Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Family and Baby Photography in Esher in Surrey


I first met Rob and Taeryn back in 2013 when they lived in South London and I photographed their stunning baby daughter Chiara when she was a year old. I was so excited when Rob emailed to arrange another session, I had such fond memories of our day together and it was wonderful to hear I would be meeting the new addition to the family, baby Evelyn who was looking forward to her first family portrait session, this time, at the families new home in Esher in Surrey.

The day dawned dark and drizzly but was brightened on my arrival by two huge grins from baby Evelyn and Chiara. I was given a cup of coffee in the stunning kitchen/living room, a space flooded with natural light and all thoughts of rain were forgotten.

We had such a great time; both girls are completely natural in from of the camera, no cheesy grins here, just beautiful smiles and soulful eyes. We played by the window and I enjoyed working out how best to use the light, the different backgrounds and the various pieces of furniture to create a really lovely and varied set of images. Photographing indoors is always a fun challenge and I relish the opportunities to take pictures that really reflect the family using their space, these images will have such resonance as the children grow.

While baby Evelyn had her mid morning nap Chiara was keen to show me her playroom and happily got on with her drawing while I worked to get some really lovely photographs. The light was great at the front of the house too; I can see what drew Rob and Taeryn to it.

By the time Evelyn woke up the rain was beginning to lessen and we thought, lets embrace the British weather, and head out anyway. Children are fairly waterproof and I’m always happy to photograph outdoors whatever the weather. We headed to nearby Clermont landscape garden, which I had visited before with another family and had always hoped to go to again. It’s such a fantastic place with so much to do and great areas to explore. I love the shot of Chiara walking down the path into the park, her traditional party dress expertly accessorized with wellingtons and a picnic basket, she reminds me of Little Red Riding hood straight out of the fairy tale.

We had a brilliant time, baby Evelyn thought it was hilarious to be thrown in the air by her daddy and loved sitting in one of the little clear patches in the daffodil field. Both girls loved the dens and we had a brilliant time exploring the witches hut, last time I had visited it had been locked but this time we were able to utilize the wonderful light and I love the feeling of mystery that the reflections create on the images of Chiara that I took looking through the window.

By the time we headed home the weather had taken a turn for the worse and, as is so often the case, some of my favourite pictures are those little natural ‘in between’ images, not formal portraits but the shot of Rob, carrying Chiara on his shoulders, completely hidden by the waterproof picnic rug is an image that will make me smile every time I see it. It sums up so much about childhood, being out and about in different weather and the wonderful selflessness of parents, ensuring their children are safe and happy and dry. It’s a favourite picture from a favourite session.

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