Ellen Mc Dermott Photography


Ellen McDermott’s Passion for Creative Digital Photography

If you haven't got passion you won't get very far in becoming a great creative digital photographer. You could possibly be a good photographer but good and great photographers are a world and 10,000 hours apart. I say 10,000 hours because that's the minimum amount of time it's reckoned you need to give to a subject to become an expert in that field, whether it's playing the violin, professional frisbee or your digital photography.

Now, I know not everyone wants to be a great creative digital photographer, some are only interested in it as a hobby perhaps along with golf or competitive stamp collecting and that's fine too. As for myself, I have to be honest and tell you I'm a little obsessive-compulsive with my  creative digital photography. Always have been, with everything, even as a child. I felt the need to touch certain things along the way to school or I would get this dreadful feeling that things would go badly for the rest of the day. As I got older other things replaced that obsession. Playing basketball, writing poetry and books I never submitted to editors, oil paintings which I sold in galleries, and then finally creative digital photography.

Of all things in my life creative digital photography has by far held my attention the longest and I know for sure that having invested well over the 10,000 hours mark, digital photography is here to stay. That's passion.

When my kids were younger and my husband was alive I didn't have so much time during the day to give to my passion, digital photography, but I'd find myself awake at 5 am thinking about the latest image I was working on and I'd sneak out of bed so I wouldn't wake my husband to go and work on that image. It was a joy. Not something I had to do but rather something I couldn't wait to do. My passion.

The challenge of learning mixed with applying what I'd learned was so compelling that when I first started exploring creative digital photography I was a little if not a lot OCD about it. I couldn't get enough and I knew I was hooked. I can't say my husband, God rest his soul, was as enthusiastic about this as I was. He regularly came to where I was working in the evenings, after the kids had gone to bed, to ask me if I would join him in the lounge to watch TV ....that's when I's get the laptop and sit there beside him working away happily on my knee for hours into the night.


These days, unfortunately, I have nobody to complain if I am working too hard or too long on my creative digital photography. Nobody to complain that I'm not giving them enough attention and I can let my OCD flow full swing which is exactly what I did when my husband passed away. I cannot tell you how grateful and lucky I was to have a passion like mine to lose myself in.  A vehicle to express my deepest thoughts, fears, and sadness.

I created this image two months after he died and it's called The Heart That Never Sees What It Loves. It's currently available for purchase on Saatchi if you should be so inclined.





I was hanging it in a gallery exhibition and the curator mentioned that he thought the title too long and that we should shorten it. No way. It's staying because that's what it's all about. Creative digital photography isn't just photography, it's creative. I've been criticized in the past for having my artworks too plainly named too. You can't please all of the people all of the time so its best to go ahead and please yourself, I say. Creative digital photography is a work of passion at the end of the day. Following your heart is the only way.

Having said that, here are some pieces with short named pieces of my creative digital photography you can check out on Saatchi too. It's all about balance.










I've given about 16 talks on creative digital photography around the photography clubs of Ireland over the past two years and a question related to the time I spend on work that I often get asked is "How many images a week would you produce and how long do they take"?

The answer is I produce about 2 or 3 creative digital photography pieces a week and they take about 9 hours of non stop work. They used to take 2 or three weeks when I first started. Having said that I don't post all the images I create. Some I end up not liking, or leave unfinished and a bit of a mess,  putting it aside to work on it at a later stage like this one which I started and never finished about 5 years ago.



I might also be working on editorial work like this photograph below, still a form of creative digital photography but less artsy, which I rarely post on social media or put in galleries.


There's always something to be doing in the world of creative digital photography, like getting images printed out and framed to replace images in galleries where I've sold pieces. Like this one below which I sold on Friday in the Open Window Gallery in Rathmines, Dublin. Or shipping them off in tubes to buyers across the globe.



There's the attending of fashion shows, photographing models for a model agency, holding workshops, editing, editing and more editing, and finally cooking dinner and hanging clothes on the line. Always good to bring you back to reality. Although my creative digital photography is my passion, we all have lives outside of our artistic selves.

And that's what photography is to me. An all consuming, obsessive compulsive delight I wouldn't be without.

10,000 hours. Feck that. More like 100,000 hours.

Not sure who came up with the idea of needing that amount of hours to be an expert at what you do or if it's even really true, but one thing I do know is that if you're having trouble putting in the hours for your creative digital photography during the week, you're not going to get very far. It's far better to plan your life around your photography if you can. Or easier still ....why not become obsessive compulsive like me?

