Kate McDaid in Studio


Kate paid me a visit recently to check out the progress of my new studio and also for a quick test shoot. Its great working with Kate and it was a pleasure working with her again. This is the second time shooting with Kate, who is the current Miss Irish Sun and is signed with Andrea Roche Model Agency. You can read about our first shoot together that was also published in the Irish Sun  HERE.

Kate brought along her friend Aimee Connolly, who is a talented Make-Up artist down for the trip and to look after the make-up for the day.  Aimee done a great job in creating the look that we were after, which was a natural feeling. Check out her FaceBook page in the link above.

The aim for this shoot was to get some nice simple, natural looks. Styling was kept minimal, make up was toned down and the lighting was not too fancy or dramatic (while trying out some new things). The ultimate aim being to put the emphasise on the model, Kate in this case. As Matthew Jordan Smith says, Kate’s natural beauty is the hero of the shoot, not the cloths or the make-up.

The shot on the right is my favourite from the day. I am happy once I get one great shoot from every shoot, thats what I aim for. if I get more than that, then its a bonus. I like this shot because it’s all about the expression in Kate’s face.  The expression, the moment is key. As I grow and develop my photography, I realise more that although you need to know the technical aspects of photography, you also needs to know what actually makes a good image. You could have the best lighting in the world, but if the model does not work well for you, then the image will suffer. Conversely, you may know nothing about lighting but you may take great photos of people because you can capture them at their best.

We had a pre-shoot meeting a few days before the shoot to go over ideas and to put together a shoot plan. We had a rough idea as to the looks that we wanted. Inspiration for this shoot came heavily from the work of Gilles-Marie Zimmerman and his Simply | Project. Being able to create such great images while giving the impression that the work & effort was minimal is fascinating.

Although we had inspiration, the aim was never to copy another photographers work intentionally. The idea is to use others work as a canvas and then make it your own, put your spin on it etc. It is healthy from an educational point of view to try to copy other people’s work, in order to learn new things.  You don’t necessarily have to show this “copied work” to anybody. Once you know how you created the look using the lights a certain way etc, you can then go onto creating your own images using those techniques while putting your own twist on it.

The next shot is another favourite of mine from the shoot. Again, it’s all nice and simple, but for me its the expression that make the shot.


Thats all now for now. The studio is coming along nicely. Once its all done I will post up about it and give details on its availability for renting etc.

Holly Carpenter – Miss Ireland 2011

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Meet the current Miss Ireland, Holly Carpenter. These are a small selection of shots from Holly’s last shoot before she headed off to London to compete in the 2011 Miss World Competition. These images ran as part of a piece by the Irish Sun Paper ( Oct 17th 2011). The shoot was all about the swimware as she needed some shots for the Miss World Competition. Holly has a good chance of winning it for Ireland, currently 12/1 on PaddyPower.com.

I worked with Holly before for a Dublin Mag Shoot, along with the other Miss Ireland contestants. We had talked about a shoot long before that but it only came together a few weeks ago after she won Miss Ireland. Hair and Make-up for this shoot were the charge of the the fantastic Julie Caulfield whom I have worked with several times before now. Julie’s sister Serena was at hand to assist for the day and the location was the impressive Wright Venue, Swords.

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I would like to wish Holly all the best in the competition and I reckon that she will do great. She was great to work with and has the right stuff I reckon. I look forward to shooting with her again with the Miss World Crown 🙂 Good Luck Holly!!!

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Rachel Wallace – Miss Sunday World 2010

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Rachel Wallace is the 2010 Miss Sunday World. Rachel came down to my studio with her friend Hazel for some fun and a shoot. It was a fun-filled few hours that resulted in some great shots that got published in the Sunday World (Oct 9th). See the tear sheet here. Along with being a former Miss Sunday World, Rachel is also signed with Assets Model Agency. She is a great model and fun to work with. The girl can pull more looks in 20 seconds than most. That skill / confidence level help making the short video so easy. The styling was provided by Carmel Daly. Unfortunately she was not able to make it down on the day of the shoot, she sent Rachel down very organised with plenty of out fits for the shoot.

