Category: Blog

Eyes Closed.

Eyes Closed.

I once entered a portrait for a national award that I thought was something special. The subject was a young woman whose life story had been harder than I can express with words. Despite the extreme challenges she had faced (and still faces) she was bubbling with joy and appreciation. I don’t think I can recall meeting anyone with such a defining spirit of positivity. She beamed not just with her smile but with her whole demeanour.
I had selected a portrait of her expressing that joy (she had her eyes closed)  but the comment I received from the judge really annoyed me. 

‘Her eyes are closed in this picture. You need to see the eyes in a portrait’.


The judge had completely missed the point. As a portrait photographer I don’t want to make people look ‘good’, I want to tell their story. I don’t even like to have to explain an image with words. Having to explain suggests that the image hasn’t  done its job fully.  Portrait photography is about telling stories.

This portrait has had a big effect on me throughout my life. It’s by Gerald Waller and it’s called New Shoes – it was taken in Austria in 1947 and was made famous by Life Magazine. 

The young lad has been given a new pair of shoes by the American Red Cross  and you can see he’s overcome. He’s beside himself and his eyes are closed.
I’m not sure I would ever be able to convince a subject to ‘close their eyes and look happy’- it would be such an odd request and can’t imagine it would work. Those moments just happen and you either capture them or you don’t.

Yesterday I was asked along by the family of Carlos and Joan who were visting Parknasilla on the occasion of their 35th wedding anniversary- they had a lovely ceremony with their three (grown up) children celebrating their wedding and their future.
I was actually capturing a portrait of just the children when I turned to my right and saw them stood by my side. Completely not posed, just a beautiful testimony to brilliant people still in love.
It’s an image I’ll hold on to.  Just look at Carlos’ eyes – there’s a proud and happy man.

Multimedia Wedding Album

We’ve so many new products coming thick and fast in the next few weeks, but we think wedding couples are going to love this one.  It’s a brand new product by our partners (Graphistudio in Italy) which means you can rely on their quality.  

They have introduced an amazing way to combine your digital images in your printed album!   Take a look at the promotional video below. 

The 7″ screen has ample storage for all your Engagement & Wedding Images.  
The screen itself is charged using a USB cable which is provided.  

You could even include your wedding video. 
Drop us a line using our contact page if you’d like to know more. 

How to fly with your camera

How to travel with camera equipment

In March 2017 the US and UK governments announced a ‘carry on’ ban on some electrical equipment on some travel routes. Depending on the source it looks like this ban does include cameras. Normally camera insurance doesn’t offer any cover for damage or theft to equipment stored in the hold of the aircraft, so this ban does offer photographers a bit of a headache.

I’ve travelled a lot with my cameras, and I know how frustrating it can be so I thought I would write a three step guide on how to sidestep these rules and still ensure you are able to create the images you want to.

1. Travel with your oldest gear.Old Camera

When you bought it, you thought it was the best thing ever and was going to do everything you needed it to. The chances are it probably still does. Worst case scenario, if it gets stolen or lost you’ll still have your best gear at home.

2. Take two bags to the boarding gate.

Peli 1510The main one should be a good solid camera flight case. I use the Peli 1510 which they say is bullet proof (we’ll call this the strong box for now). The second should be a cheap shoulder bag. Put everything in the strong box, with the lenses and cameras separated.

If the security team won’t allow you to board with the camera, don’t argue or complain. It’s their plane and you want to get on it.

Remove your lenses from the strong box and place in your cheap shoulder bag. Leaving your camera bodies in the strong box to be placed in the aircraft hold. I’d definitely recommend you have a couple of small TSA padlocks to place on it. If you are unlucky enough to be at the mercy of a bad baggage handler; a small padlock can be the difference between an opportunistic theft and them looking elsewhere.
Explain what you plan to do, ask them if they have a quiet corner you can repack. There’s no need to patronise and explain what the difference between a lens and a camera is because they’ll have this discussion 15 times a day.

3. Worst Case Scenario

If the worst has happened and you arrive to no strong box, either because of theft or loss. You’ll need a camera quick, most airports will have an electronics store and because you’ve got your lenses in your shoulder bag; all you need is a new body that will fit your lenses.

In my experience, being polite and happy to comply has surprising results.
Never argue with security or airline staff, they may understand and even agree with you; but if they have a policy it’s your job to live with it.

Looking back at 2016 in Kenmare

Twelve months ago we opened the studio in Kenmare, it was a big decision, but we’ve a lovely space and it’s been a fantastic time. As  we are about to enter our busiest part of the year, with lots of Christmas appointments and frame orders to fulfil, I thought I’d get in early and produce a little online slideshow of our work since we opened. 