All for Love

Ellen xoxox

On being creative

Can you believe its mid March already. We’re nearly a quarter way through 2017 and if you’ve been following me on Facebook or other social media you may (or perhaps not) have noticed…..that I took a month off my usual work schedule by pushing out as many work commitments as I could manage so I could take time out for myself.

Besides commissioned work I get I do work for a model agency photographing their models and fashion shoots.   I also create stock images for Getty Images and spend months planning and organising the weekend workshops I hold where I teach other photographers my style of creative photography. I have given about 15 talks around the photography clubs of Ireland over the past two years also sell my work in three art galleries in Ireland and one abroad and on Saatchi Art online gallery and other online galleries on the web so keeping up with all this along with updating my social media keeps me very busy indeed……and then there’s my own personal creative images that I like to make which requires a lot of planning and organising from the initial idea of the image to booking the model and choosing the clothing, hair and make up along with the shoot itself.




So I can tell you this….I’m so busy I often wake up in the morning totally surprised when I remember I have four children… AND. MY. BABY. IS. FIFTEEN. YEARS. OLD. ALREADY.


Seriously, I like a tidy house and I hate big piles of laundry and I let the kids chose their daily meals for my sanity. I’ll cook until the cows come home no problem but ask me “what’s for dinner Mum?” and you’ll find me with my head in my hands humming the theme tune from the Shining.

Laundry, thank God, I find therapeutic and my house is tidy in the…here’s my shoe and the other one is not far away …kind of way. Things have to be a little ordinary in my life in order for me to be creative. A little boring, a little run of the mill. I need time and solitude to be creative and its hard be that during times of intense pleasure or sadness.

The last time I took time off my work was the day my husband died in October 2011. I did nothing much for a whole year because I was either too busy crying or in the supermarket trying really hard not to.

This time I took a month off because I was happy and I really wanted to enjoy it and I did …..but now its time to get back to my ordinary, run of the mill life and put my head down and catch up with all I have to do.

I’m lucky to have Zakia, an intern, work with me these days and to help me catch up with all I have planned for the coming months. I usually plan six months ahead for my shoots and work commitments and I’m happy that I’m going to be busy and creative again.


Ellen McDermott Queen of the Sea


Although I’ve enjoyed this last month of respite I have missed creating and shooting my own personal work and perhaps its true that it takes a little time away from what you love to appreciate it. Absence makes the heart grow fonder as they say. It has in my case.

But if I’m being really honest…. so did the €2,500 bill I paid to replace my 25 year old central heating boiler.  As my grandmother used to say….someone has to keep driving the bus.

So I’m hoping this day will be a lovely creative day for me when I start working on an image I’ve had waiting very patiently on my desktop this past month.

As long as no one asks me ……..”What’s for dinner Mum ???”

Valentines Day Portraits

Get your Loved one a Valentines Day Portrait


It’s Valentines Day Soon !!


Fancy something a little different???

***SOLD OUT***

How about a personalised photo shoot as a Valentines Day gift for your loved one with bubbly and chocolates to help you relax ???

Buy one of my 10 Vouchers (only 8 remaining now) available and come to Co Wicklow to a Victorian Mansion by the Sea on Sunday 19th March 2017 and have your loved one pampered by a professional make up artist and hair stylist.  We can discuss time, clothing, underwear, colours etc closer to the day.


¨¨¨SOLD OUT¨¨¨

Email me for more information

or book your spot HERE leaving your name and email

as a reference so I can get back to you

All for LOVE

 xoxoxo Ellen xoxoxo


Ellen McDermott Feeling Blue



Ellen McDermott 1920





Ellen McDermott Angel



Ellen McDermott Vogue Audrey













Ellen M McDermott







Wicklow Photo Shoot Experience

Fashion Shoot Experience

This is not your usual photography workshop. Our intention is to take the social recreation of a workshop and add it to real fashion shoot environment , inviting pro, semi-pro and beginner photographers to be part of a splendidly arranged, editorial quality Baroque styled production.

This is a bridge between a workshop and a real fashion shoot, and an amazing opportunity for you to extend the range of your abilities and expand your artistry. You will gain confidence and experience – not forgetting lots of fun – working with gorgeous models and mingling with other creatives in a professional, high-energy environment.

By the end of the day, you may find yourself with a whole new portfolio of images, and unlike other events of this kind, you have full commercial rights release to everything you produce.

