Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Portrait of teenagers in stunning interior


Utilising interior design for a formal portrait of teenagers

I’m lucky enough to visit some truly amazing houses as part of my job and I remember well how much I had loved the interior of Jon and Annie’s home when I visited them back in 2011.  So, when they booked another session and I got to see their newly redecorated home, well I was blown away.  I’m not usually one for interiors but this was staggeringly beautiful, I will dream about it.

So, while we did most of the photo shoot outside, making use of the beautiful garden square and letting the kids run around and play with the dog, I also took some pictures indoors, it would have been criminal not to, and this is one of my favourites.

I love everything about this image.  The balance, the expressions, the beautiful interior decoration.

It’s great fun photographing teenagers but it is different to photographing young children.  Older kids don’t just run around and play, indifferent to the camera.  There needs to be more interaction, more focus and more collaboration. This can lead to really beautiful formal pictures like this one.

I love the children’s poses, natural and also very individual.  I feel it’s nice that they aren’t doing exactly the same thing and I love how Edie’s legs, curled up on the sofa provide a horizontal element against the vertical stripes of the sofa.  There are a lot of lines in the picture, the sofa, the dado rail, the picture frames and even the way the side light catches on the children’s arms and legs, subtle highlights that add to the image.

Sometimes lots of lines can create visual chaos in an image that is very distracting but here they enhance the image adding to the composition.  The balance works beautifully, lines in the top left and bottom right while the flower-patterned cushions mirror the incredible handmade wallpaper and draws our eye across the diagonal.  The interior designer was a genius.

The light in this room is beautiful and, although it was bright in places, the sofa was far enough into the room to just give us this soft sidelight that works so well for a portrait.

And the final element, the bit that brings it all together, are the expressions on the children themselves. Relaxed happy smiles as they sit together on the sofa.

I love it and I hope you will too.   If you would like to find out more about my sessions with older children then do take a look at the dedicated teenagers page to read about how they work.