Photoblog: March 2018 Archive

Helen Bartlett at The Photography Show - Canon and Light Blue

Posted in For Photographers at 07:25 on 16/03/2018

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This morning I'm off to the NEC in Birmingham ready for The Photography Show, the main event in the UK photography calendar. Over four days, thousands of photographers will get together to look at the most recent kit, listen to inspirational speakers and catch up with their friends. I've been going for years and look forward to it each spring.

As always, I'll be spending the majority of the show on the Light Blue Software stand (A68), helping out my husband Tom who wrote the software, and his talented team to demonstrate the benefits of studio management to new users and answer questions from existing clients. It's always such fun to be on the stand, to see the familiar faces who always pop by to say hello and how much they love the program and also to meet new people and introduce them to this amazing piece of software which can transform their photography businesses.

I've been lucky enough to use Light Blue since I started my business, in fact I was the first ever user when Tom built the first system to run his wedding business and my portrait business and now, fourteen years on, I really don't know what I would do without it. I love how I can see all the details of all my clients at the click of a button. It's so fun when chatting to people to be able to check and say yes 'yes, it was back in 2009 we first met' as we look at old pictures and try to remember exactly when we took them. Many of my clients have been having family photography sessions annually since I started, having all the details of all the sessions to hand is brilliant.

As well as singing the praises of Light Blue, this year I will be hard at work on the Canon Stand, presenting my talk 'Great Family Photos and How to Take Them' on three occasions over the weekend.

I'm on Saturday at 10:30-11:20, Monday at 13:30-14:20 and Tuesday 15:30-16:20 and I hope to see some of you there.

It's so fun writing talks, I love the process of going back over my work and actually thinking through all the different elements, what it is I look for in a picture and also coming up with tips and tricks to help other photographers improve their work. It's been particularly fun writing for such a mixed audience, at the photography show we will have full time professionals who have been photographing for years but also keen amateurs who just want to improve their pictures of their own children. I'm hoping that there will be something for everyone in the talk and that the audience will leave full of enthusiasm for photographing the families in their lives.

It's going to be a busy few days and I can't wait. If you are at the show do come and say hello on the Light Blue stand or pop by Canon to hear me talk, it would be lovely to see you.

A Firebird on Hampstead Heath

Posted in Just One at 07:12 on 14/03/2018

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I last photographed Margot back in 2010 and so I was thrilled to visit her in Hampstead to update her pictures. In the intervening years Margot has grown into such an incredible young lady - confident, funny and incredibly company. I had such a brilliant time chatting Harry Potter and and marvelling at Margot's gymnastics skills. It was such a fantastic way to spend a morning.

For the first half of our shoot we went out onto Hampstead Heath. The weather was kind and although there was a chill in the air the light was beautiful, soft and mysterious, perfect for the pictures we took in and around the trees.

I loved watching Margot demonstrate her gymnastics - handstands, jumps, it was incredible. I'm constantly trying to improve my yoga prowess but I'm such an amateur, I think I know just enough to really appreciate how incredible her skills are. I've done a bit of yoga photography recently, mainly for my club in North London, and so it was great to put those skills to good use on this lovely family shoot.

I find that my work is a mix of portraiture and action shots and I love to make the best use of the environment in which I'm working, whether that's indoors in my client's home or out and about at places like Hampstead Heath. I'm always looking for good backgrounds and ways to frame the action in interesting and beautiful ways.

This shot, today's Just One, I took as we were heading home from the heath. Walking along a path I saw the way the trees created a frame at the top of the hill. Showing Margot on the back of my phone how the branches encircled the area of light we worked together to create this picture. Working with older children and teenagers is such fun as we can collaborate on ideas like this.

Margot was amazing, getting into just the right place and then showing me some of her wonderful jumps, I think this one was called the Firebird, she certainly looks wild and free and amazing.

I hope you like it as much as I do, today's Just One from a recent family shoot on Hampstead Heath.

Six Pages in Professional Imagemaker Magazine

Posted in In the press at 10:51 on 12/03/2018

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It's always lovely to see my family photography work printed in a magazine and so I was thrilled to see my pictures of Poppy printed over six pages in Professional Imagemaker recently.

I've been photographing Poppy since she was a week old and over the years we've done many fantastic photo shoots. Some shoots have been at the family home, others out and about, exploring some of London's parks and the woodland near their home. Further still we ventured to Cornwall for a few summer beach sessions and I discovered that I like speedboats a lot more when I'm distracted by taking pictures (I can get seasick on the pedalos in Hyde Park!).