This is a one day event, shooting in the morning and post processing using photoshop in the afternoon

Price per place is €275 and a €75 deposit secures your place.
There are 10 photographers places and lunch is included along with tea/coffee and biscuits during the afternoon.

Photo Shoot Experience with Ellen McDermott

Would you like more experience working with models? Want to learn more about photoshop? Looking to fill your portfolio with superbly styled fashion? We will have a range of skill levels and personalities join us for this Event. We believe the way to learn and progress is to do.


Photographers will shoot in two groups of five with a designated professional agency model styled with specially sourced costume and accessories from contemporary and existing Irish fashion designer Claire Garvey who studied Stage costume design in Russia for two years and has her own boutique in Templebar, Dublin.


The day is strategically scheduled to allow for quality shooting time, organised carefully. We shoot with varied props and high end fashionable clothing laid on. The event is a one-stop portfolio revamp, an experience-building opportunity and a photographer’s dream.


On The Day
On the morning of the shoot I will discuss how to come up with inspiration for your creative images working with the array of props we will provide. How to pose your model etc. You get assistance, some guidance and help but at the end of the day this is your opportunity to create your very own work,learning on the job so to speak.

In the afternoon I will deal with all things photoshop related and give you textures and brushes that I use in my own work.  I will go through the processes I use the most with photoshop in the post processing of my images so you too can learn how to be more creative in your own work.

The Fashion Shoot Experience allows pro, semi pros and beginners to create quality work for submission, exhibition or any commercial use with full rights release to all images you have taken. We send you a full info PDF in advance of the shoot which covers everything in more detail:including the full itinerary; what to bring, and an overview of what you can expect to get from the Experience.

Booking your spot

Email ellenmcdermott1@gmail.com to claim your spot!

First come first serve and €75 will secure your spot.

Only 10 photographer spots available
Please write “Tinakilly Photo Shoot Experience” in Subject Box of your email.
Payment and cancellation terms will be sent along with your invoice.

We can’t wait to see you at Tinakilly.

All for Love





Vogue Italia Photogra


Untitled design (31)

Paris here we come!!!

We are so excited to announce our next Photo Shoot Experience is taking place in Paris, France in February 2017.

The venue is an amazing Baroque styled house that Vogue and Harpers Bazaar have held their editorial shoots in because it’s truly an amazing place.  Check out all of the details here and if its something that interests you a deposit will hold your spot as places are limited to 12 photographers only so don’t miss out!


Check out the location video

Free Photoshop Tutorial

This is the image we will be working on in the Photoshop 101 Tutorial.  It will be emailed to you so enter your address to get your free video tomorrow Friday 8th July 2016.



Free Online Photoshop Course.

Enter your best email to receive it straight to your inbox

Fashion Shoot Experience in September



Riverside Park Hotel

So this is the hotel we are staying in for our Fashion Shoot Experience in September 2016.

Early morning swim for those who don’t stay too long in the bar on Saturday night!!!

Below is the Woodbrook House which is about 20 minutes drive away and where we are photographing our four models in four locations throughout the venue.

Inside woodbrook facebook header

That staircase above is the only floating staircase in Ireland.

More details on the Fashion Shoot Experience HERE


FREE Photoshop Tutorials



Ok, I’m going to be honest here and tell you something.
I’ve failed.

Yep, for over a year and a half I’ve been promising to do a 101 and a 201 photoshop course. That’s about 550 days. Yes, for 550 days I’ve been beating myself up EVERY day for not getting started on it. For not even opening Screenflow and making a stab at it. This morning I sat down with a pen and paper and tried to work out why I just can’t get even begin creating it and you know what I came up with?

My heart is NOT in it.

Sure I was going create, package and sell this course and make recurring money as I slept selling this over the worldwide web.
It was going to be perfect, polished and powerfully profitable, I was going watch my bank balance increase substantially enough to sell my house, move to the south of France and have, wine, cheese and French bread with my family in our out door living area covered with vines in pleasant weather and live happily ever after. NOT.

And why did this not work out for me?

Well, I’d like to say its the dogs fault.

I put the dog outside and began to record the first “Preferences Section” of the 101 Course around the same time that he started barking at the birds overhead.

I brought him inside and put him in the living room where he started barking at people walking past.

I put him in the kitchen beside me where he began chewing on his toys and his dry food.

It was around that time I though Feck this. I really dont want to do this if I have to lock the dog upstairs in my bedroom.

But that was just an excuse.

My heart really wasn’t in it.

I’m an artist.

I create pretty pictures.

