The Magazine of a Northern Ireland Photographer

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Celebrating our Customers! with Ciara

This month we got to celebrate Ciara! In chatting with Ciara, we learnt that she runs an amazing little Etsy store that we simply had to hear more about!

Hey Ciara – tell us about yourself!

“My name’s Ciara, I am an NHS Dietitian and a mother of two beautiful children – both under 3 years old. My auntie taught me how to crochet 5 years ago. I started off with blankets and then quickly progressed to crocheting cardigans, crop tops, dresses, skirts – you name it!

When my son was born I started crocheting funky hats for him, such as dinosaur or monster hats. I received so many comments about how unique and quirky the hats were that I started up my own little Etsy business CrochetedByCiara.”

I’m very proud of my little business!

Sleepy Owl, Minion, Bucket Hat and Highland Cow hats

“My Etsy business has been running for over one year and has over 380 sales worldwide! My hat line now has 64 different styles in sizes newborn to adult, all of which are handmade by myself in my living room! I’m very proud of my little business. 

My latest hat design is a Ukraine-inspired hat, with 25% of the hat price going to charities that aid the Ukrainian people.”


The photographer was so patient and joyful with my two children.

How was your photoshoot?

“My family and I loved the photography session! The photographer was so patient and joyful with my two children. We got so many gorgeous photos and it was so hard to choose which ones, I wanted to buy them all! The images will be going above our fireplace.”

How can some of our readers check out your hats?

“You can order my hats on CrochetedByCiara on Etsy. Thank you so much!”

Losing your hair – Keeping your crown

Our Sales & Marketing Guru Tara shares about her cancer journey.

It was on April Fool’s Day of 2015 that I had received my news. Poignant, cruel and devastating to anyone, my stage 2b cervical tumour would mean a course of chemo drugs (interestingly a drug made of trees), radiation (high tech laser beams right out of James Bond) and Brachytherapy (don’t ask). 

Along with my bag of booklets and a ‘we’ll let you know the schedule asap’ promise, I had a dandy little choice to make. Shall I take the red pill – Chemo 1, the tried and tested and works grand but mightn’t work version of treatment? Or the blue pill – Chemo 1 (used in cervical situations) plus Chemo 2 and Chemo 3 (reserved for breast cancer folk) which shall heighten my chances of survival by a spectacular 5%?

Blue pill it was. Give anyone any additional % of survival and I’d say yes.

Side affect? Loss of hair. 

It took a while to come to terms with that, as any person with long curly hair would. My teenage rebel within, however, delighted in the idea of a skinhead. My 30 year old something took a week of convincing. 

Week over and I’m ready. I’m willing. Beast mode switched on. But how would I do it? Let it fall as I wash my hair or take it off before it begins? Pinterest have a cool collection of my skin head heroes. Actresses, models and badass folk. Plus I was a photographer. I photographed everything that was important to me. Dogs, family, friends. And now it was my turn. 

I spoke with a friend who was only too happy to help me ‘brave the shave’ and had his own photography studio. Hair stylist arranged, brothers booked in to help and champagne bought, I had a photoshoot to celebrate my new hair do. 

And it was a celebration. It was exciting. I wore a shoulderless top and had my portrait taken in the four different stages. Saying goodbye to the hair I loved and hello to the woman I needed to be for myself. 

The celebration portraits took away from the focus on why I was there. That day was great as we all had lunch together and I embraced public eyes surrounded with my people. Lipstick, eyeliner, dress, skinhead. I would be fighting like a punk with a mohawk. 

Please share my story with a loved one affected by cancer.

If you would like to do your own Celebration photoshoot, there is no charge for the studio or final portraits. It truly is a blessing to have the opportunity to provide such an experience to fellow cancer folk. Whether you go straight to skinhead and enjoy 2 portraits, or do the same four stages and enjoy 4 portraits. I hope this positive experience will carry you through your treatment, as it did me.

I am Dance

We kicked off 2020 by inviting young dancers into the studio. We had such fun – I simply wasn’t prepared for the breadth of dance practiced in N.Ireland. Everything from Irish Dancing to Hip Hop to Ballet – the range and talent was incredible!

We just loved using creative lighting to produce some really cool effects such as this silhouette…

… and these colour gels.

We had dancers of all ages – from 2 up to 18! How cute is this wee man?

One common theme across all the genres of dance was the commitment of the kids and their parents. Everything from meticulous outfits, to stories of far flung competitions – and lots of awards!

