Thursday, April 03, 2014

Miss Northern Ireland 2014

The heats for this year's Open and Direct Miss Northern Ireland contest are underway. This year I am involved again and looking forward to meeting all the hopefuls at the end of April just before the final in May at The Europa Hotel.

Just a reminder of our stunning winner last year Meagan Green.

In January, the launch, on the SS Nomadic kicked off the searches.

Some of the beautiful people, ex-Miss Northern Irelands and ex-Mr Northern Ireland Ross Lauder

For more information on the heats go to

To see all the images from the launch head to Open and Direct Miss NI 2014 launch

To see all the images from the 2013 final head to Open and Direct Miss NI 2013 final

If you wish to use images on facebook or other social networks I don't mind but please give a credit to myself and a link to my webpage


Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Happy New Year

Another year has flown by and I hope 2013 was a great year for you.

I have to admit my promises of more blogging last year fell flat after February I even have 2 posts in draft to be finished and posted!

This year I have to do more talking as my new website has entered design stage. My website is well overdue a overhaul especially as mobile internet access is the most popular way to access information (not sure how many films I Google for information on actors on my mobile!). The blog will be a bigger part of the new site.

I'm really excited about the re-design and the site is more bespoke to me and my business.

In the mean time, you can have a look at some of my wedding, PR and other images from 2013 here.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Natural light and Flash

My first post of 2013, oh dear...really need to keep up.

After taking a trip to Ciaran Whyte's (nudity warning) workshop in Dublin last week using the new 5D3 (more to follow on that) I really enjoyed shooting natural light but noticed I really do love flash, really do. I think this is because I use it so much in my work it's just something I automatically want to use.

There are so many benefits to natural light that cannot be ignored

  • It's free
  • It's plentiful
  • It can be managed
  • You can travel light with gear.
To explain further, it's free as it is all around us, this makes it plentiful, although during the winter months that can be debatable and indoors can be hit or miss. It can be managed with scrims and reflectors among other tools. One of the biggest benefits is in regards to gear, you really can head out on the right kind of day and get some great images with very basic kit, or stay in beside a great big window.

With flash only 1 of the 4 pluses for natural light really make it across...

It's not going to be free, even at a basic level (but it doesn't have to be expensive), you can travel light but that affects how plentiful you can get it and how cheap too. That leaves "It can be managed" and by far that is its greatest asset, modifiers galore can allow you to some cool things with light. Also every day can be the right day with flash although rain is at your own risk :)

I recently bought a set of Elinchrom Quadras from Ciaran (same as above) and I love them. We use all Elinchrom in the studio so most of not all the modifiers can be used on this mini flash system. At 400 watts it can take on the sun with the right modifier and can turn day into night.

Natural light

Natural light is great for portraits (and food and landscapes)... very simple and very effective.


This image shows how flash can change everything, the top photo is shot with natural light, the photo below is 30 minutes later, same model, same location, same camera and lens. Flash (Quadra with softbox) is the change. It's this flexibility that makes flash a tool worth knowing. Some photographers see flash as like a bad thing, in fact I see some photographer's bluntly state that they "will only use flash as a last resort". I'd prefer to say "Flash is my first port of call" when I need the right light.

Another image shot during a summer evening, using 2 very basic (compared to the Quadra) bare bulb flashes.

There is no VS with these lights, both can be bad with a bad photographer and great with a great photographer, just like cameras :)

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Christmas offer

I thought I would do a nice Christmas offer on my model portfolios.

The package consists of:
  • myself :)
  • my studio (or close Belfast location)
  • makeup artist for 2 make up looks
  • 2 hours of studio or location time.
  • 5 finished image of your choice on CD.
Extras as usual can be discussed at booking.

This offer can also be used as a make over session for mums, sisters or a really great friend. 

Great makeup and great photos.

All this for £85 saving over over 30% from my normal price!!

So to claim this limited place offer head over to Brendan Gallagher Photography on facebook

Don't forget to LIKE the page too for other offers.

Once you claimed contact me to get booked in or if you want the offer in Voucher form let me know I'll be happy to help.


Friday, November 30, 2012

TFP, how to get the best...

Recently a few models seem to have been stung over images that have been taken on a Trade for Print (TFP or Trade for CD or Trade for images) shoot. So I'd thought I'd give my advice on what they are and how to get benefit from them


Trade allows a photographer/model/MUA or other creative to swap their time and/or talent with another creative. It is usually a great way to get some images to boost portfolios with little financial cost. It's a great networking system too. The key point is to get images that are suitable for EVERYONE involved.