I’m not a person who monetises perfectly created and polished online courses.

I’m a person who creates art.

So here’s what I’ve decided to do.

I’m creating the tutorials for FREE

I’m giving them to you for absolutely NOTHING.

You have no idea how good I feel about typing that. Pressure off.

And in return

You can’t complain about Ralph crunching on his dry food as you listen to my tutorials.


Ok, HERE is the link to the first one entitled Photoshop Preferences. More to follow as I make them. Oh and feel free to share this with your fellow photographers or artists who you feel would be interested in my tutorials.

They and you can sign up on my website HERE to have the free tutorials delivered straight to your email inbox.


Now I’m off to do what I do best.

Make artwork.

All for Love

Ellen xoxox


Being an artist is not a real job


Monday’s the day that I plan what I am doing for the week.

I create a list of all I have to do and then I prioritise that list as follows;

I concentrate on the commissions and the work I have to have printed out and framed for galleries first and then I plan my own time during the week for working on photographs that I have already taken of models and lastly comes organising future shoots so I have a continuos batch of images to work with on an ongoing basis.

Things may not always go to plan but I find having a plan in the first place gives me something to aim for. Being a single parent of four children often means that things on my To Do list get pushed aside if one of my kids is sick or needs a lift somewhere and working from home means a lot more interruptions as I’m more available to them than I would be if I was in an office in the city.

I was amused to hear my youngest daughter (14 years old) tell me last week that the teacher asked everyone what their parents worked at and when she asked my daughter she told me that she said, “Nothing, she’s a stay at home mother”.


I had to laugh.

“What did you say that for?”

“Well an artists not a real job is it?” she replied.

Kids! You gotta love them.

On my list of things to do today was to chose some images of my new work to give to Deirdre Irwin of The Open Window Gallery for her to look through and choose from. When she tells me the ones she’d like to hang in her Gallery I’ll get them printed out and framed.

Framing, printing and matting all costs money so when I am deciding which images to put forward to a gallery I want to make sure that I am choosing images that I know will sell. It can cost me up to €100 for one image to be printed out nicely and framed and that also includes the cost of the petrol to drive to the gallery in Dublin and back again to Wicklow so I really do want to make sure I am choosing the correct ones.

Want to know how I do that?

Well, art’s very subjective but only to a certain extent.

This is what I do.

I always upload my images as I create them to both Facebook and Flickr and other social media sites like Instagram and Pintrest so I go to the stats section for them and I check out which ones are the most popular.

Facebook Stats Flickr Stats


I often find that an image I’ve created and want to hang in my own home receives only a little attention and an image I am not that fond of receives lots so obviously I’m going to print out the ones that others find more appealing.

Some of my images are very personal to me and the meaning behind them makes them special and that meaning gets kind of lost to the general public who create their own stories when they look at them. I think that’s great and I want that to be the case and so that’s why I print out the images that others like and not the ones that I do.

Because I want them to sell.

So I can be paid

So I can cloth, feed and give my daughter pocket money

And…..so that she can think I am a stay at home mother!

Here’s some of my more popular new images I’m emailing to The Open Window Gallery for consideration.






on fire800 copy


Of_three_minds copy_700




ForestGirl_300 copy


twirling_woman copy


Whether you’re a wedding photographer, a hobbiest, a fashion photographer or a fine art photographer like me coming up with ideas for your image is everything. By ideas I mean, location, clothing, props, hair, make-up, time of day….I could go on and on but you get the gist right?

There’s so much to pull together before you even get to focus your camera on the model that sometimes it’s easier to take a photo of a flower or a nice landscape and put off your photo shoot with your model for another time. Lets face it landscapes and flowers are low maintenance.

The thing is, if you are anything like me you procrastinate like mad and that’s why I come up with different ways to get myself out of stuck mode and come up with image after image without feeling too overwhelmed.

I call it my three column Charles Dickens Method (he used this method for his short stories).

10 landscapes.

10 props (from around you as you do this exercise).

10 colours (also from around you as you do this exercise)

Once you have made your list you then cross reference them to create a scene. Lets say you’re a wedding photographer and you want a cool unusual shot before the couple leave the church and head off to the hotel and lets say the wedding is this weekend.

Here’s how I would do that.

Ok, I’m looking at my coffee table right now as I type this and it’s covered in :

white paper

white diary

white coffee cup

white toilet roll (don’t ask)

white plate

sun glasses

money (coins)


chopsticks (yep)

The table is made of wood and has four legs.

