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  • Writer's pictureCara Hodge

Unscripted family photography Dublin moments. Showering Zara

Zara is a cat that doesn't mind being showered (...honest...)


She's a rescue from Abu Dhabi and we think she might be a Siberian or a Norwegian forest cat because of the her hairy pointed ears, and her long coat.


It took me a few moments to realize Zara was in the shower with my son showering her, and I quickly grabbed my camera. I love to practice shooting with my own kids whenever I get the chance! Often it's life at home, embracing the messy & chaotic moments of family life...


I was shooting in a dark bedroom straight into a shower cubicle off the bedroom with very little natural light.

I took the pictures quickly and they looked..woah!.. dark, but I knew that if I went too high on ISO or too open on aperture I would miss the detail in these pictures. Sometimes, there has to be a choice with settings. Or even, a bit of the risk factor!


Luckily, I shoot in RAW so that I can bring back a lot of light in the final edit. That's the great thing about shooting in RAW, preserved highlights & shadows.


For documentary (...or unscripted...) natural family photography Dublin, it is important to capture movement, gesture & expression. Although I love classic "eyes on the camera" portraits too, with these documentary style child portraits, I wasn't focused on my son's face as much as the gestures he made as he washed Zara.

a boy's arms reaching down to wash his cat in a shower cubicle, hands grasping wet fur in sharp focus. for cara hodge, natural family photographer dublin. award winning documentary family photographer

I like to capture his hands reaching down to wash Zara's wet fur here! It doesn't matter to me that his face is a little out of the frame as the focus is on his arms & hands.


Although I ADORE classic black & white child & family portraits, in this story I wanted to stick to color. The light is a bit too flat in the shower for high contrast, dramatic black & white child portraits. The artificial light of the shower cubicle is yellowish, & I think the golden tones add warmth to this shower series.

I also did some sharpening to bring out the water droplets on the shower screen glass. As the light was pretty flat, texture adds a lot of interest.

boy washing his cat in a cublisle shower with water drops streaking across glass shower door. at home child portraits dublin

Water drops across his face & arms. Water patterns on the glass can be sharpened using tools I have on my editing suite, which also has a brilliant palette of film type actions.

I love texture in a child & family portrait! Bring on the dust & scratches! I tend to avoid too much grain and noise wherever possible, and the best texture can come from sharply focused tiny elements in the environment.


I might return to this showering Zara series again to capture more fun moments. When I find a good photo story project, I might return to it a few times to collect the best pictures I can to tell a story.


I love to do documentary family photography photo stories whenever I get the chance. Below is a picture of my niece with her hands poking through an apple tree at home in the garden. I love the intimacy of an at home family & newborn photography session. Again, focusing on hands & gesture can tell a story as much as a portrait of a face. This was a photo story where I focused on my nieces playing in their garden for a week last summer!

little girl's hands poking through an apple tree with apples in soft focus in foreground of the portrait. at home family & newborn photography Dublin

For more of my Untamed Summer Series - Nieces in a garden, please go HERE.


To see more of my unscripted family photography Dublin please go HERE. I call it Fly On The Wall. Either outside or inside, or a place you love. This sort of documentary family photography Dublin is less staged & polished. I focus on moments of connection as they arise. I will also focus on the connection a child has to the environment they are in. Of course, much of my unscripted family photography has come about because of watching & photographing my own children growing up! You can see more of the beginning of this process where I really embraced lifestyle & documentary family HERE

boy leaning across food chopping board in a kitchen with day light forming a circle over one eye, and spinach and a knife on chopping board. award winning child portrait. at home family photography dublin by cara

boy holding a red lolly pop and fanning out the fingers of his hand with pink pops of colour matching lolly pop, soft focus red and dark pink flower blooms in background. natural family photography dublin by cara. award winning, internationally published child & family portraits

And I love to bring these sort of candid captures into my own client galleries here in Dublin, Ireland. I do a mix of classic child portraits as well as unscripted "in between" moments you can't prepare for. Honestly I love a mix of both as a classic child portrait is always best when it is authentic (...honest...) and therefore, the two "styles" cross over at a point of intimacy & honesty.


Here are a few more favorites of my son showering his cat!

boy wearing shorts in shower bending over to scrub cats face as he showers her carefully

I love how caring & attentive he is being to his cat in these shots particularly. There is a tenderness in how he is holding as well as showering Zara!

boy showering cat as he seems to look up at shower head and water drips across his face giving texture

MORE ON THIS SHOWERING ZARA SERIES SOON.


In the meantime though, I will show one last one AFTER THE SHOWER.

I love Zara the cat's expression in this one.

She looks more than content chewing on my son's finger and I love the golden end of day light in the bedroom. Golden hour is great for outdoor on location family photography and for at home family pictures! Best family photographer Dublin MOMENTS to treasure!

boy with his finger in a cat's mouth, showing cat's teeth and squnity yellow eyes. cara hodge, natural and candid family photographer dublin. award winning and internationally published family portraits

To see my family photography Dublin packages please go HERE.


Now rather than asking my lovely families to pick & choose their favorite pictures from their gallery, I prefer to give them all the best moments from our time together. There is the option of one hour & 50 fully edited digital images (GEMS), or one and a half hours with 50-60+ pictures and 2 A4 mat professional prints, (LUXE) or an option with a beautifully handcrafted, professionally printed & designed album (KEEPSAKE).


Cara Hodge is an internationally published & award winning natural family photographer Dublin. Also specializing in emotive child & baby portraits! Also at home newborn photography Dublin.


If you would like to find out more, please Contact ME HERE


And have a lovely week!


Cara xx


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