The talent was simply amazing. We are so blessed in this country to have such talented and dedicated young people.

And I particularly loved all the urban themes that came through!

Thanks to everyone who came – keep practicing and we look forward to photographing many of you soon!


Every now and then we love to add something totally different into our studio portfolio. In the last few years we’ve added in The Little White Box and Babyface sessions – both have been amazingly popular.

So what should we do next? Something that no one else in N.Ireland is doing, something fun and unique. After more than a little head scratching we came across CAPOW!

Everyone loves to dress up, and everyone loves superheroes!

So out we went, bought a movie grade set including backdrops, boulders, metal beams, chains and more! Just when the credit card couldn’t take any more, we bought 30 superhero outfits – from superman and super girl to deadpool and flash!

Somewhat worried about how this might go, we decided to a soft-launch first. Three days of CAPOW shoots later…and the results were amazing!

Here’s our first ever CAPOW family!

One child came into the studio, superhero music blasting. He slipped on his Iron Man outfit.

“Mum, I’m really Iron Man. I’m really him!”

Adults get to join in too. Mums and dads have really enjoyed the experience – we’ve noticed a real Marvel vs DC rivalry. Almost as bad as the Man Utd vs Liverpool rivalry in my house!

One unexpected consequence of the CAPOW shoots were the (sometimes heartbreaking) stories people shared. One child who is ill with Leukaemia had a blast. “We would love to do this shoot with him as he is our hero!”. Another child with autism really got into character.

“I’m so amazed he has done so well. We never get photographs normally!”

We are planning to run the CAPOW shoots once a month – you can book here.

A Reluctant Superhero

Every now and then the team here at Peter Thomas Photography come up with an idea I’m not all that keen on. I think they find it fun to wind me up.

‘Let’s do a Superhero project’ they said.




‘I’ve already booked you one in’.

Doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. Let’s get kids to come along in their superhero outfits, hype them up to the nines and create a living nightmare for me, the photographer! More crowd control than art.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. On the contrary, (and I can’t believe I’m saying this), The Superhero project has turned out to be one of the most fun things we’ve done in a while! Inspired by all these amazing super hero outfits and energised by the kids enthusiasm for the project, I thought I’d try and bring something a bit different to the party!

First up, we got some cool superhero signs printed up…

Pow. We had all sorts of outfits – not sure who the next one is but he sure is cool.

This was a great opportunity to play with some lighting setups:

Next up, I thought I’d play around a bit with gelled colours. After plenty of research, I think I’ve (almost) perfected this flare shot – all done in camera! Really love this!

Finally, I used a projector to beam some really cool patterns onto the wall. Here’s a few of my favourites!

Some of the superheros could even fly!

If you’d like a superhero session, just get in touch!

All the best,


Stuck for ideas of what to bring?

So, you have booked your family photography session at the studio and now you need to get ready – but you are unsure of what to bring with you or even what to wear.

Help is here! We have compiled this blog to inspire you towards your personalised photoshoot.  Have a look through these images and get thinking. We will update this as more of you come in with your wonderful worldly possessions.


The traditional newborn photoshoot can be personalised with a favourite blanket or sentimental pieces or of course, a HUGE teddy bear.

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Often a stimulating toy is what your toddler will enjoy playing with but a few unique options will provide a different visual story.

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Youngsters of Today!

Young ones can enjoy showing off their love of music, fun with fashion and sibling bonds. Ask them to bring something they love to play with or co-ordinate their outfits for maximum effect.

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Don’t forget that you can also create a more personalised style for your portrait session. Think about accessories, your love of shoes and matching themes too!

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Our pet portraiture has won awards, and who can help loving our four legged family members. Along with the suggested treats, why not bring their favourite bed, decorative outfit or toy.

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Planning for great newborn baby photographs

Planning for your newborn portrait shoot

Parents are always surprised at how quickly their bundles of joy grow and so a newborn shoot is the perfect way to capture those early days forever. To ensure you achieve the most out of this wonderfully happy time, check out a few tips for a flawless shoot.


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Comfort is key

Most newborn shoots are carried out with your baby undressed so it is important that he or she is as comfortable as possible before the session begins and throughout.


Sleep like a baby

A sleeping baby makes for some truly wonderful shots so for best results, we recommend that your baby is in a deep sleep for the duration of the session. This allows your photographer to position the baby without disturbing them. Upon the photographers arrival, have your baby undressed and wrapped in a blanket, with their nappy applied loosely for easy removal.