As a photographer the responsibility is possibly that little bit greater as the finished product is in our hands, but for that we normally get the most return being directly associated with the images, with models too having their brand recognised immediately (I'll let you work that out ;))


With Facebook and model sites like ModelMayhem it's so easy to find someone who's work you like or can fill in gaps in your portfolio. Read their profiles in regards to TFP or drop them an email. Most creatives are nice people who like to meet like minded people. Look for castings too but make sure everyone involved is worth working with. Your time and brand for that matter are the only commodities you can't buy back.


Whether you are the photographer, model or other person involved, it should be treated like a paid job. Answer emails, return calls, read the brief and turn up prepared and ON TIME!!

Everyone should have it in writing (email is fine) what the return for their effort is. The photographer should be make it clear when and how (print, web, etc) the images will be returned. There needs to be agreement on how many images will be returned too. TFP is a fair usage policy, everyone is entitled to use the images for their own promotional usage. Need clarification? Talk to the photographer and get it in writing!!

Remember the copyright of images remain with the photographer so editing those images once received is not allowed, though personally I'm laid back some photographers can really kick off. Warranted sometimes but not always. It also means the usage of the images have to be within the agreement made with the photographer.


Copyright cannot protect a photographer from an agreement you have made in regards to images. This is why written confirmation is important to clarify a situation like this. Always email the photographer or best, give a call (You have their number, right?). Always be professional when dealing with them especially on forums or public domain.

If you get no where you have to ask was it really worth it?

This is my own advice. If you can add something to it let me know and I will :)

Feel free to comment or drop me mail.


Sunday, September 02, 2012

I'm late... I normally am to new social media trends.

What I mean is by the time I get to them they are no longer "new".

For example Facebook I joined (according to Facebook) 6th March 2009, 4 years after Facebook started and with basically everyone I knew at the time, there, waiting. It took me another few years to start my photography page after someone (Caroline) said I should have one and she would be my first like (fan).

Twitter was another good example, I created an account logged in and logged out, done that for about a 2 years before I started using it, but still not a tweetaholic. It gets a feed from my FB photography page so every now and again it looks like someone is home :)

So what's this post all about? My new find, that was there and I once again passed over but I really love now I am using it, INSTAGRAM. As a photographer it should really have been looked at so much more closely but like all the social media mentioned above it took me a while to give it a go.

Instagram allows to to take photos on your phone/tablet (iPhone/iPad/Android) add a few effects and share on Instragram, Facebook, twitter and a few other social streams. Perfect for my kind of work, behind the scenes of weddings, photoshoots and sometimes home life too. Some shots I've taken recently:

The car, with sunlight coming from front.

Cabra Castle.



These are as shot with just Instagram filters added. Its quite fun and you can follow some amazing people photographing everything they do just like me but more so.

My instagram is "brendangallagherphoto", my twitter "@bpgallagher" and facebook ""


Monday, June 18, 2012

Katie on the beach

In May Katie Larmour who I have worked with a lot over the years asked me to help her with some images for a project she was working on. The project was namely bikinis. While the thought of shooting on  a beach in Spain or somewhere warm sounds amazing, NI does not have that same effect on a photographer.

We used a beach just outside Holywood and thankfully after two days of heavy rain we got a break, and a decent break it was. When we arrived we did have an army of school children around but they were a good bit up the beach. A few mothers with prams did show some interest, but we made big friend in the form of beach litter pickup guy, I really think we made his day.

With the sun coming in and out I shot some with reflectors and some with the Quantum for fill. We also got a decent sky for some interest. Not a blue sky but better than white.

We got some great images but these are three of the ones Katie used for her project.


Tuesday, June 05, 2012

April May June...

Oops, I've seem to fell off the update wagon recently.

I've had a lot happening with photography in the last few months with the big events being Belfast Fashion Week and Miss Northern Ireland 2012.

I've had a few really great model shoots and PR jobs too, I'll put a few images of each below and more in the coming blog posts.

From Belfast Fashion Week:

The Titanic dress

Kids having fun

Models from the Saturday afternoon show

Miss Northern Ireland 2012, held the Europa hotel again, outgoing Miss NI Finola Guinnane passed her crown to Tiffany Brian:

All the girls with Alison Campbell

Contestants doing their thing.

Finola (left) with Miss NI 2012 Tiffany Brian.

More images from Belfast Fashion Week are HERE

More images from Miss NI are HERE


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Heidi at Drenagh

My first fashion shoot of the year was in February. Our model was Heidi from Finland (she lives here she didn't fly in just for us). I thought she would be used to the cold but alas it was not the case. The location was Drenagh, a location found by the stylist Jenny Taggart. Hair was done by the wonderful Olivia Muldoon who I have worked with on previous shoots.

