Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Family Photography on Holiday in Dorset


There are always some shoots that I really look forward to each year and visiting Victoria and Sophia in Lyme Regis in Dorset was definitely one I was looking forward to. Lyme Regis is one of my favourite places, a beautiful seaside town that I visit regularly with my husband. One of my best friends parents live there so, over the years, we have spent many happy weeks exploring the coast, eating crab sandwiches and fishing for mackerel, it’s a holiday haven for me. It’s also the favourite family beach for Victoria and Sophia as it’s close to their Dorset home and so when it was suggested as the location for our photo shoot I jumped at the chance.

Being picked up at 7.30am from my B&B we headed to the beach and were the first people out on the sand. It was magical; it’s the only word. The soft light reflected off the sea and with the empty beach and the soft breeze, I felt like we were in a fairy tale. We had a great time, building sandcastles and fishing for seaweed.

Sophia is one of the most incredible children I am lucky enough to photograph and I always really look forward to our sessions. I know I’m going to play brilliant games and spend so much of my time laughing. I love how intelligent Sophia is and how interested in different things, a keen reader, actor and dancer. I was also really impressed when she told me her favourite subject is Maths – I can’t wait to see what she does when she grows up, I know whatever she puts her mind to she will be successful.

We had such fun, Victoria made Sophia into a sand mermaid and then we spent some time on the trampoline before the beach began to fill up and we decided to move on to a second location. A sustaining ice cream on the way we headed to the fossil beach for a game of hide and seek around the beach huts. It was still so early that nobody was there so we weren’t disturbing anyone as we ran around, playing in front of, behind, and in-between the huts. Sophia definitely had the advantage over the adults as some of the gaps between the huts were really thin, there was a moment (weighed down with my cameras) that I wondered if I had got completely stuck, that would have been an embarrassing call to the emergency services!

Then it was off up the hill for a round of crazy golf and a game of table tennis before lunch. I love photo shoots that have so many activities. As children are engaged in activities there are so many opportunities for really lovely natural photograph. Pictures with such great expressions and which captures all the different elements of their personalities. My job is to work with the activity to create beautiful pictures, to engage with the light and the environment, to look for different angles and approaches so we result in stunning and creative compositions that transcend the grip and grin portrait to create images that are works of art in their own right

It was a perfect day in a perfect place. Thank you both so much.

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