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  • Writer's pictureCara Hodge

Celebrate family photography Dublin. Anniversary & birthday.

Celebrations in life are a good reason to call in a family photographer. Recently I did a 50th anniversary family photo shoot in the Wicklow mountains, near Dublin, & a 70th birthday in the same week. What these family photo shoots have in common is the way family comes together to celebrate an important milestone with all the children & grand children. It's natural, candid family photography which celebrates the family from the eldest grandparents down to the youngest grandchild or baby. It is lovely to capture the grandparents interacting lovingly with their grand kids. This is a quick sneak peak of both sessions.

(More to follow!)

The celebrations took place at a hotel, Glenview hotel Wicklow (anniversary) and at home in the garden near Dundrum (birthday). Both locations had flower filled gardens.

50th Wedding Anniversary, Gleview Hotel, Wicklow.

I love to bring nature into my family sessions whenever I get the chance (Family photography, bringing in the wild).

First off, the classic family portraits. Those with a bit of prompting from me. As much as I love unscripted moments, there are times when a simple family portrait with everyone looking into the camera is a great, timeless memory.

If I have been asked to do classic family portraits I usually do them at the start of the shoot when everyone is still fresh and then here & there throughout the photo shoot along with the more candid ones.

Fly On The Wall, unscripted documentary family photography moments (more of these to follow from this anniversary family photo shoot in another blog post).

I don't need a lot of space for family pictures so the back drop of even just one tree or plants with flowers in a hotel garden can be enough. For instance, I made the most of these blue flowering hydrangea to frame these two brothers in the hotel garden before cocktail hour at inside the hotel. Aside from the color, I love to seek out shade...

two brothers in navy blue shorts and white shirts, formally dressed for anniversary celebrations. younger brother holding a toy tiger. family photo shoot dublin for 50th anniversary in a hotel garden in wicklow

Shade works well to escape bright light. However, in this case, the shade was used to deepen the color tones and create dramatic contrast.

It had just stopped raining and wet weather can can really enhance natural colors too, so don't worry too much if the weather forecast says cloudy & overcast, or even light showers.

There was very little editing needed on these pictures and they were mostly SOOC (straight out of camera), with just a bit of sharpening as the color tones were lovely & rich because of the recent wet weather & ample shade. (family photography under the shade of trees)

Sometimes a tree can create the main backdrop to a portrait, such as my apple tree carefree graduation family pictures (girl with all the apples).

The shadows under the fir trees make a near complete black background for the family to really stand out. I love how mum's wavy hair tumbles over her boy's shoulders as she kisses his cheek.

dad in a suit with his two sons in smart white shirts with mum leaning in to kiss her oldest son and her wavy hair falling across them. natural family photographer dublin for family celebrations and special ocassions

When I am doing a close up child portrait, even a few flowers falling into soft focus is all I need to frame a portrait. For the 50th anniversary celebrations it is important to capture the family groups as well as individual children & adults. The core family group was 12 people, including children & a very small baby!

little boy with wavy hair and dark brown eyes in a white shirt framed by blue hydrangea in soft focus. for 50th anniversary family photo shoot in dublin. at a hotel and garden
Bright eyes

Even in black & white, the texture of potted plants helps to frame the family members. Here, mum & dad with their eldest daughter and young son, all smartly dressed for the anniversary celebrations. Rather than editing out the stray long leaves to the right of the frame, I tend to leave in what I call the "dust & scratches", that's the odd stray elements that surround the frame. I think they add texture & interest. I love the perfectly imperfect, even within a more classic family picture.

mum, dad, older daughter and young son all smartly dressed for celebrations at the hotel for dad & grand dads 50th wedding anniversary.
Family Portrait

In this picture (below) all the grandchildren were in a pergola and I crouched down low to also create framing with the long planting from the beds in front of the the pergola.

grandma and granddad who are celebrating their 50th anniversary with all their grandchildren in a pergola surrounded by tall planting, grandma holding her youngest grand daughter and her two older grandsones and grand daughter and little brother. 5 grandchildren of varying ages in the hotel pergola and garden.

70th Birthday

Aside from a venue such as a hotel & garden, it can be desirable to celebrate in your own home & garden where you feel really (literally) "at home" and comfortable. This is really great for relaxed, no frills celebration photography. For this 70th birthday, dad (& granddad to many gorgeous grandchildren) wanted to celebrate with all the kids in his colorful garden at home in Dublin.

Here the garden really was a stand out feature.

As with the 50th anniversary, the garden provided a natural colorful backdrop to the family interactions. I loved the red dahlias, they added a festive pop of color & added to the feeling of joy.

Unlike the cloudy weather for the anniversary photo shoot, this birthday session was full sun at 3pm in the garden so I used the shade from a tarp. I also made the most of bouncing highlights even when shooting into blazing full sun to create a sunlit feel - sometimes I have to embrace the intensity of light and break the rules! (what rules?!).

grand dad tying blue balloon for his grand son in the garden at home. for birth day family photo shoots at home
Happy Birthday

There were lots of candid family interactions. Here with a little boy hugging mum and burying his head into the crook of her neck. Hugging is one of the best ways to get genuine connection & joy.

mum in a red patterned dress tickling her son as dad holds his older don in his arms with a garden backdrop with red dahlia flowers

(Below): the red dahlias mirrored the red of the balloon in this little girls hands as she sat with granddad on his birthday. Red also matches the lady's dress (above).

I have tips I give out to my families for their unique family photography Dublin sessions. I always say when someone wants to wear a splash of bright color, it is good when pops of the same color is spread out across a family in some way, however small. In this case, the red of the balloons and the red dahlia flowers really complement.

Color choices can really make a photo feel complete & polished in the final edit, so that even a documentary style family picture has a "finished" feel. (award winning color portraits). The eye will move around the frame taking all the color tones in and so where there is repetition it creates a harmony.

You can see more about how to prepare for a family photo shoot Dublin, including wardrobe tips, here in Frequently Asked Questions.

little grand daughter in flower dress on grand dad's lap holding a red birthday baloons. cara hodge photography, natural family photography for celebrations like birthdays at home or in an outdoor location. dublin family photo shoots for family events and occasions
Red Balloon

For more examples of natural family photography sessions in a garden, see my at home Holy Communion, Dundrum, Dublin. More on the anniversary photo shoot & birthday family photo shoot soon on the blog...

Cara Hodge specializes in natural family photography Dublin, & newborn at home photography, including special occasion photography such as anniversary, birthdays, Holy Communion, baptism & christening, debs and graduation family portraits. You can see more recent photo shoot Dublin galleries here.

Have a great week, Cara x


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