Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Just One – Madeleine – baby and family photography in Chelsea, West London


Peek-a-boo, I see you! I’m thrilled with this picture from a recent baby and family photography session in Chelsea, West London.

As a family photographer, I’m fortunate to have such an insight into the world of my clients, spending a morning with them being welcomed into their homes and their lives for the duration of our photo shoot. While I will often do at least part of the session outdoors, I often photograph the children indoors at home too, playing and doing the things that they do on a normal day in their own environment. This is a very special aspect of my work as so many memories of childhood are tied into our homes and all the little details – a tiled floor, a squidy sofa, a threadbare carpet worn down from years and years of racing down stairs. It’s lovely to capture these things within a portrait photograph, as this supplementary detail adds so much to the value of the image.

This photograph, today’s Just One preview, does just that and I love it. We had been out and about all morning exploring both sides of the river Thames in Chelsea and making great use of the variety of locations on offer, from a stunning leafy path with beautiful light to a lovely playground complete with pirate ship. Madeleine had a morning nap and a play, and then we had headed home for some last pictures in the family’s beautiful London home. This picture is a real favourite from the day and it was taken in Madeleine’s bedroom. I often find that children’s bedrooms are a lovely spot for pictures, as they are so important in the children’s worlds.

Madeleine’s bedroom was lovely with some brilliant animal stencils on the wall, but it was her cot that immediately caught my eye. It was a beautiful, traditional wooden cot with a wonderful hanging curtain around it, and I knew I wanted to use it in a picture. We put Madeliene into her cot and she immediately stood to chat to us, leaning on the top of the cot, smiling up at her mummy. The curtains draped down, creating this lovely compositional shape with the folds of the cloth creating these wonderful textural lines and mirroring the bars of the cot at the bottom. I’m certain that having a picture that captures this important element of Madeliene’s room will be such a lovely thing for her to have when she grows up, and it will always bring a smile to her parents’ faces as they look back and think of all that has gone before – those wonderful smiles as Madeliene greeted them in the morning as a tiny baby, and then growing into this lovely toddler that I was lucky enough to meet. Also the quiet tenderness as they lay her down to sleep at night and probably a few memories of sleepless nights, all held together by the incredible love between parents and children, and their pride in having such a wonderful daughter.

I was so pleased to be able to take a picture that used this important piece of furniture in a picture, but then we became playing some games and the pictures took on a whole new direction. The curtains made the most wonderful game of peek-a-boo, with Madeliene being able to pull them together and then pull them aside, laughing in excitement her face lit up with the most wonderful smile. It was this game that produced this picture, a shot that I love and that I hope you will enjoy it too – today’s Just One preview image from my recent baby and family portrait photography shoot in Chelsea, West London.

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