Right so lets work with all that.

I’d bring them to a tree or a nearby wood if no tree or wood (table) I’d find a wooden bench or chair.

I’d bind their hands together with thin strips of white (all the white items) satin ribbon (toilet paper) and if I found four trees I’d tie ribbons around them and make a bow. If there were not trees I’d tie two ribbons either side of them on the bench or chairs.  I’d also bring an assistant to help me.

Ok, I think you get the idea, right?

I know, I know a little bit of an odd way to come up with ideas but guess what? It works!!

Knowing your location helps too.

You have to scout out your location whether its for an event like a wedding or a fashion shoot for a magazine or an artistic image for your portfolio. You have to know where the sun will be at the time so you can get your best shots set up in your mind in advance and once you can picture it in your mind I can tell you you’re half way there.

The image you see below I created using this technique. I used a photograph of a starry sky and blended it over the image of the model. I stamped in Difference mode with the clone tool a flower brush all over her dress and I changed the colour of her dress to red as it was blue. I added in the red petals in such a way that it looked like she was sitting in water.

Here’s the list of items around me at the time which I chose from to create the image

Starry sky from my lounge window
Red roses on my sideboard
Glass of water on my coffee table


Try it and post your image in my Photo Shoot Experience Facebook page here. I would really, really love to see what you come up with and don’t forget to post your list of things around you that inspired you to create your image.

All for Love


10 years this year

The first time I ever manipulated an image was way back in 2006, exactly 10 years ago this year! I was using, or rather, I tried to use GIMP the free software platform which is open source. Another photographer on Flickr recommended it to me and it changed my work FOREVER.

Thank God I love a challenge because I remember distinctly clicking on the magnetic selection tool and then on my image and not being able to control it at all.

I hadn’t got a clue what I was doing it really frustrated me and I had to shut the whole program down because I didn’t even know where my undo history button was located.

Zoom forward 10 years to today and I find that the undo button is the one I use the MOST when I am working!

As I mentioned before I do love a challenge and so I was determined not to let Gimp get the better of me and I spent over two years perfecting every single tool in Gimp before moving on to Photoshop which is similar but the interface is a little different.

They both work great and each can do things that the other can’t but I find myself working totally in Photoshop these past 6 years.

I like how Gimp saves brushes in the exact format that you save then and not in greyscale like Photoshop but then I like the interface of Photoshop more.

For a while I jumped between the two and today if there is something specific I want to paste around an image I sometimes revert back to Gimp as the brush tool is more versatile than Photoshops.

Another great feature within Gimp is it’s smudge tool which works great compared to Photoshops smudge tool which leave the wheel on your computer whirling round and round and sometimes it even gets frozen for more than 10 minutes which can be very frustrating.

This doesn’t happen in Gimp and I do use this feature for smoothing the skin on a models face. I couldn’t think of using this feature for a fashion shoot image but I would most definitely for an artistic image as I would be going for the painterly effect and smudging can give you this effect better than blurring or frequency separation.

If I am using this technique I transfer the image into Gimp which can open Photoshop images easily and can save the image in a Photoshop format when I’ve finished.

I like to save the image in Photoshop format if I am working on it in daily stages as each time you save it as a jpeg or tiff you lose some of the information and with all the opening and closing of the image it can turn out quite blurry when you get it printed out.

This is the first image I created on Gimp that I sold and it’s aptly called ‘Girl With Balloon’. It was taken with a Sony Cybershot with about 5 megapixels I believe!!

girl with balloon500
So really this image was created with extremely inexpensive and totally free tools and can be found in a Gallery in Soho NYC today! I tell you this to let you know that you cannot blame your lack of lens or inability to upgrade your camera for not creating amazing work that sells. As the old saying goes ‘the typewriter does not write the bestselling novel’ neither does the camera…..YOU DO.

So stop procrastinating about creating amazing works of art and start planning your next shoot TODAY!

You may not aspire to have your work hanging in a gallery like mine does or to even sell your work and if you do, good for you.

You may just want to create beautiful images for your own home or for friends or family or to enter into competitions in your Photography Club. Whatever your reason for loving photography and wanting to creating amazing images don’t let ANYTHING stop you. Start creating TODAY.

If there’s something you don’t understand about post processing, look it up on YouTube, Google it, or why not email me and ask; ellenmcdermott1@gmail.com

I’m working on my Photoshop 101 Course which I am half way through producing. Its full of tips, tricks and things that took me 10 years to learn myself and I want to share for FREE the first of the seven sections with you guys who signed up to this newsletter of mine when I’ve finished creating it so you can get started on creating your own amazing manipulated images and worlds!

