Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Family Photography on Box Hill in Surrey


I’m so pleased to be sharing some more pictures from my recent wonderful family photo shoot in Surrey today. I had been really looking forward to this photo-shoot as, although I hadn’t met Sarah before, her sister Katie is one of my regular and favourite clients. I knew we would have a wonderful time.

An early start saw me catching a train that took me into Dorking arriving bright and early at 8am. Grabbing a take away coffee we headed straight out to Box Hill, so we could enjoy the place to ourselves beating the summer holiday crowds. I love to get out early as it’s wonderful to have parks and open spaces to ourselves, the kids love having the space to run around and the light is always at it’s best early in the morning. I’d not been to Box Hill before and it didn’t disappoint.

We started our day by exploring the woods. I always love photographing in woods as the light is so beautiful and the backgrounds work so well for portrait photography. I love how there are always things to explore and look at, from mini-beasts and sticks, to trees to climb and jump on. Box Hill was even better with some play areas built along the path, all wooden so fitting into the environment beautifully but adding interest to a walk for children. We had a great time playing in the fort and balancing on the activity stations.

A game of ‘The Billy Goat’s Gruff’ was one of the high points of my morning and Mark was fantastic, enjoying the game and climbing under the bridge for better troll action. Thomas clearly knew the story well and explained the importance of getting to the ‘sweet, sweet, grass’ at the other side. I love imaginative play and games make for such wonderful photographs as everyone engages and the children forget I am taking photographs, in their eyes I’m just there to play.

From the woods we got to part of Box Hill itself and what a hill it was, I can see why rolling down it is one of Thomas’ favourite activities and rolling down the slope made for such brilliant photographs. The incline also provided some wonderful spots for family photographs; it’s lovely to make use of different angles and backgrounds in my work.

By this time we were in need of a snack so we headed, via some tree climbing to the cafe for a restorative cake and coffee which was very welcome and then off again, in a different direction for the second half of the session. It can work really well when sessions are divided like this, a snack in the middle to keep everyone full of energy and a couple of different locations to add variety to the images. Although we stayed in the same general area at this point the pictures have a very different airy feel with the landscape stretching out below us while the sky above seemed to stretch endlessly in every direction. A great place for a game of football, less good for Mark who had to chase the ball to the bottom of the hill!

Our final spot was a nearby stream that had some stepping-stones, another favourite family haunt and we enjoyed a quick visit before Thomas’ boots got filled with water and it was time for lunch and for me to get the train home. What a perfect morning and I’m so thrilled with the pictures. I hope you will enjoy them too, this lovely family photography session from Box Hill in Surrey.

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