Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Children’s portraits in Wimbledon, South London


Today’s blog post features a wider selection of pictures from my recent children’s portrait shoot with Willa and Toby in Wimbledon, South London. I’ve been lucky enough to have been photographing the children since they were five and three years old, and you can see some pictures from our first shoot in 2007

We headed straight to Wimbledon Common for our photo shoot, which is a favourite location for the family to go on walks and somewhere I love to take children’s portraits. It’s a place that has such great variety and even better when I am accompanied by children who know it like the back of their hands – where the good climbing trees are, where’s the best place to play football, which bollards can be jumped over (and which are too high), and even where the river runs – I didn’t even known there was a river on Wimbledon Common, and now I’ve been in it ankle-deep!

We started our morning climbing some trees – Toby and Willa have always been such great tree-climbers and their prowess grows by the year. It was lovely hearing how they are doing at school now, and how their favourite subjects have remained the same since I last saw them – history is always high on the list, which I wholeheartedly approve of as that was my favourite subject at school, too.

Looking back at these pictures, the thing that strikes me anew each time is how springy these children are – I have so many pictures where one or other of them is completely airborne – Toby jumping over Willa on a bench, Willa flying over a bollard (and startling a passing dog who thought this was the best game EVER), Toby above my head as he hurdled a log – there are just so many great shots. It’s lovely when a theme develops through a shoot, as it really tells me something about the children and who they are – these children are so full of energy, so full of life, it’s an absolute joy to take their pictures.

We then headed down to the river. I was filled with curiosity – while I had been to the lake on Wimbledon Common, in all the years that I’ve visited it, I hadn’t realised there was a river. In my imagination, I expected a little babbling brook – a tiny stream that I could stand on the side of and get a great shot. But it was not so! It’s a big, wide but mercifully shallow river that runs along the bottom of Wimbledon Common at the bottom of a rather precarious and very steep bank.

The kids were straight in there – paddling around, skimming stones and splashing. It took seconds for me to realise that if I wanted the shot, I needed to be in there too – close to the action and with the right angle for the shot. So, abandoning all thoughts of elegance, I took off my shoes and socks, rolled up my trousers and slid inelegantly down the bank on my bottom covered in mud (and yes, if you are wondering, I did have to take public transport home as usual!). I got the shots I wanted and I’m so glad that I did – I really love the shots of Willa splashing, it’s such a fun photographic reminder of an activity that is clearly a real favourite with the children.

And then we headed home to the garden and a few pictures with the family’s much- loved pets – dogs, cats and guinea pigs, I do love a household with lots of animals. It’s lovely to see the bond between the children and the pets, and I’m sure they will be particularly pleased to have these pictures when they are older.

The final picture was with Grandpa, sitting in his chair in the living room. It is, in many ways, my favourite shot from this family portrait session. I love the expressions and the light, and how you can see the genes running through the family with how similar they all look. It’s a real family photograph that captures a lot of the essence of what families are – across the generations with love and laughter. It’s a picture I am thrilled to have taken.

I do hope you enjoy this selection of images from our recent children and family photography session in Wimbledon, South London – do contact us if you would like to arrange a photo shoot for your own family this summer or in the autumn. We have very few dates left, but we would love to fit you into the diary.

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