Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

A Family Portrait on the Southbank


A Day Out on London's Southbank

I’m always drawn to family photographs that tell a story and that’s why I’ve chosen this image from a recent family photography session on the South Bank as my sneak preview from the shoot. I like to share a single image from a session to give my clients an idea of what is in store from their viewing and to provide inspiration to the many photographers who are kind enough to follow my work.

So what drew me to this image? I love the interaction and the connection in the picture.  We were playing towards the end of the morning and the children love these small sculptures that line the South Bank outside the Festival Hall.  They are great fun to play on and are a brilliant idea, a wonderful way to bring a playground to the promenade without changing the nature of the space.

I love how children will take a sculpture and create their own games on the structure, climbing on the top, running along inside like a hamster in a wheel, lazing comfortably on the bottom.  They are gateways to the imagination; the sculpture could be a boat or a flying saucer or just a climbing frame depending on the mood of the child.

The shapes are fantastic for photography too, the curve of the wheel here creating a connection between everyone that is mirrored by the eye contact, everyone is looking at everyone. Everyone is connected to everyone else; hands outstretched.  It’s family photography at its best, the family unit involved in the same activity, everyone having fun and everyone looking good.  And yet it’s un-posed, unscripted, a natural moment between siblings and parents full of laughter and love.

Family pictures like this are so full of memories, not of the photo shoot itself but of days out in the sunshine, family activities and the places they love to go.  It’s everything I look for in my work.

If you are thinking of booking a family shoot before Christmas then do get in touch, you can read more about my family sessions or, for images with a London theme, then my London vacation photography page has lots of ideas.  It would be lovely to hear from you and to meet your family this autumn.