So keep an eye out for it in your inbox because will be arriving shortly!

Have a lovely week.

All for Love

Ellen xox

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Our April Photo Shoot Experience

Can you believe it’s May already?  Nearly half way through 2016 and what busy months they’ve been.  Let me tell you about our Photo Shoot Experience we held in April

 We packed up the cars with clothing, lights and 4 amazingly professional models from Roza model agency in Galway and we set up shop in Tinakilly, a Victorian Mansion by the sea.  11 Photographers joined us for the two days, staying overnight and we held a four model four location photo shoot from morning until late afternoon.

Unfortunately it rained so we couldn’t use the beautiful grounds of the hotel but the four poster bedrooms more than made up for it and the huge Pavilion outside gave us plenty of room to move around and shoot in.

photo shoot experience

On the second day we dealt with photoshop and practiced working on our images.

You can see some of the photographers edited images from the two days on our Fashion Shoot Experience Facebook Group HERE.  Here’s one of my favourites of the lovely model Sam Bruce that I took.


We all had a great time and there was a great buzz moving around the hotel to shoot the four models in the four different locations throughout the day

2016Apr11_2639 Ellen McDermott 1

If you haven’t already joined our Photo Shoot Experience Facebook group you are most welcome to do so HERE.   I often stop by with little freebies and photoshop tips and the members of the group  will be the first who are informed about the next Fashion Shoot Experiences we are holding this September in our next quirky location here in Ireland with 11 photographer spots available.

This next Fashion Shoot Experience will also be a two day event with overnight stay in an hotel.  Shooting on the first day and photoshop and business marketing will also be covered for those of you wanting to increase your web presence or clientele numbers.

Please do pass on the information or this link to the Photo Shoot Experience Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/Photo-Shoot-Experience-1500143426915893  to your photographer friends if you think it’s something that would interest them too.  I’ll be emailing out the details and photos of the location over the coming days so if you are not already on my email list sign up here so you don’t miss out.


Subscribe to my newsletter

All for Love

Ellen xox

My “Secret to getting things done”



Hello to you and to this new 2016 year too!

Okay so its January and the following may be a bit blunt, yes, my approach which I use to make sure that everything gets done may seem to some a little simplistic to you too.

But it’s my honest reaction to what appears to be a staple of modern life: a massive and ever increasing pressure to do more, be more, create more and achieve more.

Between all the things you ‘should’ be doing to be your best (eating well, getting more sleep, working out, etc.) and the professional demands on your time (setting up shoots, making textures and brushes, collecting props and clothing for shoots, working, etc.), not to mention the responsibility you have to family, kids, pets and friends…

It’s no wonder many of us feel like we’re barely staying above water. That’s why I was excited to hear from Sinead, who wants to know my personal method for getting everything done.

So here’s my unconventional advice for Getting Everything Done without feeling very overwhelmed especially when it comes to finding time for simple things like your social media to promote your latest work… and it WILL help you so much to fit everything into your life that you need to do


Yes, say NO way more than you ever have before.

Turn people down ALL the time.

Say NO to your emails.


Because if you don’t it leads to a dozen mediocre jobs that never get even half done.

Be ultra clear on your projects. No meeting with friends for coffee, no laundry, no emails because everything takes longer than you think it will. A million different opportunities pop up every day to distract you. Facebook, Netflix, surfing the web, chatting with friends on the phone.

My secret to fitting it all in is that I don’t.

I don’t try to.

I don’t care to

I keep my life as simple as I possibly can so that the things I DO say yes to I can be fully present for.

I can give the thing I am working on the time and attention it deserves.

When you know and understand what’s important its a lot easier to put aside the things that are not

So that’s my answer Sinead to your question about how I manage to get everything done whilst being a single parent (Im widowed for those of you who don’t know) with four kids whilst I also keep a tidy house, cook healthy meals, socialise AND have a career.

Now, I would LOVE to hear from you.

If you’re like most creatives I know, myself included you have a million trillion things you’d LOVE to work on and create BUT if you could only have 3 top photography priorities right now and 3 top personal priorities what would those be?
I would LOVE to know.

So PLEASE do let me know in the comments below this post what those things are.

And remember…stay on your game and keep going for your dreams of creating the beautiful work that you want to because the world needs that special gift that only YOU have.