The days being short in February as well as cold does not give you much outdoor time. There was so much we could not get done at Drenagh this time round.

You can see how amazing the building is from these images.

We got this image around the back of Drenagh. The low sun is coming through the trees giving a low contrast but warm image as the light hits the lens.

The inside of the house has fantastic options but we just ran out of time. There this fantasic staircase, amazing bedrooms and authentic vintage feel around the whole place. 

I would love to get back when the weather is better to get more images in a wonderful location..


Friday, February 24, 2012

The night sky

With wedding season approaching my time for fun and personal projects is going to get smaller. I recently joined the Irish Astronomical Association to give myself a hobby outside photography. Aside from the lectures on Astronomy there are monthly outings with the telescopes, of course I just wanted to bring my camera to get some images of the night sky. So maybe not so much of a break from photography after all.

Here are some of the images taken over the last few weeks.

Shooting south, Orion and his belt, with the Pleiades on the top right. This is also looking into the Milky Way though the images cannot show it. This photo by someone else does though.

Again shooting south/south west. The clouds make the image a bit more alive.

This image is shooting North. Nothing stands out as much to me other than the tree which I put in the frame.

Before the summer nights come back it might be nice to look up and see what you can find.


Thursday, January 12, 2012


This year I thought I would enter some competitions. I've won an award at my camera club once but have never entered anything in a few years.

One competition I have entered is the Professional Photographer magazine awards and I was pleasantly surprised when my friend Paul Crawford  caught the following image in his inbox

To get picked out of a few thousand images is great. I'm not sure if it will have any reflection on the competition itself but it's nice to know people are liking my work.

Interestingly I never got the email myself, being subscriber to the magazine and an entrant, so I might have missed this completely. 

The original blog post is HERE.


Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in Photos

I've created a slideshow to show some of my work from the last 12 months. Each year my business gets better while still working with companies I worked with when I started my business.

I hope 2012 goes the same as the other years.


Friday, November 11, 2011


Before she headed off to America to study I got a shoot in with Sophie, a cousin of Julie from my Enchantment shoot last year. Sometimes I just shoot to try lighting and posing ideas, Sophie was a willing model for this.

The light I used was just a Maxi Reflector and a softbox, I had never used Maxi Reflector before and sessions like this allow me to test lighting in less stressful situations.

The light was up high and to my left. The softbox when used was to my right and a bit lower. No lighting was on the background, this allows it to go to the grey as seen.

Letting the model free with their own ideas and poses allows you to play around a little bit more. I can focus on lighting and camera settings and the model can look after themselves with clothing and posing. In the above photo Sophie put on the American flag dress, it went down as a great Facebook profile photo when she was in the USA.

Sophie was great fun and a great poser which helps immensely when creating images, even just test images. Hopefully when Sophie makes her way back she will come back to the studio for more photos. :)


Friday, September 30, 2011

Peter and Laura

At the start of the year I photographed the wedding of a friend. I knew Peter from my university days (a long time ago). To do a wedding of a friend or family is easier in some ways, in that you know them, but harder in others, if it goes wrong you lose a friend.

Peter and Laura got married at Lisburn Cathedral, it was the first time I was ever there for a wedding. It's off the street behind a lot of shops and buildings, so yes I drove past it once or twice :)

The Reverend was nice enough to let me stand behind him to get shots during the service. These extra images really help in an album.

After the service I took a few images in front of this great stained window, with the rain outside using the service location is a necessity.

The reception was in the Old Inn, Crawfordsburn. As it was raining we had to do all the images inside. A wet wedding really pushes you as a photographer to get great images for the bride and groom.
A great portrait of the bride is always important. In the following shots I just used the light coming from the  window in the bridal suite.

The groom also has to play his part.

The light was just nicely falling on Laura and I just asked her to look out the window with a thoughtful look. 

We got some really nice images on the day and Peter and Laura are still my friends.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Autumn update.

After a busy summer (by name only not a matching description) doing weddings, PR and fashion shoots things have slowed down slightly.

I am in the new studio 1000sq foot studio, called Catchlight studios, which I share with another few professional photographers.

I have bought myself an iPad which for a mobile business like mine is a god send. I can read my emails anywhere, can book people into my diary and also entertain my daughter with Peppa Pig apps.

Going to post a few pictures from photoshoots and a wedding or two over the next week or so.

