Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Family Photography in Polzeath in Cornwall


Beach photography in Polzeath in Cornwall

I love a regular client, I love a beach photo shoot, so combine one of my favourite families with one of my favourite locations and I am a very happy photographer.

This was my fifth shoot with Jill and her fantastic family, and I was absolutely thrilled when they suggested a photo shoot down in Polzeath in Cornwall, one of my favourite places. I jumped at the chance.

As the date drew near, we realised we had a named storm approaching on photo shoot day, so a rather frantic decision was made to jump on a train a day early to beat the forecast. It was worth the rush across London and the extra train ticket, we had the most incredibly day and the resulting images are some of my all-time favourites.

Starting early for the best light

When we arrived on Polzeath beach at 7.30 am we had the place to ourselves. There were a couple of dog walkers, and us. Low sunlight reaching across the bay and long shadows leading us down to the sea. It couldn’t have been more idyllic, definitely worth the early alarm clock.

We started with a few group shots, just to make sure we had something in the bag and then, in a blink of an eye we were rushing down to the water, dipping our toes in and laughing as the waves lapped the shore.

Sending one of the adults off in search of coffee and croissants the rest of us settled into our morning of play and laughter.

Beach games

I love a beach game – cricket, and catch-the-can being the favourites of the day. I’d not played catch-the-can before – apparently a suggestion of the Instagram algorithm that turned out to be excellent. As balls were thrown and cans fell and kids leapt around to catch them I had a wonderful time taking pictures that encapsulate the joy and laughter of a morning by the seaside.

Getting into the sea - part 1

I can’t believe I am writing a blog that will have getting in the sea part one and getting in the sea part 2 but this was one of those wondrously perfect days where we did so much that we even had two water moments.

The first was a little less planned and I took my camera into the sea without a case, holding it high to avoid any sea water splashes and laughing as we leapt over the waves. Fair to say I got wetter than I had planned but the camera stayed dry, and the shots are pure joy with the kids laughing together.

Finding fairies and the national trust

The joy of an early start and a bright morning is that by 11am when the beach was getting crowded, we were ready to move on. We headed home to the family’s holiday apartment for a bite of early lunch and a short break. It’s always good to top up on savoury food and have a bit of quiet time towards the end of the morning as that then gives us a wonderful second part of the session when everyone has recovered their energy.

For the second part of the session, we visited a nearby national trust location in Pentire which had a beautiful clifftop walk and also the cutest playground complete with fairy houses to find in the trees. It was such a lovely idea; you could get a map of the Flower Fairies (with the beautiful illustrations from Cicely Mary Barker back in the 1920s) and then the kids had a brilliant time finding the tiny doors hidden in the field.

As well as fairies the gardens also had a swing and some wonderful activities, hula hoops and stopwatches, the perfect way to keep kids entertained and competitive (and a brilliant idea for my niece and nephews Christmas present, everything is going to be a race this holiday season)

Getting in the sea - part 2

We finished our shoot with a second foray into the waves. it was a calm day (which was great from a photographic point of view) and Baby Bay was beautiful and secluded. We took the kids body boards into the waves and had a fantastic time as they pulled each other around and caught the waves into the shore.

For this section I had put my canon EOS R5 into its underwater housing so I could really embrace the action and all the splashing that makes a summer day at the beach such fun.

Book your photo shot now!

I’m so thrilled with the images from this family photo shoot in Polzeath in Cornwall. If you would like to have a family photography session on the beach I’ll be taking a limited number of Cornwall based shoots next year so do get in touch sooner rather than later.

If you want something for this autumn in London or the surrounding areas, then do drop me a line via the contact form. There are a limited number of autumn dates left in the diary and I’d love to meet your family and create some memories for you to treasure.