** Edit ** See our Second Shoot here https://www.richie.ie/2012/03/rachel-wallace-the-hotel-room-shoot/

Earlier images from this shoot which showed a Rachel smoking caused a little debate. Being honest, I knew it would and that is why the pictures were posted. I thought it was better to have people talking about your work over something such as smoking, rather than it not being noticed at all. You can see the post in question HERE.

This was the second shoot in my new studio and I am still very much in the testing phase. I am not ready to do up a full-blown post on the new studio just yet. I need to get to grips with it more, learn all its faults and failings before I can give a comprehensive write-up on it.

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The first shoot in the new studio was with Lydia a short while ago.  Shooting in the studio has been interesting so far. It is just as much of a challenge as shooting on location. When you are on location, you have an extra element to use for your composition…. be it a building, a beach etc. The location becomes part of the subject. Adding a model into the frame then should then be complemented by the location and vise versa. Being on a location means that you are there to shoot it as you see it (usually) and you are not going to be chopping and changing anything majorly around. The main thing that you would usually be controlling if your lighting, and its the lighting that sets the look of the shot.

Shooting on location results in unique results each time. This is why my body of work has been so diverse to date. Shooting in the studio will mean consistency and this will change the flow of my portfolio from its current state. The current state being one of loads of unique shots, and that being changed (maybe) to one of many similar style shots. This ultimately is not a bad thing, it just depends on the how you want your portfolio to look. Being able to create a different looking set of images in the same space with the same equipment seems daunting. Is it necessary?

I will do up a more detailed post on studio shooting once my is fully finished.

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I decided to play around with the video function of the Canon 1D mkIV during the shoot also. No point in paying all that cash for a piece of equipment if you don’t at least try to get the full use out of it right. Rachel was a great model to try it out with, that goes back to her fun personality and her skill in being able to change pose so well.

Kate McDaid – Miss Irish Sun 2011


Kate McDaid is Miss Irish Sun 2011 and a model with Andrea Roche Agency. She seen my work and got in touch on FaceBook to organise a shoot. We exchange some ideas over email, met up for a coffee to finalise the details and the rest as they say is history. It was a great opportunity to work with Kate as she is the current Miss Irish Sun, there would have been a great chance to get some work published. The guys at the Sun loved the shots and they got published today (Aug 2nd 2011). This was first time getting work published, nor will it be the last. I have few bits and pieces coming out over the next week or so.

The shoot team was the same as the last few shoots. Gill Keogh was on the styling end. She knows the area around Howth and found this cool little location that we used. Tassia Fitzimons was on hair duties again. Lastly, the lovely Ann-Jean Fitzsimons was on make-up duties.

Photoshoot by Richie Buttle

With the human team members assembled, I have some new members to my camera team. These being my new Canon 1D mkIVand Pocket Wizzards. No longer will I be bloging about poverty wizards or Nikon gear, its it onwards and upwards from here on.

Testament to Canon and Pocket Wizards, I literally picked up the new camera and all the gear, drove to the shoot, put the card and batteries in and started shooting. Coming from using 1D mkIII’s from my weekend Sports & Events work with DE Photo, I was familiar with the Canon. I set it to RAW, Flash WB and set the exposure in manual mode and started shooting. For the pocket wizards (Mini TT1 & Flex5’s) I just put in the batteries, attached the appropriate PW’s and turned them on.  On the whole the PW’s worked great, but there is some little nags that I will sort out once I read the manual and master them.

Back to Kate though. Between the rain and the lack of light, we didn’t get to finish the shoot in the second location. Which was a pity because the last two looks were going to be even sexier. Keep it here though as we will be finishing off the shoot soon.

Photoshoot by Richie Buttle

Lydia Coleman Beach Shoot

June and July are turning out to be a pretty busy month with shoots. With the few days of fine weather that we get… in between all the rain, its the perfect chance to get out onto the beach and take some shots. Only days after my last shoot with Lydia, we were back at it again, striking while the iron was still hot so to speak. I was also shooting Alyson Boyle at the same time, but I will put her pics into a separate post.