It’s fair to say this year’s work has been varied, with one trip to Nigeria, three trips to Dublin and a few little hops over the county line to Bantry. It’s been a lot of fun working with everyone.

I’d just to say thank you to all of our clients, with big mentions to the staff at Parknasilla, Sheen Falls Lodge and the Park Hotel  who are always a big support. 

I hope to see many more of you in the coming twelve months, even if you’d like to pop in for a chat. Remember if you are looking for the perfect gift our Voucher Cards are always available!   Nick 


Christmas themed Children Portraits in Kenmare

If you have children, or if your children have children!  I am announcing our range of studio based children and family Portraits. With a different scene each year my hope is you will be able to build up a collection of very special fine art Christmas portraits.

The theme for 2016 is going to be “Christmas Morning” and we’re currently busy in the studio creating a set like you’ve never seen!

Christmas Portraits
Christmas Portraits

Where and When ?

The scene is set and we’ll be opening on the 25th November.  We will continue throughout the run up to Christmas, but the final day for the delivery of Christmas framing will be the 11th of December. 

As we will be celebrating Christmas morning, we would like to encourage you to dress as you might on Christmas day, whether that’s a smart outfit or  PJ’s & dressing gowns,  there might even be room for a Christmas jumper or two!  The picture we create will be warm and cosy, set around the tree and in front of the fire.  
Although beware there may be a hint of wintery cold coming in through the window.  

Our Christmas set has been created with flexibility in mind, and there is definitely enough space to create unique images for all.  You’ll be amazed by the detail level, we’d go as far to say that there really is nothing like this in the whole of the country!   

What do outdoor Christmas portrait sessions cost?

The cost of your portrait session is €120.  This fee includes a mounted print in a complimentary desk frame.  The desk frame is made from the same materials and to the same high quality as our larger frames.  Feel free to drop into the studio if you would like to see samples.  

If you prefer an alternative product, you can exchange the complimentary desk frame for a €70 voucher to use against any of our frames, boxes or albums.

Purchase Extra Images.
Digital copies of your session images, (perfect for homemade christmas cards) are available to purchase individually. These are provided in both low and high print resolution files.
Who can I bring along? 
The set can accommodate a good number of people, so whether we create a single portrait of your child’s first christmas or a wider group image with grandma reading to the clan whilst grandad peels spuds in the background.  Anything is possible.  Please note it’s important to arrive at least 5 minutes before your booked session in order to keep things running smoothly. 

Please note.  Sessions are only by appointment.

If you’d like to know more please visit the studio in Kenmare  and everything will become very clear!

Please note all appointments are by advance booking only.  To book please contact the studio via email or call the studio direct on  064 667 9010

Outdoor autumn portrait sessions – October 1st and October 15th

As we approach the end of summer it’s the perfect time for our outdoor autumn portrait sessions and I’ve set aside October 1st and 15th just for that.

outdoor autumn portrait sessions - childrenWhat are outdoor autumn portrait sessions?  Simply put, on 1st & 15th October, I am offering photography appointments at the beautiful Reenagross Country Park in Kenmare.

Sessions last around an hour and are structured for natural portraits of individuals, siblings and whole family groups.outdoor autumn portrait sessions - families  As they take place outdoors, they offer great flexibility for activity and play.  The natural light and perfect background colours bring a freshness to images that indoor portraits simply can’t match.

The two dates in October will help us make the most of the natural turning colours, so we will make the most of great oranges, yellows, greens and possibly even red.  Consequently, these days are one of my annual highlights and the results never disappoint.

How does it work?

There are a number of appointments throughout each of the days.  The earlier appointments  are especially suitable for families with younger children, whilst the evening sessions offer beautiful light and best of all, the occasional spectacular skies are a real bonus.

What do outdoor autumn portrait sessions cost?

The cost of the portrait session is €120.   This fee includes a mounted print in a complimentary desk frame.  The desk frame is made from the same materials and to the same high quality as our larger frames.  Feel free to drop into the studio if you would like to see samples.   If you prefer an alternative product, you can exchange the complimentary desk frame for a €70 voucher to use against any of our frames, boxes or albums.

What should we wear for our session?

Plain, neutral colours and clothes without prominent logos or large patterns work best to give portraits a timeless quality.

What happens if I can’t make it on the day?

If you find that you can’t make it on the day,  all we ask is that you let us know as soon as possible.  The weather rarely gets in the way, but occasionally torrents of rain or high winds can make a session inadvisable.   In the event of cancellation, we can rearrange the session to a mutually convenient time.  If this is not possible and we have to cancel the session, we will refund any payment that you have made.

