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  • Writer's pictureCara Hodge

Natural family photography at home, Wicklow.

Updated: Feb 15

Mum, dad, and three daughters. Big, middle & little sister. I LOVED shooting this gorgeous family at home in the garden in the Wicklow mountains. We also planned to go to a little jetty overlooking the nearby lake. We had also considered to do a walk in the nearby mountains for an hour, but the sun at midday was so bright, we decided to stick to the shade in the garden! For the full series see: At home family portraits. With a wheelbarrow).

As I say on my mentoring photography page, I am inspired by objects that can act as props naturally found in the environment at home & outside in the garden. I like to use props for family portraits as a way of creating more emotive family portraits. (emotive family portraits Dublin. My favorite moments).

In this instance, there was a small striped tent that was perfect for child & family portraits. I took pictures of the three girls individually in the tent.

little girl with curly hair holding a pink rabbit in a striped tent. emotive child and family photography dublin by cara hodge.

I like how this gorgeous girl looks big inside the little tent. I love making quirky, unusual child portraits wherever possible! See how the red polka dots match the red stripes on the tent? I offer wardrobe tips so that colors can compliment each other across a family! (Family photo shoot Dublin. What to wear?) No need for totally matching though! They key word here is natural & effortless style...The most important thing is to rock up & be comfortable!

older teenage girl in a stripy tent. family photo shoots at home for babies, children, teenagers and adults by cara hodge
Tent II

And let's not forget the wheelbarrow family portrait. I seem to have done SO MANY of these recently! In fact, this family had seen some of my child portraits (of my own children...) that were taken inside an old wheelbarrow on my website - and so spotting a wheelbarrow in their garden, we couldn't resist! All three girls in the wheelbarrow here (below). (The wheelbarrow. Summer family portraits Dublin).

three sisters in a wheelbarrow with two in the wheelbarrow and one pushing with background of trees and blue sky. quirky child portraits by cara hodge
Three Sisters

of As well as individual child & family portraits, it was important to do a group family portrait with everyone tightly hugging in the frame! I have tips & tricks to help make people feel relaxed. I like to introduce games...In this instance, I asked everyone to squeeze together & cling to each other as if they are on a ship at sea. This way they were enjoying swaying about & laughing! Mum & dad wearing simple black was a dramatic foils to the girls' colorful summer dresses!

mum, dad in matching black clothes with their three girls, all hugging each other in the garden with blue sky and clouds. emotive, natural family portraits by cara hodge photography.
All Together

As well as group portraits, I like to concentrate on intimate & emotive pictures of parents & their children. This often means getting closer for portraits that focus on the little details. For instance, I love the detail of little girl's mass of curls & how her head is buried in the crook of dad's arm (below). I like how her eyelashes gently brush his skin here. These portraits are reliant on capturing authentic CONNECTION between family members. I often practice with my own family to get these honest family portraits & documentary style moments (At home family photography Dublin. The stories so far...)

little girl with curly hair and face buried in the crook of dad's arm and dad's face looking down at her her, with a blue sky and clouds. emotive, candid family portraits at home.

In order to focus on detail, it's fine if mum & dad are slightly out of the frame. It is important to leave enough of them so it looks like a deliberate cut though! This closer up style portrait can make for interesting compositions & not just traditional "eyes on me" family pictures. For instance here (below) I like how her hair is hanging down across her face as dad looks up lovingly at her. I also like how their little girl is looking down. There is an intimacy to family portraits where family members are not looking directly into the lens, but away from it, as if lost in their own thoughts & emotions...

mum with hair hanging across face looking at dad with their daughters also perched on dad's knee in a blue dress.

I also like to make room for couples photography within a family portrait session. Why? Because it was the love between a couple that started this beautiful & precious family. -these three girls - in the first place. I would LOVE to do more couples, engagement & surprise photo shoots Dublin in 2024. Watch this space!

coiple with their noses touching in intimate way with a view of trees and sky. natural couples photography including surprise proposals

In my family sessions, I like to include natural color portraits as well as classic black & white family photography.

Family interactions can be seen clearly when a black & white reduces everything to its most important features - compositions, shadows and highlights &, of course, expression. My family galleries will always include my signature, award winning black & white child & family portraits where I layer on different black & white actions to add depth, texture and tone. This portrait of a little girl with a faraway gaze and her dad's arms holding her is a favorite because of its emotive quality.

dad's arms around his small daughter as she has a faraway gaze and expression by a lake in the wicklow mountains. outdoor family photo shoots by cara hodge.

I am now doing seasonal minis - for autumn color mini family sessions. Also my mini Christmas sessions are perfect for Christmas cards. ALSO if you want to gift a family session for Christmas, vouchers are available for my digital packages and also to redeem against any package I have, including my framed Giclee pigment prints. I also have vouchers for single one hour photo shoots available.

A family photo shoot can make the perfect Christmas gift for friends and family this year!

You can read more about Cara Hodge Photography in Meet Cara & also about how my photography journey started in In The Beginning.

Please Contact me to book your natural family photography at home session. Or an outdoor family photo shoot in a place you love!

Have a great week

Cara x


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