The team was the same as the night shoot. We had Ann-Jean Fitzsimons on make-up and Gill Keogh on Styling.



I like the shot above of Lydia. The make up was kept very minimal and natural to bring out Lydia’s freckles. And yes, both of us were in the water for this shot. I was hand holding the Speedlight and the umbrella in my left hand while trying not to drop the camera from my right hand. A little bit of desaturation in post and that is this image done.

The shot below is another great one of Lydia. I spoke before of her great smile, and here it is.


The shot above is all with natural light and a reflector. Some times natural light is just better, this is one of those cases. The reflector created nice catch lights in her eyes also as bonus.

I will finish up with this image, again showing Lydia’s great smile.


Stay tuned for the shots of Alyson in a few days.

Here are some Behind the Scenes shots of the crew at work 🙂


Orla Murphy – First Encounter

2011 got off to a great start in terms of shoots. With shooting Hannah recently, Orla here and with other shoots organised, it will be a busy year. The plan for this year is to up the game more and to really improve on the shots. Part of that plan included doing more shoots with a full team (Hair, Makeup, Stylist etc. ) and agency models. Orla is signed with Assets and have been doing quite well for her self. She is a beautiful girl and has a great personality to match. We were shooting pieces by award winning Fashion Designer Umit Kutluk.

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I met Umit last year through the DIT fashion show and always kept him in the back of my mind for a shoot. When I confirmed the shoot date with Orla, I then got in touch with Umit to finally get around to shooting with his stuff. That is the great thing about networking and making contacts, if opens up opportunities for collaborations projects.

Hair and Makeup was done by the fabulous Julie Caulfield. Julie really knows her stuff when it comes to makeup. She done a fantastic job with Orla as the shots shoe. Even the close up shots turned out great. Normally you can spot bad makeup in tight head shots because the shot is so close, you can see every little detail. The shoot was a fail in one sense, yet a success in others. The main goal of the shoot was to get some nice outdoor shots shots and some swimwear. However the epic fail came in the form of weather. It was lashing rain pretty much all day. Do it really did kick the plans in the nuts. I had some really nice ideas to. One idea for the brown feather dress was to shoot it in a wood that is located near the house. It would have been far easier to cancel the shoot, but you are never really guaranteed the weather.  And if there was a spell of good weather coming up, the chances of getting every one together again would be slim. Ah well. So instead of nice shots out side, the thinking cap had to start working and come up with a couple of different looks, indoors. The location was my house in Wexford, which I have used in the past for shoots. I don’t like using the same location for shots, so I was running out of fresh rooms to shoot in. Luckily, I saved some of the best locations till last. These include the garage and a room a hallway that has the deer heads. It is a great skill to be able to land on a location and to be able to come up with some shot ideas and make the most of it. I am slowly getting better at it. No matter how bad a location could be, there is always a shot to be had, you just have to picture it. Picturing it with different light, with the background out of focus, close ups etc. After a while you will see things with a different eye. The hallway was a great location, the stag heads are very unusual great. Some times, you have great locations, but you unless you have the cloths to match, then it might not look as good as it could be. In this case though, it worked out good. We managed to get two slightly different looks looks in. The pants stayed the same in both, but the tops were exchanged.All the cloths were made by Umit him self. He is very talented.

After an hour or so in the hall, we want to change look and location. As we were heading back to the room to change make-up and outfit, the thinking cap was back on. It was still raining, so i was thinking of ways in which I could protect the flashes…. still wanting to get some out door shots. I took another look out the window and eventually conceded that there would just be no outdoor shots today. So back to thinking about indoors. I liked the look of another hallway, upstairs this time. There was a nice lamp on a table along with some flowers that worked well. I thought that the red of the carpet and yellow of the walls would contrast nicely to the white of one of the outfits, so we got to work. While the lads were preping Orla, I was setting up the shot. I was looking at it from either side, trying to see which way I liked best. I was taking some times into consideration also, things that I had learned from previous shots. These included the background, a place to hide lights, ambient light features, furniture etc etc. I chose the angle that you see below mainly due to the options it game me for placing a light. Those with a keen eye will recognised that the black and white portrait above was shots at the same time as this series.