What happens afterwards?

When you book a session for one of our 2016 outdoor autumn portraits, we also arrange a time for you to view your selection.   This is normally 3-4 days afterwards at a time to suit you.   We show around 50-60 images on our full size screen in the studio and all you have to do is choose your favourite print.  If you wish to view alternative frame options, album or portrait boxes we have samples to see, but there is no sales pressure.
outdoor autumn portrait sessions- families in action

To book a session or chat further please contact the studio directly on 064 667 9010 or my mobile on 0879 491 002.

Available appointments  for both dates
Saturday 1st October  8.30 am , 10.00am,  11.30am1pm , 2.30pm and 5pm
Saturday 15th October 8.30 am , 10.00am,  11.30am, 1pm , 2.30 pm and 5pm


Bridegroom, Big news, you can look great too !

The BridegroomLet’s be honest about this.. Despite wanting to look good, a bridegroom may shudder about the prospect of posing for a ‘guy alone’ wedding portrait.

“What shall I do with my hands? ” is a common enough question.
“Which side does the buttonhole go on?” another.
Brides are much better at this kind of stuff, but lads ye do not have to fear…

The ‘How to look good for Grooms session’ is here to help.

Today we’re announcing two Sunday morning sessions  (September  11th and 25th).
We will start at 9.30 in our Kenmare studio. We look at some good habits and simple approaches to natural looking poses.  We discuss some ideas and then to a location nearby  to take some portraits.
Practical and totally relaxed, you’ll feel pretty good taking these tips into your wedding day.

I’m promising that it will not be awkward, at all, ever!

There are 5 spaces available on each morning. Places need to be booked and are offered on a first come first served basis.

After we’ve taken some time portraits, we will finish up with a breakfast in Kenmare town which is included your session fee.
We will have the opportunity to look at the images we’ve captured (which you can keep).

Do you know a bridegroom that could use a little help ? This is an ideal gift!

The session is priced at €65 or €85 (combined if two book together).

What to wear?

Smart Jeans & Shirt is always a good look. Jackets are always handy either to wear or hang over a shoulder.

As an added no cost benefit, we will be available on both afternoons for Pre-Wedding (Engagement) shoots.
These last around 40 minutes and are offered at no cost but appointments need to be agreed .

Book Now – Please contact Nick on 0879 491 002 or


Nick Cavanagh is a full time wedding and professional portrait photographer based in Kenmare, County Kerry.

Confirmation Portraits 2016, Friday 2nd March

I’m pleased to announce details of our 2016 Confirmation Portraits in Kenmare!

Bookings are now being taken for family, sibling and solo confirmation portraits on the day of the confirmation service. 15 minute appointments are available between 10am – 2.30pm and again after the confirmation service from 5.30pm – 8pm.

Kenmare Photo Studio

There is no cost for our appointments but sessions do need to be booked. This will be done on a first come first served basis.  Please note, we will not be able to offer a walk in photography service on the day.

To enquire, look at print samples and make your preferred booking appointment, please call in to the studio.  We are open throughout the day, Monday-Saturday.

All captured images will be available to view in our studio the following day.

Print Costs (with Mount)

Strut Mounted Print 8” x 6”                   €15

Strut Mounted Print 10” x 8”                   €20

(Mounted Prints will be available within 4 working days).

Frame Options

Single Aperture Printed Frame prices from  €120

Multiple Aperture Framed Print prices from    €220

(Frame packages usually take around 10 days from the point of ordering).

Please note details of our Communion portraiture on the 14th & 15th May will be announced shortly.  You can always ask us anything on our enquiry form.


Baby portrait session up for grabs with Supervalu Kenmare

Baby portrait session up for grabs!

Did you know Supervalu in Kenmare are having an exciting ‘Baby and Toddler event’ this coming Friday (5th Feb)? There’s a free to enter raffle in the store with plenty of great prizes on offer.
Baby Portrait KenmareIncluded in the great range of raffle prizes is one from us.  If you enter, you’re in with a chance of winning a baby portrait session and luxury desk sized frame of your preferred image.   Baby Portrait Float Mount

All you have to do is leave your details in the box at the front of Supervalu in Kenmare.  How easy could it be?

If you’d like to ask us about Baby and Toddler portrait sessions, or other products we have available why not use our ‘ask us anything’ contact form?  You can always call into our studio at the Kenmare Shopping Centre or call on 0879 491 002.

Best of luck.
Nick : )

Baby Portrait Prize Terms and Conditions.

The winning portrait session is to be held in the studio between 10-2pm on an agreed date with the winner before 30th June 2016.
No additional purchase is necessary.
No cash alternative is available.