catchlightpictures » Documentary Family Portraiture in Perth, Western Australia

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Here’s a very special Day In The Life; the four hundred and fourteenth day of my nephew Owen’s existence and a portrait of my very own family, coming together to celebrate my sister’s birthday.

We Pattersons are a tough mob. We’ve been through so much together and check us out guys – we’re still standing 🙂 I’m so lucky to have born into this beautiful family – as lucky as my gorgeous nephew who has it completely made with the best parents a boy could possibly hope for.

Four hundred and fourteen breakfasts, lunch and dinners plus countless breastfeeds, lost sleep, dummy spits, kisses, baths, tantrums and smiles hey La-Larza? You’re a freakin’ champion sis and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.



PS: For those who may be wondering, I DO make an appearance on the day (check my reflection in the mirror when Lara is combing Owen’s hair). Totally planned of course and in no way a photographer’s error 😉



This was another sleepover session (LOVE them) and – in case you’re curious – the answer to, “do I sleep on couches?” is, “soundly”.

6:01am: Master three assures me that it’s morning. Time to get up and get stuck in to a deluge of lego and feasting and playing and kite-flying. But first: we pillow-fight, yes!? I was a bit rusty but I think I did OK!!

I recently received a beautiful review from the mother of this gorgeous family and it sums up what I think a lot of people fear when considering this type of documentary family session: that their everyday simply isn’t interesting enough to warrant documenting.

I’m sorry, what!? Your child mixes his scrambled eggs in with his spaghetti in the mornings!? That’s awesome!!

“Dayna could not have proven us more wrong when I said, “there’s nothing interesting to photograph about a day in our lives.” Dayna’s passion and candidness in telling our story made us appreciate how much the everyday moments are SO worth capturing. Thank you Dayna for allowing us to be “interesting”.


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So I started writing this huge blog post about the difference between lifestyle and documentary family photography and why I prefer the real and authentic documentary path to the more posed and often styled lifestyle one.

But if I’m honest, WHY do I do what I do?

Because this:



More information on these sessions is available HERE. Bookings are limited so to enquire regarding dates, please contact me via the site contact form or email dayna [at] catchlightpictures [dot] com


A welcome mat at the front door, it reads "hello" A 2 yr old girl sits on a couch with her feet tucked into the cushions Two images. The first is a little boy opening a fridge. The second is a mother helping her kids at the kitchen bench A mother holds a black cat in her kitchen, early morning Two images. The first is a Mum and Dad looking on at their kids. The second is two siblings at a kitchen bench A family in a bright bedroom. Two kids jump on the bed while Mum and Dad look on Two images. The first is a little boy eating breakfast at the table. The second is a Mum looking over at her daughter at the kitchen table A 3 year old licks the table clear off croissant crumbs A mother holds her 4 year old in the kitchen Two images. Both of are a Dad playing with his kids in the lounge room. Everyone is in their pyjamas A mother in her colourful kitchen Two images. The first is a Mum & daughter in the garden. The second is of a Dad & son in the garden Two images. The first is a 4 yr old in a bright pink dress climbing a child A mother and son garden together in the bright sunshine in a backyard Two images. In the first, a 2 yr old cries holding the door to a kitchen fridge. In the second, the boy is eating yogurt at a table with a tear falling down his cheek Two images. The first is a Mum kissing her toddler son in the kitchen. The second is the boy licking his Mum A 2 year old at the kitchen table. His sister reaches over to grab her water bottle Two images. In the first, a Dad pops his head over the kitchen bench to say hello. In the second, a Mum wipes her crying toddler Two images. In the first, parents sit on a verandah under shade together. In the second, a Mum stops her 2 yr old son from jumping off a couch A mother reads to her daughter. They A mother sits in her colourful kitchen against an orange wall with a painting of washing on the line behind her A 2 yr old wakes from an afternoon sleep. Mum comes in to kiss him hello Two images. The first is a 2 yr old boy, freshly woken, holding his favourite toy rabbit. The second is a Mum reaching down to offer her 2 yr old a milk bottle A father with his 2 children on a blue hammock on the back verandah Parents play with their kids on a trampoline in the backyard Parents play with their kids on a backyard trampoline Two images. the first is a father Two images. The first is a 4 yr old girl asleep at the kitchen table mid diner. The second is father, trying to brush his child A 2yr old boy and his 4 yr old sister play in the bath A father wraps his 2 yr old son in a bath towel A family of four sit in a lounge room chair watching night time TV before the kids go to bed

Just back from a massive trip over East and can someone please tell me what happened because the two weeks totally FLEW by and it’s all a bit of a blur!?

From memory, I’ve been:

Flying, photographing, catching up, enjoying family time, shopping, eating, playing and sleeping. Hooray!!

I spent time visiting Brisbane and then Sydney and while up in Brissie, I took the opportunity to catch up with family I rarely see. Firstly, Brisbane is amazing and I’m seriously considering moving there during the Winter months. Secondly, my family is amazing and I’m so very, very grateful to have spent some quality time with them.

My cousin Lauren is the clever author of the popular QLD parenting blog Mad Max Mum and, though she’s pretty much the busiest person I’ve ever met, she and her beautiful family generously gave up a Sunday to hang out with me and my Canon.

