Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

I’m here to deliver exceptional service from start to finish. If your question isn’t listed below, just ask. I’ll be more than happy to help. Frequently asked questions

Your portrait session

Where are you based?

I’m based in Crouch End, North London.

Do you travel outside London?

Yes, I’m happy to travel across the UK for photoshoots. This does incur an extra charge, in addition to the portrait session fee, to cover my travel costs and any overnight stays. There is also a minimum spend which is applied as credit towards your order.

For shoots outside the UK, quotations are made on a case-by-case basis to take into account the time and logistics involved. If a work permit is required, I request that you arrange this.

 

Where do your photoshoots take place?

All my sessions take place on location. I travel to you and we take pictures at your home, out and about at a favourite park, beach or woodland, or a combination of both indoors and outdoors. I’ve photographed in a wide variety of locations from country estates to a local garden centre.

It’s great to visit places that have a personal resonance for you as a family. This will produce pictures that will capture memories of childhood, not the actual day of the photoshoot: a summer spent playing on a bandstand, the challenge of climbing a special tree or hours while away on a beloved beach. The sessions are designed to capture your lives as you live them, so the choice of location is entirely yours.

As long as there are no restrictions on photography, I’m happy to take pictures pretty much anywhere. Some locations do require a permit which I’m willing and able to arrange for you. These are charged at cost.

How long will our portrait session last?

Sessions tend to last a morning. We start early, usually at 8am, to make the most of the best light and also to ensure that the children are wide-awake and raring to go. I’ll stay until lunchtime which gives us plenty of time to get to know each other. We have the flexibility to take breaks for naps, snacks and coffee or to enjoy a bit of quiet time if needed.

I love taking pictures and it’s great to share sessions that are slightly longer than the norm. We have the luxury of time to do a variety of activities. This results in more interesting and diverse images for you.

Is there anything we should bring?

If we’re shooting out and about, then we take the normal kit you’d have with you for a day at the park or beach: the children’s favourite toys, perhaps a ball or a cricket bat, snacks and a drink (although it’s best to avoid the organic carrot flavoured crisps that cover children in luminous orange goo!) And please bring plenty of wipes. It’s amazing how many we get through on a photoshoot.

What happens if it rains?

I’ve run a photographic business in the UK for many years so I’m not put off by drizzle or a downpour. I’m totally confident shooting portrait photographs whatever the weather.

Many of my best pictures were taken either playing indoors or outdoors on damp days in the beautiful, soft light cast by cloud-cover and rain. It’s a cliché but the light cast by a dull day is often more flattering than the dazzling brightness of a sunny one.

If it is pouring with rain on the day of your shoot, then don’t worry – we’ll still capture a fabulous set of pictures. Often the added challenge of thinking outside the box results in some of my very best work.

What happens if my child is ill?

If your child is ill, then please let me know as soon as possible and we can postpone your session. I wouldn’t dream of forcing a sick child to have a photoshoot, as this would be miserable for everyone involved. It’s much better to wait until they’re feeling better and we can all have an amazing time taking your pictures.

What should we wear?

Simple, plain-coloured clothes tend to work best, as do those with a subtle pattern. It’s best to avoid bold stripes and checks. Also, dressing in a mixture of black and white can create a distracting contrast. If it’s wet underfoot, please avoid dressing a toddler in white or light-coloured tights as the chances of falling over and getting muddy knees is high.

I’m happy to advise on what clothes will work best, so please feel free to lay out a selection before I arrive and we can choose the best outfit together. And if I think any items your family are wearing won’t work well on camera, there’ll be time for a quick change before we start.

Are you able to remove imperfections from the images?

I’m happy to remove the superficial spots and scratches that are an everyday part of children’s lives.

Can we incorporate hobbies into the shoot, such as waterskiing / surfing / horse-riding / archery?

I’ve photographed a dazzling array of different activities over the years and am happy to rise to any challenge. All I ask is that you tell me about any specific hobbies in advance so I can bring any specialist equipment needed along to the shoot. If your children’s passion is something I’ve not photographed before, then I’ll need time to thoroughly research what’s required to capture the very best images for you.

