Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Family photography at Kew Gardens, West London


I love Kew Gardens as it’s such a brilliant spot for family photography. I’ve visited so many times over the past eleven years that I’ve been working as a professional family photographer and each time I visit, I find something new – a spectacular new tree, another area in the glasshouses, a new place for hide and seek or an added dimension for the children. The gardeners clearly put so much time and effort into making it a wonderful place for a family day out.

I was thrilled when Carlos and Jennifer suggested Kew Gardens as the location for our most recent session – we are slowly visiting all the London parks, as well as landmarks and places of interest whilst the children are young. We have great plans for family photography further afield as they get older – I can’t wait for our first beach shoot!

We jumped on the tube to get to Kew, and arrived full of beans and ready to go. We started by exploring the beautiful glass house – the tropical plants were incredible and provided such a brilliant backdrop for some family photographs. I particularly love the shots of Jennifer and Thomas surrounded by the amazing foliage.

I’ve always been a big fan of the aquarium at Kew Gardens – it’s tiny and dark, but somehow that is all part of it’s charm. I love the way that you would never find it if you didn’t know it was there, tucked away in a corner, the entrance is easily overlooked. But once in the aquarium, the children never fail to be entranced by the fish swimming around in the neon-lit tanks. I love to photograph children when they are completely absorbed in something – it’s a side to children that can often be overlooked in family photography when it’s all about smiles and laughing, happy shots – sometimes those quiet moments of contemplation are stunning pictures, too. Although, in fairness, Thomas was grinning with pure pleasure and delight at the fish – he loved it, just as his older sister Stella had when we visited the aquarium at London Zoo for a photoshoot when she was a similar age.

After the aquarium, we went to meet the wooden sheep – Mummy sheep, Daddy sheep, Stella sheep and Thomas sheep were a huge hit with Stella and I took some lovely pictures as she explained in great detail which sheep was which and what they all liked to do. I love how children’s imagination is so joyous, finding such entertainment in so many things.

Then we headed off into the trees for a game of hide and seek, along with some family shots and the children playing together so happily. I don’t even know where to start with my favourite pictures from this shoot – is it Stella going barefoot, so pleased with her twinkling toes on the freshly cut grass? Or Thomas sitting up so proud of himself now he is growing so big? Or the giant hug Stella gives her parents when she runs down the hill into her Daddy’s arms, or the gales of laughter from Stella and Thomas as they are tickled by their parents? There are so many pictures I love from such a wonderful day taking family portraits in Kew and here are a few favourites. I do hope you will enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed taking them.

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