July 2023 Portrait Highlights

Summer, where did you go????

After the joy and heat that June brought, we were brought back down to earth (and to the studio) with our usual July weather! But, despite the dampened spirits, we had amazing people (and pets) in the studio this month.

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Chloe & Ciarán's wedding at the Ballymascanlon House Hotel

Ballymascanlon House Hotel Wedding - Chloe & Ciarán

Our Wedding Journey...

Get to the Point!!
Warrenpoint that is, as it seems it is the epicentre of love and togetherness ❤️! Having been to 5 weddings in the 5 weeks prior to this date – it was finally Chloe & Ciarán’s turn to tie the knot! Chloe, a primary school and Ciarán, Operations Risk Analyst, had been in the middle of their own wedding season before their big day came upon Warrenpoint…and what a day it was! Enjoyed by their family and closest friends, the atmosphere at the wedding was joyous from dusk until dawn. Both the bride and groom’s laid back approach to the day paid dividends – it resulted in a party festival whereby we hope that we helped keep the party going (while sneaking a few photos!). We caught up with them after their amazing honeymoon in Boston & Mexico to hear how the party unfolded…

How did you first meet and get together?

Ciarán worked with my friend Orla the bridesmaid in a shop in Warrenpoint and we met after a night out almost 10 years ago. He walked me home and dropped his bank card along the way. It was handed in to the shop that week and his sisters began their investigation to work out who the girl was. They had a list of options and we managed to keep it under wraps for the summer as Ciarán was six years older than me and we wanted to make sure we were serious before I headed to Uni and we told people. The biggest shock was to his sister Aisling when he told her the secret girl was her student from St Louis and her response was “not the wee quiet girl who didn’t speak”. I don’t think she sticks to that statement any more!

Tell us about the proposal – where, when, how?

Long story here.. We got engaged in Cuan Mor Lodges in Comber. On the 4th December 2020 we set off after I finished school. There was storms that day so Ciarán was getting text messages from the cabins to say his plans to propose on the jetty weren’t safe, a teepee tent kept blowing over so they decorated up a room for us. On the way there I had said a friend in school mentioned us getting engaged and Ciarán tried to sway my thoughts on the subject by basically saying we weren’t ready for that so the journey was a bit quiet. But once we got to the room it was beautifully decorated with candles and flowers and I had no idea what was about to happen so when he I asked I said no. But we cleared that up and are now happily married.

" I had no idea he was about to propose, so when he asked I said no. But we cleared that up and are now happily married 🤣"

— Chloe

The Wedding Planning...

Where and how did you choose your dress?

I viewed dresses from Banbridge to Donegal and a friend of ours had opened White Blossom Bridal in Warrenpoint so I called in to see Danielle and have a look. Turns out after all the driving I said yes 5 minutes from our house. Danielle couldn’t have been better for sorting everything I needed.

How did you find the experience?

It really is true what people say that “When you know you know”. I had tried on a good few dresses before going to White Blossom and once I put on the dress I could see myself walking down the aisle in it. Overall the experience was brilliant getting to try on so many beautiful dresses.

What was the best part of planning your big day?

We just really wanted to give everyone a good day out. We have been to nearly 50 weddings together and wanted to make sure everyone coming was going to have a fun day at hours. I am very lucky to have Ciarán the chief organiser who looked after most of the planning and organising. I just had to rock up to the chapel really and even that I was late to.

And the most stressful part?

To be perfectly honest we didn’t find anything that stressful. As I’ve said it is easy for me when Ciarán is so organised but even sorting guest lists and tables wasn’t what it was made out to be. We expected fall outs at those times but managed to sort all without any drama.

"It really is true “When you know you know”. Once I put on THE dress I could see myself walking down the aisle in it."

— Chloe

The Wedding Day...

How did the day go?

It’s very cliche but it really is the best day of your life. We had received lots of good advice before the wedding day to take moments to soak it all enjoy and enjoy the time with our friends and family but suddenly it’s after midnight and Magiggs is calling the last song of the day. It goes by in a flash but we don’t think we’ll have to do it again as we think it was right the first time. Following the wedding the word “fun” was thrown about by everyone we had there with us. We smiled and laughed all day and are so grateful to everyone who made it such a special day.

Why did you book us as your photographers?

As we had so many weddings we asked those we’ve been to before and the name had come up so much when we looked at the photos on your Instagram we booked an appointment.

Our Favourites...

"Ciarán and I loved the photo of us both under the bridge in Carlingford. It’s just a beautiful picture and reminds us of the laughs we had with our bridal party there."

Were there any particular photos you loved (or hated!) getting taken?

In the run up to the wedding Ciarán was a bit apprehensive as he is Warrenpoint’s version of Chandler in Friends and doesn’t love photos. When we received our Sneak Peak we couldn’t believe how natural the photos are and some of our favourites are the ones we didn’t know were being taken. From showing the photos to our family and friends they all said how happy we look and that was all we wanted from the photos to show how great a day we had. Personally we loved the photos inside the chapel too after the guests have gone as they look so magical. We didn’t hate the family photos but would recommend a foghorn to get your family there quickly so it doesn’t go on a bit long LOL!