All for Love

Ellen xox


Misty_River copy


Fancy a Change of Hair Colour

I always think of summer as a great season for blondes, and autumn for red heads.

I’m a black haired girl myself who has always wanted to try being blonde but lets face it, turning from black to blonde is NEVER going to work out.


What I am able to do though is see what I would look like with different colour hair using Photoshop.  I’ve made a short 6 minute video so you can try it in your photo editing work. Enjoy!!

All for Love xox


Where Do You Get Your Vintage Clothing From

I often get asked where do I get my vintage clothing for my photo shoots so I have put together here a list of online places which are helpful if you don’t fancy driving around looking for yet another thrift shop.

Victorial Choice (Ebay & Online)

Screen Shot 2015-06-06 at 10.53.51

Nifty Thrifty (Online)

Screen Shot 2015-06-06 at 10.55.24

Rusty Zipper (Online)

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Adored Vintage

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I bought three whimsical dresses yesterday and cant wait to use them in my next shoot.  They inspire me!!!

Let me know in the comments below if you know of any other online places where they sell great clothing that ships internationally.  I’d love to know.

Another Bloody Day – Photo Editing – Light and Shadow

Here’s another image that deals with light and shade.  (Photo Editing Tutorial Video can be found below)


Photo Editing Another Bloody Day



The red colour is quite striking and works well with the dark room although I do find it difficult making sure that the colour red doesn’t become blown out too much.

For me its the most difficult colour to work with both to photograph and to retouch.

Enjoy the video and after you watch it tell me in the comments below it what you find most difficult about working on whether its a photograph or one you are editing.  I’d love to hear what you find most difficult about photo editing so I help you figure it out.







Layers and Light

Do you find when you add a layer to an image it makes it look dull and lifeless???  Want to add a little light in all the right spots to your layer image.  If so then this four minute tutorial which uses a photo taken at my workshop in London on Saturday last is perfect for you.

Enjoy and please leave any comments or questions you’d like to ask me  in the comments below.

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Choosing Colours that Work

Do you have problems trying to make your images look cohesive and easy on the eye.  I know I found it one of the most difficult aspects of making a great image when I started off and so I would like to share with you what I learned along the way!!

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Without a doubt the most important thing to take into consideration when your are blending your images together is colour .  The reason for this is that if you get this wrong the images you are compositing will look unrealistic and have that copy and pasted look making it obvious that they are two separate images and your image will never have that wow factor.

Below I have given you links to 3 websites that I found very useful when creating my images and the third one is my very favourite and one I love to use to this day as I am planning my image before I even shoot the photograph.

I hope you find them interesting and helpful when you are creating your next image.

  One of the principle things to do is to decide on your colour scheme.  No artists paints a picture without first laying out his/her colours and painting digitally is no different.

Its a fact that some colours are more appealing than others.   Blue for example is more appealing, especially if you are viewing it on your computer.  Red draws your eye immediately to the place where you have used it in your image.  You can find an explanation of colours and their meanings here as it is an important part of creating your work of art and something I learned when I was an oil painter.


I like to use neutral colours and complimentary colours and I also often use contrasting colours to add a pop of colour and interest to my image.  I have been doing this for so long that I already know which colour goes with another colour best and what the contrasting colour to one you wish to use goes best and you will too as you create more and more images.

The best way for you to learn is from a colour wheel and whilst there is one within GIMP and Photoshop its a good idea to have a paper one at hand or a virtual one like this which you can play around with to find colours that match well..


If you are choosing your colour palette before you start working on your image and need a little inspiration the website Design Seeds is great for finding a photograph you like the colour tones of. You can scroll through them or use the search options then copy the codes on the right of the photograph and use them for your own image. Easy!!


My favourite site and a little secret that I use is to upload a photograph that I admire to the site below and it comes up with all the colours that the artist has used in their image and I copy them and past them into a document to use at a later date along with the original photo.  A little time management goes a long way when your a busy mum with four daughters and a house you like to keep tidy and I do!!



I hope you enjoy using these and creating beautiful images with beautiful colours that blend and make your work look cohesive and attractive on the eye.



Do you have any tips or tricks that you use for choosing your colours?

Let me know in the comments below as I am always interested in things like that.

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All for Love xoxo


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Where do you shoot?

Most of my photos are taken within a couple of miles of my house including this one. 


Its easy to take a picture around a couple of trees and make it look like you are in a forest. If you are looking for inspiration for a photo then look around you.


