Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Boys on the Zipwire


All the fun and excitement of the zipwire

I love this shot of the boys on the zipwire from a recent family photography session.

Extended family photography sessions are always a joy. It’s so lovely to get all the family together, to see grown up siblings enjoying hanging out together and the friendships between. It’s also lovely to see the grandparents surrounded by their offspring, happy and proud, there’s always so much love in the room. As part of a big family myself I particularly enjoy photographing these big family get-togethers.

I’ve been lucky enough to photograph Fran and James and their family for a number of years now. We first met many years ago when I used to photograph weddings alongside my husband Tom. Our first photo shoot was Fran and James’ engagement shoot. Then we took pictures at their amazing wedding and since then I have documented their family, watching the boys grow up and enjoying some incredible adventures together with photo shoots in France and Switzerland as well as in various counties around the UK.

For this shoot I travelled to Ely, navigating erratic early morning public transport and a number of cancelled connections but we got there in the end and coffee was very welcome on arrival. Then it was a question of how much it was really raining and was it worth going outside. The answer, of course, was ‘yes, lets head out’ so with coats and boots and a very happy dog we headed out for a family walk.

I love getting out and about when photographing big groups, its much more relaxing for everyone and allows for more creative family group shots. If we are indoors at this time of year with a lot of people things can be a little bit limited and there were ten of us on this shoot so quite a crowd to fit on a sofa although, of course, we did that shot too.

We had a brilliant time out in the fields, and everyone quickly relaxed in front of the camera meaning I could take lots of beautiful family shots as well as the usual individual portraits and action shots which make up the bulk of my work. When we finally got back indoors all camera shyness had evaporated and competitive Nintendo Wii dancing and home-made science experiments kept everyone entertained. I love the fact that I never know how my day will develop when I leave home in the morning and how it’s often the unexpected moments and activities which provide me with some of my favourite shots.

It’s always hard to choose a favourite but this one caught my eye. I took a number of panning shots on the zip wire. Zip wires are always such a great opportunity for pictures as everyone always has such fun and the speed and energy always results in wonderful expressions. This was no exception and I love this shot of Fran’s two sons speeding in front of me as I panned my camera to capture a feeling of the movement. It’s a picture about joy and siblings and I hope you like it as much as I do.