Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Just One – Oliver – children’s and family photography in the Barbican, London


We were so excited when Sue got in touch recently to arrange a family photo shoot at their home in the Barbican in London, to help mark Oliver’s second birthday. As a photographer who loves to incorporate the environment into my pictures, the chance to take family pictures within the incredible architecture of the Barbican was a thrilling prospect. I knew we would have so many opportunities for really interesting compositions to create some incredible, unique family portraits.

The day dawned with torrential rain and then, as we began our morning taking pictures in Sue and Jeremy’s incredibly bright and airy apartment, the sun began to peep through the clouds. A fabulous morning followed, with soft grey light when the cloud cover was thick, interspersed with incredible rays of sunlight – low beams that ricocheted around the brutalist architecture of the Barbican, producing fantastically dramatic shadows and beautiful backlit halos.

Today’s ‘Just One’ preview image is one of my absolute favourite pictures from the day. As we turned the corner and I saw these huge concrete pillars with the light streaming in between them, I knew it was the kind of location that would produce something dramatic and memorable, and I wasn’t disappointed. We stopped and played here for a while, and this image is my absolute favourite. Oliver is looking up, back lit and standing out from the deep shadows behind him, his upturned face angelic in its childhood happiness. The framing of the building only emphasises how small he is – two years old and the world is his oyster. I love how the stripes of light anchor the image and the balance is perfect – top to bottom, left to right.

It’s an image I am thrilled with and I hope you will enjoy it too – today’s Just One preview image from our recent family and children’s portrait photography session in the Barbican, London. I look forward to sharing some more images from our wonderful morning together on the blog soon.

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