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Next stop, it was to the garage to capture the bird dress. While we were out there, we shot the casual, jeans shots also. These turned out nice as there was a bit of blue spay paint on the garage doors that matched in well with the outfit.
I will finish up with the head shots. I am really happy with how these turned out. I tried out a new head shot lighting setup for the first time, and I really like the quality of the light from it. It is super soft and very flattering. I will be posting up some behind the scenes shots at a later date, which will include details on the lighting set up. If you have any comments or questions, you can hit the comments link below and can fire away there. Check back again soon for the behind the scenes shots and lighting setups.

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A Day with Hannah

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You might remember this lady from a previous shoot. I originally shot Hannah on Portmarnock beach in June ’10 for some surf / beach shots. Since then, Hannah has been signed with Galway Catwalk Model Agency. Although the beach  shots went down very well with the agency and it was enough to get her signed, they need to see more range in her portfolio.  We managed to organise a full days shooting ( about 14 hours in total) to get as many looks as we could to widen the range on the portfolio.

The brief was to get a good mix of headshots, fashion, lingerie, casual and other shots. We done pretty well in covering the brief, as the images show. We had the assistance of a professional Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist, Rachel Cleary and Conor Clinch was assisting me for the day. It was a good team for the day, which was very cold and long. Styling advice was also provided by Jennie Moore, who could not be with us on the day.

The locations being used were around the Ballsbridge area. Shooting out doors is great, because every corner you turn there is a new location that you can use. The only problem is that you can not control the weather. We battled the cold, which was ok, we fought against the wind, which was awkward at times with hair and we went to war with rain… which was going to mess with the gear. Despite it all, the team did well, didn’t complain and the shots turned out good. We ended up taking 400ish frames through out the day and managed to pick out the top 40 or so images. These images were whittled down again even further until we were happy with them and the editing then began. I picked my favs, or what I thought were the best of the day and they are the ones that you are seeing here now.

The stream of photos above are the best of the day and are actually in reverse order of when they were taken. So if yo wanted to imagine the days photos start in the bedroom, then Hannah gets up out of bed and beginning her day.  The day started off with nice sunny spells (along the canal) but it only lasted a few hours as by the time we got back to the hotel then cloud cover was patchy and rain was on the way ( jump suit shots).

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Having a Hair & MUA on set during a shoot make a huge difference to the outcome of the final images, like wise with the calibre of the model, which should be evident on this shoot. Both model and MUA worked very well. Having the model and MUA been good friends was an added bonus and it made the day go by that bit quicker.


My work is getting to the stage now where its the model who can influence the image more than I can. In terms of pose, attitude and general look etc. A photographers vision and direction giving are one thing, its the model’s interpretation and execution of those directions that makes the difference. Some models can get what you are trying to go and go with it. Some even put their own little twist on it and make it their own. When that happens, its great.

The same goes for the MUA and Hair. As I get better at the technicalities that goes along with taking the pictures, it would be fair to assume the same level of skill from MUA’s and Hair Stylist.  The really needs to be perfect as there is no sense in having to spend a lot of time afterwards fixing it in photoshop.

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As you can see from the shot on the left, the make up is pretty spot on. Generally I am not a fan of photoshop, or to be more specific – retouching. Retouching being the editing of skin, spots and patchy makeup etc. Stuff like making legs and arms and legs smaller is time consuming. It is time spent sitting at a computer when I would much rather be out taking more photos or indeed doing other stuff.

I don’t mind processing images as much. Processing the colour corrections, contrast and brightness etc of images. Converting images to B&W is also something that I don’t mind doing, once the image lends it’s self to be converted to mono. Some images looks good in black and white, some don’t.

The lighting setups for this shoot by the way, will be going into another post over the next few weeks. I have a bit of a back log of photos to edit ( see 2 paragraphs up… last line) and once I have all that cleared, I will then compile setup info for all the shoots from as far back as Caroline.