Here’s a half Day In The Life of their gorgeous selves:

Note: If you’re in Brisbane and you’re interested in a shoot like this, please contact me!! If we can get enough people together, I would absolutely LOVE to take another trip over…


A mother and son brush their teeth together in a white bathroom Two images. The first is a blonde 2 year old crying on the couch. The second is a mother brushing a young boy A family of five walk along a path. Dad is using a stroller. Two images. The first is a Mother and daughter at a crowded marketplace. The second is a little girl holding apples. A father and son at a cafe table. The 2 yr old boy reaches for a glass while Dad looks on A very blonde 2 yr old boy in a highchair. His face is covered with food A family of five walk along a path. Dad pushes a stroller. Two images. The first is a 4 yr old girl washing dishes at a sink. The second is a mother and daughter cooking together in a white kitchen. A father and daughter play on a couch. Dad is holding the little girl up in the air. Two images. The first is a crying 4 yr old girl pointing off in the distance. The second is a mother blowing her 2 yr old son Two images. The first is a mother cooking in a kitchen, her daughter sits on the bench watching. The second is a close up of a chicken salad being stirred. A wide shot of a mother and father asleep on a couch. There is a painting of a colourful frog above them.

  • Tanya - Love these Dayna! Such a great session!ReplyCancel

  • Dayna - Thanks Tanya. I really appreciate you saying that 🙂 xReplyCancel

During our phone call before this session, Jess explained that they weren’t up to much on the morning of this half Day In The Life shoot. “Just breakfast, feeding the chickens and maybe some gardening”. Hold up – feeding the CHICKENS!? I was beside myself,  imagining the colours and textures such an event would provide (we photographers, or at least me, really need to get out more).

But I was completely right (and not at all weird) to be excited because chickens are fabulous and interesting and wonderful. And so is this trio who welcomed me (a perfect stranger) into their home first thing on a Saturday morning.

I’m so lucky and grateful to have met them and completely honoured to have captured this snapshot of their lives – just as they are – right here and now.

Those who follow me know that a full Day In The Life is my usual obsession but I’m loving the story we told with just six hours of morning coverage. So if you’re intrigued by the concept but can’t spare a full day, consider having me rock up to play for a morning or an afternoon because I will seriously help you remember some REALLY, VERY IMPORTANT stuff.

* Catchlight Pictures: Helping People Remember Since 2010

Pricing info is available HERE and more info on how these sessions work can be found HERE. Please call on 0413 540 191 or fill out my contact form for availability




A mother and her daughter play on a bed, early morning in their pyjamas Two images. The first is a close up on the face of a father, looking with delight at his 9 month old daughter. The second is the same father, holding his daughter up and smiling at her. A family of three; a Mum, Dad and their 9 month old daughter, on a bed in the early morning in their pyjamas Two images. The first is a nine month old girl eating breakfast in her high chair. The second is of a piece of buttered toast, cut in two. A black and white image. A mother wiping her baby daughter A mother holds her baby daughter in the back doorway of their home. They A family of 3 outside in a garden, early morning. Mum and Dad are helping their baby daughter put on wet weather gear over her clothes. She Two images. The first is an Indian father Two images. The fist is of a mother helping her baby daughter reach out and feel the vegetables growing in the garden. The second is a close up of hands holding a bunch of leafy green vegetables. A mother pushes her baby daughter along on a toy car in the backyard. Two images. The first is a mother, carrying her baby daughter in through the back door of their home. The second is of a baby, crying in her bedroom as Mum puts her sleeping bag on. A man cooking in the kitchen. He Two close up images. The first is an Indian meal being made - onion and strips of potato frying in a wok. The second is hands kneading roti dough made of flour and water. A close up in colour. A man eats his Indian breakfast, holding a bite of fried onion and potato he has scooped into a square of roti bread. A black and white image of a 9 month old, standing up in her cot after a sleep. Dad looks on as she smiles up at him. A nine month old standing up in her cot. Toys are lined up in the background behind her. The focus in on the toys and she Two images. The first is of a father holding his baby on the couch in the lounge room. The second is a close up of his hands holding her tiny feet. A family of three sit on a lounge room couch, reading a book together Two images. The first is a nine month old lying on her tummy, watching Dad hit a xylophone with a toy mallet. The second is a mother and father trying to dress their baby on the floor in the lounge room. Baby is not happy. A baby crawls toward the open front door of a home. Dad reaches to catch her from behind. A colourful rug is in the foreground. Two images. The first is a father, holding his standing baby daughter at an open front door. The second is a grandmother holding up a blue dress for her granddaughter to see. A mother helps her baby daughter dress in a lounge room. She A baby girl in her high chair in the kitchen. Mum is pulling up her sleeves before her lunch time meal. Two images. The first is a baby girl in a high chair, about to eat lunch. The second is a close up of a bowl and spoon. A father holds his baby daughter up to the kitchen sink to wash her face after lunch. Baby is scrunching her face up as Dad tries to clean her. A baby girl sits on her Dad A family home from the outside. Green grass with dandelions. The sky is dark and stormy. There are 3 cars in the driveway.