Do you think we, as your photographers, helped you enjoy your day?

Absolutely. From Simon arrived in my mum and dads home house you wouldn’t have known him and the videographer Conrad were there. They were just part of the day in no time. I would say the laughs started from Simon came through the front door and didn’t stop until we gave him a hug when he was leaving the Ballymascanlon. He made everyone feel at ease and we heard nothing but great reviews from our family and friends who were involved in the photos across the day. We couldn’t recommend you enough.

Were there any near disasters/funny incidents?

When we left the chapel to head to Carlingford Ciarán’s sisters Aisling and Claire had kindly gotten us an Ice Cream truck so all our guests could enjoy a treat. We went up to get an ice cream for the photo and mine snapped as I was lifted it and was nearly covered in strawberry sauce but the ice cream man saved it in time.

What advice would you give to other couples planning their wedding?

Don’t let anything get you too stressed because it is only you who’ll notice the little things on the day. All of your guests will just be so happy to be there to spend that special day with you they won’t notice if a flower is missing or a sign is in the wrong place. And do try to take a minute to look around the room and see all those people who are there for you two- it really is the most amazing day.

"I would say the laughs started from Simon came through the front door and didn’t stop until we gave him a hug when he was leaving the Ballymascanlon"

- Chloe & Ciarán

June 2023 Portrait Highlights

Summer is here!! 🌞🌞🌞🌞

Tis’ the real season to be jolly….summertime is upon us and the weather has been spectacular! We had multiple outdoor shoots this month, including a lot of returning customers who it was great to catch up with and see how their families have grown.

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May 2023 Portrait Highlights

Motivation comes from working on things we care about

We had so many great customers in this month – both new and returning ones that it was a truly special month. Whilst Ciaran and I love photography, it is the people who truly motivate us to produce life lasting images. This month we were lucky to have so clients who wanted to push the ‘envelope’ and look for something different . We duly obliged…

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Bobby from Motion Media shooting a video whilst in long grass at the edge of a lake

Ask the Wedding Expert - Motion Media Productions

Hello. I am Bobby from Motion Media Productions :-)

First up in our new series of ‘Ask the Wedding Experts’ is Bobby McKeown. Bobby first started his cinematography business in 2007 and named it Motion Media Productions.

Having always had an interest in audio/music/video, Bobby has counted himself very lucky to have made a career out of it and what a career!

He specialises in weddings and considers it a pleasure to be asked along to a couples special day. Having witnessed his style first hand, we would describe it as being very discreet and unobtrusive during a wedding. He will regularly get feedback from couples saying: “Bobby, we hardly even noticed you were there most of the day”.

Well, I can guarantee he is here with us today as he answers our customer related questions. So lets begin!

Easy one to start with here Bobby…what is your approach to filming weddings, and what type of videography style do you specialise in?

I want the couple, along with their family and friends to enjoy the day without feeling they’re constantly being filmed. I pride myself on being discreet and unobtrusive.

My style would be a hybrid between documentary and cinematic. Couples receive their full doc edit and also a short highlights clip.

That leads me nicely into the next question – what is included in your wedding videography packages?

My most popular package includes filming from bridal prep in the morning right up to dancing and everything in-between. I have options to exclude speeches or dancing.

"I pride myself on being discreet and unobtrusive."

— Bobby, Motion Media

We know the price range of the photography market pretty well – but what should a couple expect to pay for a quality wedding video package?

My packages range from £900 to £1300. Their chosen package can be changed and confirmed right up to 2 weeks before the wedding.

That seems very reasonable – considering the effort and quality that goes into the wedding video. Ok, lets go slightly left field…what are your passions outside of weddings?

Cliche – but I love spending time with my wife, family and friends.. holidays together, good food or even just a drive with old school tunes playing! We have a fur-baby Toby who is spoilt rotten.

I enjoy training and trying to stay fit and healthy! Refusing to admit I’m getting older lol.

Haha! I feel your pain on that one! Ok, without giving too much away about your age – how long have you been filming weddings, and how many have you filmed in the past year?

I’ve been shooting weddings for over 20 years!

Last year was very busy.. busier than usual with so many previous weddings rescheduled due to covid. Thankfully 2023 and 2024 continue to be busy and 2025 is coming in too.

Brilliant! Now, we are already know the answer to this one, but for our the sake of readers – are you be the main videographer on the day of a wedding, or will you be working with a team?

Yes, I work by myself on the day.. although I’m thankful to be part of a great professional wedding community and know I can call for help if/when I ever need to.

"I work by myself on the day.. although I’m thankful to be part of a great professional wedding community."

— Bobby, Motion Media Productions

I agree, being part of that wider wedding community is hugely important. Now – trying to keep it ‘current’ -Videography has changed so much in the digital age – how do you stay current in this modern age?

My style hasn’t drastically changed over the years. My clients appreciate the longer style edit. I only get one chance on the day – so I still like to capture as much as I can for them.

In recent years camera gimbals and drones have allowed for shots that were never feasible years ago! I always try to include drone shots with all my videos.