Check your lighting

Most newborn photo shoots will take place in your home to mimimise disruption to your baby’s routine. It is therefore essential to choose the room which offers the best natural light. For your baby’s comfort, a constant temperature of 28 degrees is perfect. If possible, before your photographer’s arrival, allow your baby to fall asleep in this room to minimise disruption.

A full tummy

A hungry baby is more likely to be restless so it is a good idea to make sure your baby has a full tummy before your photographer begins.


Don’t panic

If your baby is awake at the beginning, take some time to settle him or her and get them off to sleep. A good photographer will be patient and give you space, without pressure, to do this.

Don’t stress

Those early days truly are the most memorable so relax and enjoy the experience together as a family.


And Finally…


Stacey photographs all our newborns and she loves it! Check out some examples here and get in touch if you’d like any more information.

A Father’s Day present to myself!



I wanted to do something unique with the shoot, and something very special to us. You’ll notice a slightly country / cowboy theme. Our kids are crazy about Toy Story – and the character Woody is a BIG hit in our house! Ben is a typical boy, into the outdoors, shooting things with toy guns and so on. Finally, myself and Arlene have become a little addicted to the TV series ‘Nashville’ – so lots of influences in this photo shoot that make it special and unique to us.




I want to do many more themed shoots – they are soooo much fun. And the kids just loved all the props!



Our Hot Air Balloon!!

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It was important to me that the photographs weren’t all about the props – but that the character of the two kids came through. These next two photographs sum up our two kids perfectly!!

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And here’s just one more for you – there are many many more which I’m just going to keep to myself :-). I think there’s a perception that it’s mostly mothers who want photography of their kids – but when I look at these I couldn’t disagree more. As a Dad, I’ll cherish these for years – they capture a little moment in time and I can’t wait to get them on the wall.



If you would like a styled photography session – check out our Father’s Day Promotion here


A holiday to remember….

So the minute we picked ‘Charlie’ the camper up we headed to our first campsite. Rushin House in Belcoo is an awesome campsite. Of course it started to rain the minute we started – but not to worry – we had a fully equipped van to live in!

On the lakes of Fermanagh…

Charlie has a Westalia roof, which folds up and holds a really massive double bed. This is where our kids slept while we had another double downstairs..

Actually all this is surprisingly comfortable and sleeping was no problem!

After a nights sleep, we headed down to Strandhill, Sligo. Below – Ben happy at a local coffee shop…
Eva watching the in-camper DVD!

It took me a while to figure out why my mirrors seemed to always need adjusted. But I soon found the culprit:
   Charlie is cute! I like my speedy cars. Charlie wasn’t quite a speed demon. Steering wasn’t finger light, there’s a mile between each gear and the brakes are another story – but yet this wee camper makes you smile. It’s such fun to cruise around in. Everyone looks at you and smiles as you drive past.  In the caravan site we parked up beside huge multi-thousand pound campers with satellite dishes, showers etc. But Charlie stole the show!

And here he is with the roof up:

We’d defintely recommend . It’s just something totally different, great fun and totally memorable. The guys are great too – we were was so impressed to find a pint of milk and bottle of wine already in the camper 🙂 Go book them now!


So I’m back to work tomorrow, thankfully I’ve got the lovely Louise & Iain’s wedding which is a great way to break myself back in!

New lens!

The other day my new lens arrived. I was a little excited – as I try to evolve my style a little I think I’m going to have to buy a couple of these. So I got an old one on ebay, and in with the new , a 35mm F1.4.  It seems a handy focal length – it’s pretty much what you normally see. I love my 50mm, but it’s often just a wee tad too close.

So today after the European Grand Prix (which was awesome by the way), I took the kids out for an hour to the local amphitheatre. Ok there’s not an amphitheatre in Carrickfergus, but thats the name for the swimming pool complex :-).

It was a nice wee walk and  supposed to be a good test for the new lens before using it in anger…However, I only took a few photos as the play park is way too old for a two year old. Its very high and adventurous, with gaping drops and scary balancing beams etc.. Of course there was no stopping him and I had to stay on hand to prevent an unscheduled visit to A&E!

Mr. Grumpy – covered in dirt as normal…

So you like my bokeh?
The view from the swimming pool…

So I’m looking forward to getting this lens out at an upcoming wedding.

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