice

Your photographer will be very experienced, and will have shot weddings in all types of weather. Ask them for their advice, so that you can all be prepared for a rainy day. Ask the photographer to research some beautiful indoor or covered photo opportunities. Also ensure to check with your venue if they have any good photo opportunities within the venue itself or on the grounds. Older properties could have incredible bridal suites or an unusual bar which make for beautiful photographic backdrops. You may need to be prepared to be flexible on time; quite often a shower of rain may just last for 15 or 20 minutes so you might be better off to take a quick break from photos and wait for the sun to come back out. If you’re getting married during the winter or early spring when rain is more likely, schedule your ceremony a little earlier so that you are not rushing with your photographs just to get back to the reception on time.

Rain on your wedding day David McAuley
David McAuley Photography

Make-up & Hair

Ensure your make-up artist is using waterproof items, especially on your eyes. It’s one thing to have some mascara tears as you walk down the aisle, but another to have panda eyes in your photographs! There are some great make-up fixer sprays that you can get too. Ask your make-up artist for advice on touch-ups if the weather does dampen the skin when you’re outside. It may be an idea to hire your make-up artist to stay on to do touch-ups before your photos and meal so that you can feel confident all day. The same goes for hair – you don’t want your beautiful up-do to end up looking like a birds nest when you get back to your reception, so ensure your bridesmaids have an emergency kit that includes combs, hairspray and Kirby grips!

Rain on your wedding day David McAuley
David McAuley Photography

Finally, don’t let rain dampen your mood -it’s actually said to be good luck to have rain on your wedding day.

How to Choose a Wedding Photographer


Choosing a wedding photographer is one of the biggest decisions you will make when you are planning your wedding. It can often cost quite a big chunk of your overall budget, but in order to capture all of those amazing memories of your big day, it is an essential purchase to make. Today I’m going to discuss the factors you should take into account when thinking about how to choose a wedding photographer, as well as telling you a little bit more about what I do.


How to choose a wedding photographer David McAuley Ireland



A wedding photographer with a good personality is essential for a number of reasons. Someone with a warm and welcoming personality will make you feel more at ease on your wedding day. If they are confident, they will be able to give you direction without making you feel overwhelmed. Ensure you meet with the photographers you are thinking of booking before paying a deposit so that you can see if you ‘mesh well’ together – someone who you get on with and who immediately makes you feel at ease will be a good match on the day. What is very important in making a couple feel relaxed is always remembering that I am there for them and not for myself. Having the bridal preparations as part of the day’s shoot is always beneficial as I’ve just blended into the mix by the time the ceremony comes around. Part of my job on the day is to guide the couples but not dominate their day. If a couple or bridal party or their guests for that matter, are not relaxed with what is happening then it will be reflected in their images. Every wedding shoot is unique to that couple and what might suit one couple wouldn’t necessarily be comfortable for another couple. Ideally,  I will have met my couples more than once before their wedding day and chatted about all aspects of their plans and what’s important to them.   


How to choose a wedding photographer David McAuley Ireland



Is photography his or her full-time job, or is it something they do a couple of times a year to supplement their income? Someone whose whole career is dedicated to photography will have the very best equipment for taking the photos, editing and producing your albums. Someone who has already invested in the right equipment and can work out their costings exactly will often be able to fit into your budget more easily, rather than someone who is perhaps taking a day off their full-time job to shoot your wedding and needs to cover that cost as well as their equipment and time.


How to choose a wedding photographer David McAuley Ireland



Each photographer will have their own personal style. Some specialise in posed photographs, with a list of shots they need to get throughout the day. This may suit a couple who are very specific about what they want. Others specialise in ‘candid’ or documentary-style photography, which will capture a more natural look and often involves lots of shots of your guests having fun.  My style is a mix of ‘candid’ and ‘directed’ images depending on the stage of the day and often they blend into each other. I may arrange a particular shot but it’s the follow-on images I’m really interested in. For me weddings are about the people involved, not just the couple but also the bridal party, the guests etc. I like to be interactive and try to make people feel at ease. Great venues and decorations are good to shoot but it’s the emotions & interactions between the people that really counts.