All in all, I was very happy with this shoot. We managed to cover a lot over a short space of time and all the team got plenty from it for their portfolios and experience. I got a chance to try out some new lighting setup, one of which is similar to the inspiration post from a few weeks ago. I look forward to working with Hannah again when she is a famous top model 🙂

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Just a another shout out to Rachel who done the Hair and Makeup, check her out. She is available for hire for commercial and domestic work. Also, cheers to Conor for helping out. I hope that he learned a thing or two. Even at 15, he has got skills, more than I did at 25, so keep it up Conor.

I am going to end this post on a nice quote I seen on twitter to describe photography. I thought it was a great description, at least for me:

“Photography is for people without manual artistic talent”

Thats all for now, hit the comments link below if you want to leave or view the comments.

Hair & Mua: Rachel Cleary – Facebook: FaceBook or her Blog
Photography Assist: Conor Clinch – http://conorclinch.com/
Style Advisor: Jennie Moore – http://fadingintofashion.blogspot.com/


Orla O’Brien in Dublin

I had the pleasure of shooting with Orla O’Brien around Dublin recently. Orla as been recently signed with a new agency Platinum. We set this shoot up during the the Street Pic Shoot that we had last month. We decided upon an urban theme and went with it. Orla had a friend (name??) who styled the shoot and I think they did a good job, although we didnt get to use all the looks due to time constraints.

I had the assistance of a college mate Adam on the shoot. I put the call out for help as I knew that in working out doors that an extra pair of hands to hold a light would have been needed. I was using my new ishoot softbox for the first time on this shoot. It is a soft box that is comes with brackets that are designed to take speedlights. Handy 🙂 The softbox was on a bog standard light stand with a Nikon SB600 with 1/2 CTO gel being used for most of the shots. I was having problems with my radio triggers so I used the 2m TTL cord to trigger the flash and to do so in TTl mode. Nice. Nikon i-TTL mode is great.

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The first shot above is a nice shot I think. Here, the softbox is just out of the frame camera left and above Orla’s head. It was shot with an 18-55mm Nikon Kit lens. A lot of the shoots from the day were taken with that lens as I needed the width to try and capture some of the urban setting also. For a kit lens its gear. It does suffer some barrel distortion at the wider angles though, but nothing that cant be fixed in photoshop.

The above and below shots are again taken with the softbox above, near the model.

I like the Jumper. It is a nice fun shot and the black and white conversion came out nice. I chose a low angle to give the impression of extra height and to also show the height of the building also. Adam was holding the light up high on this one to make sure that Orla was lit when she jumped.

The shot below is creepy at first. It was a happy accident that turned out to be a not to the a ring/ grudge type films.

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Orla O’Brien

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I have decided that I need a project and I have called that project Street Pic…. not a very catchy name but to the point. The aim being to try and take some great, natural photos of people right on the street. When I say natural, I mean just bring along my camera (Nikon D40) and 35mm 1.8 lens and see what happens. No lights, no stylist, no nothing. I am also going to apply a 15 minute photoshop rule also. This means that a street pic can not spend more than 15mins in photoshop. Just enough time to make colour and exposure corrections and minor touch ups. No full on skin smoothing here.

The first example above is from a meeting with Orla. We me up to have a chat about a future shoot. I told here that I would take some test shots during the meeting. I initially started out going straight in to strobist mode, cracking out the flash and ttl cord for some off camera action. I have Orla’s boyfriend trained in after 5 minutes to be a fully qualified speed light holder ( Good job Rob). Took loads of frames with flash, and they were good but lacked something. I was shooting about F3.5 or there abouts.

Then we had finished up and put the flash away and I decided to try a few in natural light for the craic…. great decision it turned out to be. Lately I have been in strobist over load…. taking the lights out at ever opportunity. I have now seen sense. Flash photography is a tool, not just a style. You need to know when to use the natural light and go with it and when you need to nuke a scene out of it. Besides, at F1.8, there is more than enough light getting in there for a shutter speed in the high 1,000’s as ISO 200. Thankfully, I have this epiphany before the shoot with Lisa Nolan and most of the shoots from her shoot with all natural light.

Anyway, back to Street Pic. If you fany getting a street pic taken, then keep an eye on my twitter or facebook to see when I am about Dublin next and we will make it happen. The more the merrier