Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

International Family Photography – Switzerland


A trip to the Land of Toblarone for me with this family photography session in Switzerland. I have known Fran and James for years as, back in the day, I photographed their wedding in Cambridge alongside my partner Tom Catchesides. We had a brilliant time and got on fantastically.

The family grew; Roker arrived, then Casper and I photographed the family a number of times. When Fran enquired if I might be prepared to travel to Switzerland to update their pictures I immediately agreed. Travelling throughout Europe to photograph children and families happens more frequently now and it’s just as easy to jump on a plane as to travel by train throughout the UK. If you are interested in having your family photographed in Europe, if you live there or will be visiting on holiday then do get in touch and we can discuss the options.

We had the most amazing day. Fran had given a lot of thought to locations and we started the morning early with a drive into Germany to visit a nearby spa town and a sensory park. Fran had thought the children would enjoy the adventure and they certainly did. I did too and it made for a fantastic location for pictures. We had such a great time exploring the activities and playing on the different apparatus. There were things for swinging, running, jumping – for seeing and listening and feeling – it was an amazing place and I wish there was something similar in London.

When the children began to get very hot and in need of a break we headed back to the house for some energy giving snacks. A large glass of water and something to eat later and, as is so often the case with children, energy and good humour was restored and we were good to go again. This time we headed out into the woods behind the house. I love when sessions have different chapters, different locations with different feels and activities; it makes for brilliant pictures and keeping everyone engaged and having a fantastic time.

The woods were incredible, beautiful with stunning light and I felt very jealous of Fran and James’s running routes. Suddenly Alexandra Palace and Queens wood near me in North London didn’t seem nearly so exciting for stretching my legs. We had a brilliant time, and the boys tested my fear of heights by taking me to the ‘chair in the tree’ which was, literally, a chair up a tree with a ladder attached. It was really very high but, always keen to get a picture, I gamely climbed up with my cameras slung around my neck. It was only when I got down I allowed myself to remember how much I hate heights. It was worth it though as the shot of Roker climbing up behind me is one of my favourites from the day. Being up high also gave me such a great angle for a family group shot, I love the one with everyone looking up but even more the shot of Fran and James sharing a kiss with the kids running wild around them, it sums up so much of family life.

Then back home for a bite of lunch and our last activity, the family paddling pool although paddling pool doesn’t really do it justice, more of a freestanding swimming pool, a fantastic addition to any garden. The boys had a great time splashing around and I loved taking pictures until it was time to pack my bags and dry myself off a bit for the flight home.

It was a fantastic trip with fantastic pictures. We had such a brilliant time and I’m already looking forward to my next trip to Switzerland.

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