Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Just One – Arthur’s go-karting birthday party


I’ve been a professional children’s photographer for eleven years now, and the children I started photographing as babies are getting so big. Many children are at secondary school now and thoughts of GCSEs are approaching, whether it be which language to choose, or the merits of studying history over geography (history always wins, of course). These are becoming as frequent topics of conversation on my photo shoots as the relative merits of Peppa Pig and Fix-it Duck.

Children’s birthday parties are changing, too – pass the parcel and musical statues are becoming things of the past, and now it’s football, Go-Ape and go-karting. I’ll be photographing two go-karting parties this June; I do wonder what will be the party activity of choice next year (personally I’m hoping for laser quest so I can pretend I’m a photojournalist – paint ball might be rather less appealing!)

Go-karting is great fun and very challenging to photograph. The children are only in the cars for a very short period – two ten-minute races in this case – and so the opportunities are limited, as are the viewpoints as safety required me to stay behind all the barriers which haven’t been designed with photography in mind. I love a challenge though, and I was thrilled with this picture from Arthur’s party at the weekend. I’ve shot with a slow shutter speed and panned the camera, moving it to follow the motion of the car as the shutter is open, so the car remains sharp while the background blurs to capture the feeling of speed.

I’ve also added a second picture to this blog post – this took place away from the birthday party (I took it as the boys were just washing their hands after the karting before loading back into their cars to go home). The go-karting track was next to a track for dirt bikes and, well, what photographer could resist taking one or two shots…. I thought I’d share it too, just because I think it’s rather cool.

So today on the blog, we have two motorsports pictures from Arthur’s eleventh birthday party. I wonder what I’ll be photographing next year…

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