If your child is a star swimmer, we can’t photograph in public swimming pools but I’m more than happy to shoot in a private pool if you have access to one.

Can we include pets?

Of course, pets are family too so the more the merrier.  Over the years I’ve photographed cats, dogs, horses, llamas, rabbits and a variety of reptiles. It’s lovely to have all the family, furry and non-furry, included.

I hate having my picture taken, how will you make it bearable?

While most children are completely confident in front of the camera I’m aware that not all adults share this enthusiasm.  My aim is to make the whole process fun and pain-free. Instead of posing for hours on end, you’ll simply be spending time enjoying playing with your children.

I know how to make sure you’re in the good light and how to use the right angles. You’ll look your very best without feeling like you’re being put on the spot.

After the portrait session

How many images will we be able to choose from?

I pride myself on producing a variety of images of an incredibly high standard. I’ve worked hard to gain a reputation for producing beautiful, creative, imaginative pictures.

On average, I’ll present you with sixty images to choose from. Each of these will stand alone as beautiful photographs in their own right but, when viewed together, they’ll also tell a wonderful story from your day.

The majority of my clients choose several images as either framed prints or one of our acrylic or aluminium-mounted products and also purchase an album. This will include all your images in fabulous layouts that really capture the spirit of your family. I’m confident that you’ll all love them.

What is the average spend?

Most clients spend between £2,000 and £7,000, usually on a combination of albums and framed prints for the wall.

Do you have a minimum spend?

There’s a minimum spend of £650 or ten unframed prints (this excludes your session fee).

Who has copyright to the images, and can I buy the photographs on a disc?

I retain the copyright to all my images. However, you’re welcome to buy individual images or the complete set of print-ready digital files on a disc, which can be taken to any lab for reproduction. You’ll be granted a license to reproduce the images for your personal use, or to give to family and friends. You’re not permitted to enter the pictures into any competitions or to sell them onto third parties such as stock libraries.

 

Other information

Do you only photograph in black and white?

Yes, all of my photographs are taken in black and white to create beautiful, timeless images.

How long have you been a photographer?

I’ve been a professional children’s photographer since 2003, but I’ve been passionate about photography since childhood. My father gave me my first camera when I was around eight years old, a fully-manual Russian Rangefinder. Fascination triggered, I soon started to develop and print my own pictures in our home darkroom.

My mother ran a nursery school from the basement of our house and I photographed the children during my school and university holidays. I then sold the hand-printed black and white images to the children’s parents. It was an unconventional entrance into the industry, but a wonderful one. I’m very proud that I still have a number of regular clients who I first met when photographing their children at my mother’s nursery.

Did you study photography?

I don’t have any formal photography qualifications but I’m a constant and dedicated student of the art. I also have two degrees in Medieval History, from Cardiff University and the University of Cambridge.

My photography tuition came courtesy of my Dad as I grew up. Hours spent in the darkroom and days out and about learning about light and composition still serve me well. As a student, I discovered landscape photography and travelled extensively pursuing this love – a love reflected in how I incorporate the wider world into my images today.

I’ve been mentored by many of the best photographers in the business, and now help others as they learn their craft. I regularly share my knowledge at some of the biggest industry events.

I’m constantly improving my photography by studying the history of the medium and the work of the masters. I practice whenever possible, improving my work year-on-year to keep my skills fresh for my clients. And also, of course, simply because I love photography.

What does it mean to be a Canon Ambassador?

I’m privileged to be sponsored by Canon, the largest camera manufacturer in the world. I’m the only family photographer in Europe to hold the position of Canon Ambassador.  My work has been singled out as pioneering in my genre and consistently of the very highest standard.

How do I book a portrait session?

Please email me at info@helenbartlett.co.uk, use the contact form or call me on 0345 603 1373. I’d love to hear all about your family and plan the perfect photoshoot to tell your story.