Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Family Portrait in Hampstead – Just One


While the majority of my work is with children I photograph families of all ages and so I was thrilled when Julia arranged a portrait session with her son, her siblings and her parents to celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary on beautiful Hampstead Heath over the Easter holidays.

We spent a lovely couple of hours together on one of the most beautiful days we have had recently, wonderful low sunshine and really remarkably warm. I always feel that good weather at this time of year is a gift; It always feels like we have been lucky.

Hampstead is a beautiful spot for photographs and as we didn’t want to walk too far we utilized the stunning spaces around Kenwood House for the pictures. It’s a lovely spot for family portraits as there is a lot of variety without having to walk for miles. I’m always looking for interesting compositions and to incorporate my surroundings into my photographs as I love to give images a sense of place.

I was immediately drawn to the avenue of trees outside Kenwood house as an interesting location for a family group portrait as I love the sense of scale the trees bring to the image. I like the shapes and the textures and the bare branches show us the season as well as the place.

To make the most of the setting (and to minimize other people in the shot) I lay on the ground to make this photograph, thankful as always for my fabulous Paramo waterproof trousers, which I seem to wear constantly for so much of the year.

I’m so pleased with the shot; I love the expressions, a happy family all amused by the photographer lying in the dirt to get their picture perfect. But, if I had to be honest, the element that really makes this picture for me is the dogs, the family dog in the foreground looking straight at the camera and the other, inquisitive dog, just visible behind Julia’s fathers ankle, looking to see what is going on and adding that extra element to this picture which really makes me smile.

I hope you like this, today’s Just One, from my recent shoot in Hampstead.

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