It's been such a pleasure watching this facinating, confident, beautiful girl grow up and each year I look forward to seeing the family again and catching up on the news. Poppy's younger brother Edward is also one of my favourite subjects to photograph and one of my most recent pictures of him was my favourite shot of 2017.

The accompanying article went alongside my talk at the SWPP back in January, 'Finding your Style in Family Photography' and looked at the importance of following your own path with your photography.

I've always been keen to work in black and white because I know from my own experience that these pictures look as good in thirty years' time as they do today. My pictures of my own childhood hang proudly on my wall and sit happily next to pictures I take of my nieces and nephews today. Timeless images are what it is about for me, pictures that are for the children as well as of the children.

As you can see in this article, by shooting in one style, and not flitting around with fads and fashions, all the pictures we have taken look fantastic when presented together and will, I am sure, look fantastic alongside all the images we are yet to take as Poppy and her brother grow up into the wonderful adults I know they will become.

Here are a few shots of the magazine itself, I hope you enjoy them.

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Celebrating Mother's Day

Posted in Family at 10:22 on 11/03/2018

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It’s only as I grow up that I really realise all the amazing things that my mum did for us. With four children and her own business I realise now that we were a little unfair to complain if our cooked breakfast was burnt as she tried to get us dressed, pack our lunches and ferry us out the door to school. As an adult, I can’t quite believe we actually had hot food every morning, she truly is a Super-mum.

As it’s Mother’s Day today I want to join with all the children, all the families, saying thank you to all the mums out there for the amazing job you do – reading stories, bandaging scraped knees, driving us to music lessons, helping us grow and learn, teaching us to become good people able to go out into the world.

Mum’s are amazing (as are dads of course, and grandparents, uncles, aunts and friends) Today is for the mums though, for the wonderful things you do, for your incredible selflessness and amazing hard work. We love you and we thank you.

From a photographer’s point of view photographing parents with their children is an absolute joy. I love to see such incredible love and record it in pictures that I know the children will look back on and smile. It’s an amazing and wonderful thing, from the grand gestures to the little glances, the soft stroke of the hair or the moment where a mum can’t help but pull their baby close and nuzzle them, breathing in the very essence of their little one. It’s a joy to behold and an even greater joy to photograph.

So, in celebration of all the mum’s out there – here are some pictures taken over the years. Pictures that celebrate this wonderful relationship of mothers and children

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Creative Family Photography in Brixton, South London

Posted in Just One at 17:28 on 05/03/2018

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I’ve wanted to take a picture like this for a while. Not exactly like this, as I don’t tend to plan my pictures in advance, but a picture making a feature of a hat with a face has been on my ‘to-do’ list for a while now.

I love these hats and wish they did them in my size. Since I first saw a child wear one I’ve been thinking there was potential for a really striking picture

I often have thoughts like this, moments where I find myself squirreling away an idea for future reference, a concept that, when the circumstances come together will produce something wonderful.

Pictures like this can’t be planned but you can be on the lookout and, from the moment Anselm put on his hat, I was on the lookout.

I feel that when a picture is about a visual joke, about humour, then it needs to work really well to work at all. The angles have to be perfect, there needs to be a story. Just taking a picture that says ‘look, a cool hat’ isn’t enough to make a picture work.

But when it all comes together, as it did here, it can be brilliant.

What makes this work so well is the way Anselm’s hat completely covers his face. Hood flying it looks as if it’s a mystical creature playing in the park, peeking out with an impish grin. Anselm is looking down and the strong light and shadows means we can’t see his face at all as he checks his landing. It works perfectly.

The final element that makes the picture is the body language. Anselm’s jump, full of energy, knees tucked in, you can tell he’s really trying to get as high as he can. His movement is reflected in his dad’s body language, clearly egging him on higher and higher as they share this wonderful moment together.

I love this shot, and, without doubt it will be one of my favourites of the year.

I also, of course, got lots of pictures where you can see the children’s faces and I couldn’t resist adding in a second image to this blog, this shot of Sophia snuggling with her ‘Froggy’ as we stopped for a cup of tea and a snack to warm up on such a cold morning.

I the look on her face, it’s so typical of childhood, snuggling with a favourite toy and smiling shyly at the new person who has come to play. I love both these images so much and so it’s a Just Two today in this sneak peek from my recent family photography session in South London.

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