How to choose a wedding photographer David McAuley Ireland



When it comes to how much to budget for wedding photography, it is a very individual decision for each couple. While some couples have a very comfortable budget, others may not have as much to spend. Some wedding experts suggest that your wedding photography will cost 10%-15% of overall budget. Many photographers however will have a number of different packages that can suit a variety of budgets, for example providing your finished photos in digital format only. This could be a great option for a couple on a smaller budget who may choose to get their photographs printed and framed at a later stage. It is important to bear in mind that a photographer coming in a lot cheaper than some of their competitors may not always mean that you will get the same quality. The overall time involved in shooting and editing photos right through to delivering the final product can be 30+ hours. You must decide how important the photography of your wedding is to you, and decide how that matches into your budget. If it is an essential part of your day, then your budget should reflect that, as it would for any major purchase in your life be it wedding or non-wedding related.


How to choose a wedding photographer David McAuley Ireland


Meet David – David McAuley Photography

I decided recently that writing a blog would be a great way to connect with my clients, past, present and future. I’m really excited to be sharing some great tips with you over the coming months, including help with choosing your wedding photographer, how to prepare for a photoshoot and lots of other tips and tricks. Today I’m sharing a ‘behind-the-scenes’ piece to give you a look at the world of David McAuley Photography!

I’m from Palmerstown, Dublin 20. I never managed to stray far from it and I still live there currently. I’m supported by my wife Annemarie, and we have 3 children, 2 girls aged 11 & 15 & a boy aged 13. Annemarie is originally from Co. Kerry and we go down whenever feasible.

I had a long & evolving IT career which I thoroughly enjoyed. I did a couple of years as a self employed contractor but eventually got a yearning to step back from the large corporate environments and to try something new. I decided to re-activate my interest in photography, starting from scratch. My timing wasn’t great with the start of the recession and it was slower than I would have liked but it did give me time to learn and practice. During that time for my wedding photography I attended the Norwich school of Photography which gave me a baseline to build upon, in both the business and practical skills knowledge. It also gave me the confidence to specialise in wedding photography.



My core clients and specialty are weddings. I strive to give wedding couples a level of service and value that all their planning and investment deserves. I also like to shoot for businesses; this includes products, headshots and events. I also photograph families and family celebrations from babies to milestone birthdays – this is an area I plan on expanding on this year.


David McAuley Wedding Photography Ireland



Although my early career choice would be considered more logical and methodical in nature, my favourite aspect of my business now is the personal interaction with clients and subjects, be it a few minutes at an event or over the course of eighteen months with a wedding couple before, during and after their wedding. Of course interaction on the wedding day itself is special  and that extends to their families and guests. Thanks to social media, this often lasts a lot longer than just the time between first booking and the day they receive their finished albums. I also love being able to provide a and/or products that means something to my clients be it a wedding album that will trigger memories for a couple of their big day, or images to promote & generate interest in a business. It’s not all fun – I can sometimes find it difficult keeping up with the admin parts of running a business – I guess I’ve lost some of that logical, methodical approach from my former career!


David McAuley Wedding Photography Ireland



It’s important when running your own business to find time to unwind too. I sometimes think I never switch off, but once I step away from my screen there’s the usual family & domestic duties, the odd beer or meal with friends or sometimes just a little daydreaming. I’ve started doing a small (and I mean small) bit of running for exercise recently. I’m hoping to start a project this year to get all the family camcorder tapes and older snapshots that languish on CD’s & phones into print and digi-clips if time permits. I like watching movies although I seem to have missed so many in the last few years. I will try to keep track of the F1 season when it starts. Photography in general and businesses and the story behind businesses, both big and small, interest me – I’m not a great reader in terms of attention span but I like to watch and listen to business shows and documentaries.