I was thrilled to visit Lauren in Hampstead this week for a photoshoot with her lovely six month old son, Ethan. We had a fabulous time capturing baby portraits, both at her Hampstead home and also out and about on Hampstead Heath. Today's 'Just One' preview image is a shot from our walk, heading out when Ethan was getting tired so he could have a sleep in his buggy and getting home just seconds before the heavens opened to another torrential downpour of rain. The moments in between gave us some lovely light for our baby photography session on Hampstead Heath.
I never plan shots in advance of a family portrait session – as I work out on location, I never know what will greet me on the day, both in terms of my clients' homes, but also outdoors – a favourite spot in the park can be closed off for some reason, or (currently) transformed into a boggy, muddy wasteland. I find it much better to just look around and see where inspiration takes me on the day – this results in pictures that are always unique and special for each of my clients.
As we were walking up one of Hampstead Heath's many hills, I caught sight of these trees and immediately thought I wanted to use them for a photograph – the shape of the trees, the delicacy of the branches and the clarity of the individual tree trunks called out to me for a silhouette. As those of you who follow the blog will know, I do love a silhouette.
While Lauren stayed safely on the nice dry path with Ethan, a quick exploratory look was required to see if the shot would work – I skipped over puddles to determine if we could get safely to the trees and if I could get just the angle I needed, as there's no point in getting muddy for nothing. We decided to go for it, and I'm so very glad we did. Lauren gamely braved a rather muddy cross country walk up the hill and I directed her to just the spot I needed. I then descended the hill for the perfect viewpoint, which unfortunately did involve getting low. So, after a moment's indecision, I lay down in the mud. What's a bit of mud when capturing a fantastic shot, after all.
I'm so pleased with this image and I love everything about it. The scale is wonderful and, to me, really captures the feel of Hampstead Heath in this mother and baby portrait. It's such a big picture, but also a picture that needs all the elements – a shot of the trees on their own would have been boring. I love how, by capturing Lauren and Ethan in silhouette, it's raised the picture to the universal – a mother and baby in a timeless setting. And yet, the setting itself – the Heath, the trees, the scale of the image – will always anchor it for the family in Hampstead Heath, the area where they live and enjoy their lives as a family.
I do hope you like this 'Just One' preview picture as much as I do – a single image from my baby and mother portrait photography session in Hampstead, North London N2.