Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

I Love a Spontaneous Action Shot

12Jul

The Canon 1DX mark II means I don’t miss a moment

One of the things I’ve always loved about being a family photographer is the sheer unpredictability of my days.  I never know what we are going to do on a shoot or what the kids will enjoy. Sometimes I have an inkling, I know it will be fun, and that was definitely the case with this recent shoot in London, my fifth session with the family – the girls were only two and six months when we first me which feels like only yesterday.  But exactly what we will do or where we will go is often decided on the day, following the mood of the children.

This picture, a favourite from the session, was definitely one I hadn’t predicted.  We had been taking some pictures on the sofa and then I’d thought that the windows offered some interesting opportunities, I loved the light and how the windows worked so well visually with the sofa, rectangles of light at different angles repeating throughout the pictures.

But I hadn’t expected this. As I was taking a picture the girls suddenly leapt over the sofa in this incredible acrobatic display and the result was this wonderful photograph, a real favourite from the session.

I love how the light wraps around the girls, it was strongly backlit from the windows but there was a second smaller window at the other end of the room which provides the fill light on their faces.  Having the scene lit from behind means the girls really stand out, with a glorious halo of light which I find particularly delightful on their hands and feet, bringing all the details into sharp relief. It’s a picture that is so full of joy and so full of their personalities, fun, spontaneous and filled with humour.

From a technical point of view though, how do we take images like this and how do we take them when we don’t expect them to happen?  I was using my Canon 1DX mark II for this shoot and This was a moment where it’s incredible autofocus capabilities came into play.  The Canon 1DX mark II is the brands flagship sports cameras and I’ve always found it to be a great fit for kids as so much of what is important with sports is the same with children – unpredictable movement, fast changes of pace, the need for rugged build quality (I spend a lot of time around sand, water and bubble liquid) and fantastic low light capabilities.  I love my EOS R but for moments like this the 1DX mark II is king.

I always shoot on AI SERVO mode which is the tracking setting so as the children jumped, I could move the focus with them ensuring they have stayed sharp even with the movement. It was taken at ISO 3200 f4 at 1/320 with the EF 35mm f1.4L II USM lens.

We had such a brilliant shoot, and this is just the beginning of the wonderful pictures.  I hope you like it as much as I do and please get in touch if you would like to book a session for your family over the summer. July is very booked up but there are some available spaces in August, and I’d love to hear from you.