Delivery has also changed.. Currently I supply the final film on USB, but I’m also introducing online delivery, which allows you to share it with friends and family anywhere in the world.

Video from Suzanne & Gareths wedding - shot by Ciaran O'Neill Photography

Can couples request specific shots or moments that they want captured on our wedding day?

Yes.. Although I like to capture the wedding day as it naturally unfolds and don’t like to manipulate or recreate special moments.. I’m also keen to hear what’s important to the couple.. These might include; drone shot of the family home, footage of their children (including fur-babies) or a particular song captured during the ceremony.

I don’t take any offence when couples speak up.. I’d rather know so I can do it for them.

I’m trying hard to not make this question about Ciaran O’Neill Photography – so I’ll attempt to keep it general. How do you work with the photographer and other vendors during the wedding, and how do you ensure that everyone is working together effectively?

I’m happy for the photographer to take lead throughout the day when guiding couples during their photos.. but I’m also there to back them up. To help round up bridal party/family etc. If I spot something happening I’ll always alert the photographer, as I know they often do the same for me. It’s important to work as a team. I’m very lucky to have met so many wedding vendors over the years and now consider them friends. A wedding day is often like a day out working with your mates!

Fantastic answer. I couldn’t agree more, vendor relationships are very important to ourselves as well. Ok, last question before I let you inevitably hit the gym for the 6th time today…have you noticed any changes in the industry over the last 10 years?

NI weddings are often very traditional – which is lovely! and I feel the structure and run of the day is still very similar 10 years on. However, I have noticed that speeches are getting shorter and some opting to exclude them completely.

Humanist ceremonies are much more popular and they’re so personal to the couple. I often hear guests remark on how relaxed and enjoyable the humanist ceremonies are.

In more recent years I’ve be fortunate to capture several same sex marriages. I think it’s great that everyone in NI can now express their life long commitment to their partner through the celebration of marriage with their family and friends. Love is love!

Even better answer! Ok, this is a wee trick I use on my couples – I tell them its the last photo – then as we walk back to their guests I use that opportunity to squeeze another photo in without them realising. Soooo…with that in mind – how did you get into videography?

😂😂 No problem – I was studying sound production and started to help another videographer part time. A few years later I knew it was something I had a passion for and could make it my full time career. I started Motion Media and haven’t looked back. The majority of my work comes from vendor referral or from previous couples recommending me to their friends 😀

"Love is love!"

- Bobby, Motion Media Productions

Four Seasons Carling Hotel Wedding - Northern Ireland Wedding Photographers - Ciaran O'Neill Photography - Mariane Freitas De Souza & Bernard Marmion

Four Seasons Carlingford Wedding - Mariane & Benny

Our Wedding Journey...

Having had their first date in Cookstown, Mariane, a dental nurse from Brazil & Benny, a welder from Newry decided after 4 years it was time to tie the knot. In case you recognise them – it was their proposal that caught the headlines as Benny thought it would be a good idea to use the Illuminate Festival in Derry as the venue. He got in contact with the city council and arranged for ‘Mariane, will you marry me? Love Benny’ to be projected 3 stories high onto the front of the Guild hall in Derry, while they waited in Guild hall square. Thankfully, for Benny’s sake she said yes and now the rest is history ❤️❤️❤️ Read on to find out more about their super wedding day in Four Seasons Carlingford…

Lets answer the question that most girls who are reading this blog want to know…where did Mariane get her dress?? Well, she chose it in the amazing Elody Bridal in Newry. Mariane found the experience very exciting and it was amazing to have my family and close friends with her as she chose the perfect dress.

"I loved having my family and friends with me when I chose the wedding dress"

— Mariane

The Wedding Planning...

Next on the list was the wedding venue. The couple really enjoyed visiting the different venues but when they first arrived at the Four Seasons Carlingford…their hearts were set on it and the location. Whilst all that is said, in Mariane’s own words: “It was nice when all of the planning was finished so we could focus on the actual wedding day” and they especially struggled with the table plan (as a lot of couples do!).

"Even the weather was good!"

— Mariane (originally from Brazil)

The Wedding Day...

You only have to look at the stunning photos to see how glorious a day it was. It was like Brazil sent us over the weather as a present for Mariane! In the couples own words, the day went brilliantly – everything was simply perfect!

The photos flowed very quickly, the couple loved the speed of the photos and the craic we had taking them. These remarks mean so much to us as photographers!! Whenever we play our part in a wedding day we always prioritise the couples needs – get amazing photos in the shortest amount of time!

Having found us on Instagram and loving our style, it was an easy match up and the couple were so easy to work with, both before the big day and on it. The venue and weather certainly added to the beauty of the wedding – the couple in particular loved the photos taken around Carlingford.

Mariane’s advice for newlyweds for is to plan early and have as many plans in place as early as possible. Save yourself the stress of trying to get things booked in the months and weeks leading up to the wedding. Its great advice, take the pressure off early and get the wedding vendors you’ve always wanted 🙂

"Ciaran was very funny and made us laugh a lot, especially the slagging between him and the videographer!"

- Mariane & Benny