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  You don’t need a studio or an expensive backdrop to make a good photo but you do need an imagination to see how you can make the most of what you have at hand.


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Where’s your next shoot going to be?

Comment below as I’d love to know how you go about setting up your shoot.

3 Things to keep you on track timewise


When you have a couple of commissions on the go along with keeping your website, blog, flickr, facebook, instagram, pintrest, and twitter updated constantly in order to bring in more work it’s very easy to miss deadlines and missing deadlines is not good if you are hoping to get repeat work or recommendations by your client .  If you say you’ll have a picture printed out, mounted and framed by a certain date its only fair that you come through your end as you promised when you first took on the job.

So what do I do to keep myself organised?

How do I manage to keep a tidy house, fridge stocked, meals cooked, laundry done as well as all of the above?

I’ll let you in on my secret

Here’s a list of things I could not go without using on a daily basis to keep me on track.


It’s is an app for cloud-based tasks and project-management for both your personal life and your professional productivity. It allows me to manage my tasks from my phone, tablet and computer . The app is free; though I have chosen the Premium version with additional features like coffee making which are available in a paid version and its only $29.  Its got a great feature that I love, because I am a visual person, which is a pie chart and bar chart so I can see at a glance where I need to pick up the slack


I love Evernote with all my heart and it is my brain.  I have a tiny Elephant on my browser bar which I press when I want to remember something  or want to read later.  I tag everything and then later its easy to find.

A “note” can be a piece of formatted text, a full webpage or webpage excerpt, a photograph, a voice memo, or a handwritten “ink” note. Notes can also have file attachments. Notes can be sorted into folders, then tagged, annotated, edited, given comments, searched, and exported as part of a notebook.  I can also email in items to Evernote.  It  has a free version which I used before I changed over to the premium version to get more space because I do to many monthly brain dumps and hate to throw things away.     If I didn’t have Evernote I could quite possibly forget where I live and I might never come home, cook the dinner, feed the kids, who’d die of starvation and thats my excuse for paying the $45 a year.



I use the focus wheel on my phone and I use it for long term projects.  Its a wheel with spokes and in the middle you write what you want to focus on and in the spokes around the wheel you write your steps towards that goal and as you delete them you get closer to your goal.  As easy as that but it sure does keep you focused.


So they are my three things that I use at the moment.

Yesterday I closed my scheduling account with TimeTrade which I use for making appointments with clients.  I closed it because I found out after I signed up with them that TimeTrade doesn’t take the time difference internationally into consideration unbelievably.  It also didn’t send out reminders to clients about their up coming appointment.  I am going to try out Calendly today.  They have a free option if you are interested in trying it out before you buy which integrates with Google Calendar but thats all.  If you want to be able to send links to your clients for them to choose a day/time you are free that suits them too you’ll have to pay for the premium which works out about $8 a month.  Not bad for piece of mind.


I must mention here I am not an affiliate of any of the above but I do use and love them.


I hope they are of use to you if you do decide to use them.  If there is anything else that you’d recommend for keeping on top of things do let me know in the comments below.  I’d love to know.




Can you use RAW files with GIMP

Last night I was giving a talk to the members of The Dublin Camera Club and one of the members of the audience asked me if Gimp would accept RAW files.

Good Question.  The answer is yes if you download Gimp from www.gimp.org. It already includes UFRA.

What’s UFRA?   Unidentified Flying Raw of course !!

It’s an editor application which can function both as a separate software and as a plug-in for GIMP.  It.can read and manipulate photographs in raw image formats, as created by many digital cameras. UFRaw is available as both as a stand-alone program and as a plugin for GIMP.

For Mac users its already installed in the Gimp for Mac download which I linked to above and for PC/Windows users you will need to download UFRAW from Sourceforge, located here.

When you make changes in a RAW editor (like UFRAW, Adobe Camera RAW, or RAW Therapy) the changes are stored in a ‘side car’ file. This file tells the RAW editing program what settings to apply every time you open the RAW file, but it doesn’t permanently apply the settings until you export the file to a format like JPG.

So, if you delete the RAW Sidecar file, the RAW image will go back to its original state when you open it in the RAW editor, because there’s nothing to tell the RAW editor which settings should be applied. All changes to RAW images are stored in the side car file so you can go back and re-edit the original RAW file at any time without loss of image quality.

I hope that explains RAW to you.  I remembered it seemed a little mysterious when I first came across the term.

 I always shoot in RAW & JPEG to be on the safe side 🙂


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info @iheep.com Ellen M McDermott
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