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  • Writer's pictureCara Hodge

Black & white family photography. At home.

Updated post with some recent black & white family photography taken at home. I am working on a project called My Family & Other Animals documenting life with our cat, Showering Zara. Also our French bulldog puppy Tony.

The project centers around documentary family photography. That's real life, unscripted photography with limited posing.

Here are some recent pictures. The project centers around day to day ordinary moments with our pets. Selecting the most dramatic pictures for the photo story (still a work in progress!).

My Family & Other Animals

boy with dressing gown hood over his face hugging french bulldog puppy
Hugga Me

A mix of classic child portraits & more spontaneous moments that focus on gesture & movement. For example, rough & tumble on the master bed, also including the no face portrait. Here, the focus is on my boy's arms wrapped around the dog as they slide off the bed together. Wrestling is a form of dance! I think the crumpled sheets helps with the notion of rough & tumble!

I always look out for authentic gesture & expression in my family, child & baby portraits. I really love to look at paintings and see how painters capture hands especially...

boy and dog wrestling together on the bed
Wrestle me

boy and puppy about to topple off the master bed with rumpled sheets

I love the shower series of my son washing Zara the cat that I blogged about before. This was a totally spontaneous moment where my son was showering her & I ran to grab my camera. I initially kept the child portraits in color as I loved how the muted tones came out, but have recently added them in a classic black & white.

boy showering cat with hands wrapped around cat's face

boy washing cat in shower with water marks on shower screen
Scoop Me

Recently, I added some washing Tony the Frenchie pictures as well! It is VERY low light in the shower off my daughter's bedroom. The shower screen gets misted over with condensation. However the texture of water droplets adds interest. I'm still going through my faves. Here are just a couple so far:

washing a french bulldog in the shower with splatter of water on shower screen
Washing Tony

When I do a mini family portrait series (of my own little family), I will do a soft edit first. Then I will do a more careful edit for my top favorites and really try and enhance the texture. A black & white family or child portrait will really POP when edited carefully. I'm going to add highlights to these beads of water.

droplets of water on shower screen as boy showers his puppy

I love to pay attention to backgrounds in a child environmental portrait. The viewer casts their eye around the picture, taking in all four corners of the frame, so any texture in the outer edges is important. I tend to shoot a lot on 2.8 aperture regularly as it allows the child to be in sharp focus, but ALSO allows elements of the background to be part of a story, rather than simply fall away into blur. At other times though, and in low light when I shoot on a wider aperture, blur can add atmosphere too. Imperfection in child portraits can add to the story.

I often have more than one personal black & white photo story project on the go! I love to experiment with window light streaming through my home throughout the year. Window light can be diffuse or steeped in dramatic light & shade for atmospheric black & white family photography.

Window light black & white family portraits

Most of my at home family photography Dublin is done near a window. Whether it's an outdoor family photo shoot, or inside the home, I rely on natural light sources.

Here, in the pictures below, light streaming in through floor to ceiling windows in my kitchen, is great for atmospheric family portraits. Using this light helps me with all my personal photo stories, including the pictures with pets.

At around 3-4pm each afternoon, it can get quite intense! Light bouncing off the mirrored backsplash in the kitchen. Off mirrored surfaces & glass. Midday light brings stark shadows & highlights. For these child portraits, I also had to wind down the blinds a bit to stop blowing out all the highlights!

To intensify the light for this family portrait series, I also added a lot of glasses in the foreground. Glass reflects light.

For an environmental child portrait, kitchen objects & dishes also adds to the storytelling element. There were some tulips naturally placed in a glass. At one point this beautiful boy put a tulip in his mouth! Props, the simplest of objects lying naturally about, can make child portraits more expressive.

I have over 10 years experience photographing families & chasing pretty light!I am internationally published and have been awarded first, second & third place at International Child Photo Competition, best of black & white child photography in the lifestyle & portrait section. I have also come 5th in International Documentary family awards.

I love to include classic black & white in my family photography Dublin galleries. See more of my black & white newborn & baby photography here. Also my black & white child portraits with a measuring tape (because he's growing up SO FAST I can't keep up!)

Working on my own timeless black & white emotive child portraits at home, help me to bring this cinematic feel into my client galleries. Natural light in the home comes through available windows, so window light is so important to all at home family sessions.

For family photography on location, all natural light - indoor, outdoor - in a place you love, please contact me to book your family portrait session Dublin. Now including seasonal mini family sessions.

Vibrant, natural color & timeless black & white family, child & baby portraits.

Cara xx

award winning child portrait of a boy in a black dressing gown with glasses and tulips
Light Source

child portrait with boy nonchalently posing with white tulip in his mouth
Tulip Fever

boy with intense stare leaning across kictehn counter in dressing gown with empty glasses and a vase of tulips

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