Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Family photography with granddad in Croydon, South London


I was lucky enough to first meet Helen and James back in 2009 when I photographed them and their beautiful daughter Claire at their home in Croydon in South London. Since then, we have had a regular photo shoot every two years, with Helen and James continuing to arrange a shoot with me when they visit Helen’s father from their new home in Geneva. It’s always such a pleasure to see them, and we have had such wonderful sessions each and every time I have been lucky enough to photograph the family.

So I was excited to head back to Helen’s father’s house in Croydon to see the family again. The weather was horrible – pouring with rain with dark brooding clouds filling the sky. I knew the moment I woke up we wouldn’t be starting the morning playing in the garden, that was for sure! Never one to be daunted though, I knew we would be fine – after all, as a nation we spend most of our time indoors, there is no reason at all not to have some of our photographs taken inside too.

I was in for a treat – when I arrived, I was told that there were a couple of empty rooms we could start in. With a big family – Helen and James, their three children, Helen’s dad, and Helen’s brother and his family – that seemed a great idea. A bit of space for the kids to run around and a lovely clear, well-lit background for some family shots. It worked brilliantly.

Feeling that the weather was beginning to break, we thought we might go for a walk in a nearby woods. Woods can be a lovely place to go if the weather isn’t great, particularly if the children need a bit of fresh air, as there is often over-head cover and beautiful soft light. Unfortunately for us, the weather was playing tricks and by the time we got to the woods, it was monsoon season! We still took some pictures of the family having a walk – a real memory of a typical British summer which they will enjoy so much now they are living in Geneva. Who didn’t go for walks in the rain as children?

We then headed home for some playing indoors and a snack, as it had been a busy morning. I was taking pcitures all the time, aware that we were getting the most lovely collection of really varied shots. This is often the case when the weather is against us – shoots become really varied as we move from activity to activity, from room to room, to keep the children entertained and enjoying themselves. It’s from this time in the shoot that my Just One preview image was taken, I love how Claire’s intereacting with her baby doll, and how Grumpy the dwarf is looking in from the mural on the wall. It’s a perfect example of on location children’s portrait photography, using the light, environment and the children’s activity to capture a picture that really shows a child’s personality.

And then the sun came out! The day brightened and we all headed outdoors, first to see Grandad’s truly incredible new fishpond (feeding the fish with Grandad is one of the girls’ favorite things and an activity that has been a constant through all our sessions, although the new wonder fish pond this year was a revelation!). The family then played some more in the garden, whilst I was photographing them all the time. I didn’t want to leave I was having such a wonderful time.

I do hope you will enjoy looking at this selection of children and extended family photography, captured both indoors and outdoors in bad weather and good! It’s a really lovely, varied and interesting set of family photography taken on location in Croydon, South London that I am thrilled with.

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