Belfast Fashion week is on its way back in October, 13-16th to be exact. As usual I'll be there covering it from the bottom of the catwalk.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Running the business

Most people would be surprised (I'd imagine) that most of the work in a photography business is not actually taking images. A lot of photographers would say their business is based on the Perato Principle (80/20 rule). 20% photography, 80% business and various parts of the business part within are based on the same 80/20 rule e.g. working on a wedding day you could say photographers time is 20% taking the pictures and 80% people skills.

So if the photographer is not photographing what are they doing with all that "free" time?

For all intents and purposes one thing, trying to make a profit or a living as most people would call it.
Very very few photographers make a huge amount of money, some of course do better in their market area than others and that can be down to their business acumen than photographic talent.

So generally speaking while not photographing we are:
  • Marketing - making customers aware of our existence and products.
  • Consulting - calling/emailing the people who have seen our marketing and may become a customer.
  • Image editing - working in Photoshop and wedding album design.
  • After care - meeting and calling customers to make sure they are happy with our services.
  • Accounting - paying our bills and making sure we are getting paid.
So while from the outside the job of a photographer looks glamourous (and it sometimes is) the real work is usually at our computers until some ungodly hour (I've emailed clients back at 3am).

The point of this post is to show clients what photographers have to do to be there to provide their services and to show other photographers they are not alone in doing these things. Talent alone does not help in this game. The starving artist saying springs to mind.


Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Business as usual

While my blog posts have not been so active recently I have had some good reason.

Business has been busier over the last few months, which of course in this economy is a good thing. Weddings have kicked off again and its a key PR time with fashion shows, and Miss Northern Ireland recently.

At the moment I am trying to re-evaluate the business plan and marketing plan. So while things look quiet on the outside they are just busy on the inside.

I hope to bring the blog up to date with some new images soon.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Blogs I read

While sometimes too busy to keep this blog up to date I always make time to read other blogs of interest.

Here (in no order) is what I'm reading right now:


Black Star Rising - The business of photography
Planet Neil - Using your flash (mainly on camera) to create better images
Strobist - If you want to create better images there's few places better to start
Wonder of light - Dublin photographer Ciaran Whyte's stories of shooting and some technique articles


Model bitch - A great resource for models (and hence photographers ;))


Fashion Rogue - Latest fashion Ad/magazine campaigns in one handy link

I read a few more but for general interest these are what most people are (or should be) reading.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

LRPS Success Part 2

Continuing on from yesterdays post (not quick enough for some people :))

The second part of the panel was a bit more bridal than the first five images.

The next image was taken during a shoot for a Deborah K.

This image too was taken during a (different) Deborah K shoot. More of a fun shot than the others in the panel.

This is the last one on the panel from the Enchantment shoot. There were so many images from that shoot that could have been put in the panel, in fact I could say I could have easily done a panel on that shoot.

This is the last one from the Deborah K shoots, taken at the same shoot as number 6. I have a few variations of this one as you can see at the top of this blog.

The last shot is from a bridal shoot a few years ago. I just love this image.

The panel layout as the judges would have seen it is shown below. With the LRPS you can be more loose how your panel looks, but this benefit does not extend to the ARPS and FRPS panels. I have already thought about the ARPS, but thats a while ahead yet.

You can view the whole panel better HERE

Thanks for the models (Julie Doherty @ Style Academy, Amanda Capote Miles, Jacqueline Kernaghan, Caroline Reid @ Style Academy, Ruth Jackson, Beccy Milne, Catherine McAteer (3 times!!), Christina Mclean and Britney Lee Banks.)

Also thanks to the MUA, hair and stylists I've worked with on these images.

Oh and for Paul Crawford for keeping me on track with the panel.


Monday, March 21, 2011

LRPS success!! Part 1

Recently I headed over to Birmingham to visit the Focus on Imaging event but more importantly to put a panel in for assessment with the Royal Photographic Society.

The Licentiateship is awarded for competence in practical photography which in layman's terms means you have good knowledge of camera work technically and artistically. It is still only one of three awards offered by the RPS the next being Associate and the highest being Fellowship.

It is nice to be recognised by your peers and gives some motivation to get better at what you do to hit them new levels. Photography is always a learning game and awards like this help keep you pushing for yourself and your clients.

The panel is shown below.

The first is an image from the Enchantment shoot last year.

The second image is from a fashion shoot in Fuerteventura in 2008, this has recently became a favourite image of mine after sitting on my hard drive for over 2 years.

The third image is from the Enchantment shoot, a fantastic image (if I say so) but better in print.

The fourth image was from a strobist evening, but you can always create something unique with a great model and some good thinking.

The fifth image is from a model portfolio shoot, this was taken in Zen restaurant Belfast.

Part 2 coming soon...