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  • Writer's pictureCara Hodge

Emotive Family Portraits Dublin. My favorite moments

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

My headline for my entire website in the website listings is: Cara Hodge Photography - Natural family photographer Dublin. Aside from natural, I use the word emotive a lot (A-LOT)

Emotive means: arousing or able to arouse intense feeling.

I only want to show the pictures on my website that I feel an emotional reaction to.

Those family portraits that I feel truly reflect my tone of voice.

So the last week or so, I looked back over my archive for my favorite family, child & baby portraits. Picking the pictures that "move me" most for the home slider (I have since done away with the home slider on the Home page but I'll keep the pictures here at the end of this blog).

I have favorite family & child portraits that include surprises. Unexpected gesture & movement. These are the unscripted family photography moments. On my Fly On The Wall page I introduce documentary family photography which is about limited posing & assistance from me. Ideal for families with small children & babies. Including at home newborn photography Dublin. My family sessions will always include a mix of classic family & child portraits AND more spontaneous documentary family photography.

What elements make up an emotive family portrait? What do I look out for?

Unexpected expressions & gestures.

I love hand gestures & am always on the look out for expressive hands!

Sometimes unexpected moments can be dramatic (my cat catching mouse photo would probably be a favorite here). However, I include more subtle expressions & gestures too that come as a bit of surprise. I love it when newborn baby girl reached her little hand out like Superman in this at home newborn photography Dublin session. It made me smile.

newborn baby girl on master bed reaching a hand out like superman. emotive family photography

These authentic, honest interactions between family members can happen with the furry ones too. I love to include all family members, including dogs & cats and any other pets in my family photography Dublin sessions. I just love this little French bulldog's curious & trusting expression as he looks up at this little boy (little boy at home with Frenchie). I also love all the whites in this picture as it makes his dark ears stand out so much better - a happy coincidence. This moments was unplanned.

french bulldog puppy looking up at boy with wide eyes as he sits in his lap

Capturing Moments That Have Meaning for parents

Sometimes in a family session it will be important to them for me to capture a particular moment. The most obvious one might be a baby's first smile. Parents know their children best of all and expressions that mean the most to them. For instance, during this Spring mini outdoor photo shoot with baby girl, I caught baby girl's first steps. Including the moments she stood up all on her own unassisted.

baby girl in white summer dress taking first steps on a daisy lawn

And up she went!

little baby girl in white cotton dress standing and waving on a daisy lawn

Using light to best effect

Using light well will enhance the emotive aspects of a picture. Here in this Communion photo shoot in Donadea Forest Park, it was intense sunlight in the middle of the day. I had to use the shelter of trees to temper the brilliant sunshine. With that said, the intensity of the light added drama to the pictures. I love dappled summer lighting & there was quite a lot on this Communion photo shoot.

dad spinning his daughter in a white communion dress in dappled summer light

And here there was brilliant sunshine slicing up the wall with golden end of day light. I tried to capture it as well as my son interacting with the new Frenchie puppy. My son and our new Frenchie is the inspiration for many photo stories at the moment & a series called: My family & other animals. More to come...

boy staring his french bull dog puppy in the face on a bed with golden rays of light

Emotive editing. Classic, soulful black & white and vibrant, natural color.

A good, careful edit can make all the difference in making a good picture stand out & be more impactful. Although black & white child & family photography is my passion, I do love vibrant natural color too. I definitely wanted to include some life-affirming color in my family galleries. Most pictures across my website include deep, natural but vibrant color tones.

And here below are examples of recent black & white family photography that I feel strike an emotive tone. These can be subtle moments of connection - dad giving his daughter a cold drink on a hot day for this outdoor communion photo shoot. Or just a hug between sisters in the garden at home. Black & white can allow the viewer to focus on the composition of a picture, undistracted by color (black & white child).

girl in communion dress drinking from fanta bottle on a hot day

two sisters hugging in end of day light with hair catching the light and wisps of hair across face

Of course my kids feature in my fave emotive child portraits...because my kids have my heart & them some...You can see how my journey in lifestyle & family photography began in recording the daily life of my own children here in, In The Beginning.

Also, in my photo story project Untamed Summer Story, I am really trying to capture my two nieces in a summer garden as honestly as possible, capturing the laughter as well as the tears over the course of a week. Taking emotive photo stories of my own family really helps me to create more atmospheric pictures for the families I photograph here in Dublin.

Cara Hodge Photography - Emotive Family Portraits Dublin. Professional, award winning photographer. All natural light. At home or a place you love. Making the most of moments as they unfold naturally. Including newborn at home Dublin, capturing the first days & weeks of being a parent when baby is still all curled up

Contact me to book your family or newborn baby session. My packages include digital images, prints & luxury, professionally printed albums. All beautifully handcrafted in range of leather & material covers

You can check out more of my emotive, natural family photography Dublin, here:

Check out frequently asked questions about preparing for a family photo shoot here:

And here are some kind words from people who have had a family or newborn session with me:

Have a lovely week, Cara xxx

child in a tub waving a water sprinkler, giant flower bloom in the foreground. for emotive & natural family photographer dublin

boy between two vases of flowers in soft window light

a little girl skipping over a plant pot. for emotive family photographer dublin. Cara

little boy tucked up in bed sleeping with his hands clasped as if in prayer, with a dog

award winning child portrait, featured in iconic artist, milan, showing boy with light across one eye, leaning across a chopping board

black & white award winning child portrait showing boy leaning across chopping board with greek goddess statue next to chopping board


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