Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Just One – Charlie – children’s photographer in Suffolk


I’ve been photographing Susie and Stuart since 2007, back in the days when I used to photograph weddings. Our first session was their engagement shoot on what was then Susie’s parents’ family farm – Gladwins in Nayland in Suffolk. The wedding followed, also at Gladwins Farm, and then when Susie and Stuart started a family, I was back again to record the important moments. This was our sixth photo shoot together and it was wonderful to see everyone again.

This Easter has been magical weather-wise, but it was drizzling on the morning of our photo shoot. Not to be daunted though, we wrapped-up warm and jumped in the car to head to the beach at West Mersea and the wonderful beach hut Susie and Stuart had rented from The Little Beach Hut Company on Mersea Island.

I will share some more photos from our morning together in a full blog post very which included some time spent at home at Gladwins Farm, which Susie and Stuart now own and run as an incredible family-friendly holiday destination (which we highly recommend, as it’s just brilliant). But today’s ‘Just One’ preview image is from the early part of the day at the beach.

I love this image as all the elements come into play – the combination of a well-thought out composition (I found the spot, and lay in wait for the game to come to me), great light, and Charlie’s fabulous expression have worked out really well. The leading lines draw the viewer’s eye through the picture and it takes a moment to spot Charlie’s tiny head, peeking round, laughing like mad. I love an image that takes a moment to engage with, but that I find I come back to again and again.

The expression on Charlie’s face is so joyful and happy, thrilled that he has found me hiding between the beach huts. It’s an expression full of the joy of a game well-played and with the tiny details that make it special – socks and no shoes, such sensible footwear for the beach! It’s just what I want to capture in a children’s portrait – it’s full of character and happiness, and a unique image that Charlie will treasure as he grows up.

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