Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Christening Photography in London – Just One – Ruby


As photographers, we’re privileged to be invited to share important days with the families we work with, to celebrate important events and to meet the people who are important to them – the family and friends with whom they share their lives. It’s one of the many reasons I love photographing christenings. I’m invited in to observe and record a day that celebrates the bonds of family, friendship and religion as parents and godparents stand up and promise to love and guide their child, and godchild, as they grow up.

I arranged to meet Mary and John before the ceremony so we had some time for pictures of Ruby as everybody arrived. I like to take portraits before the christening itself as little ones can get quite overwhelmed by the ceremony also, by taking the portraits before the christening, we got Ruby on top form after her nap. We had a great time and Ruby enjoyed exploring the church as her parents greeted their family and friends who had come to share this special day.

I wanted to take a picture that really focused on Ruby but which also gave some context to the portrait and I’m thrilled with this photograph of Ruby playing in the pews. I love how the leading lines draw us to her and her little arms, one on each seat give a beautiful symmetry to her pose. She has only just learnt to walk so holding on gives stability but it’s also a pose that makes me think she’s in complete control an independent and inquisitive toddler who will follow her dreams wherever they lead.

I love the detail of the flowers on the right hand side, the church had been so beautifully decorated and by including the detail of the roses and the ribbons the family will remember the thought that had gone into the preparations, it’s often these secondary elements that give context to a picture and bring back memories as the years go by.

Most of all though I love Ruby’s expression, looking up quizzically at her playmate, smiling happily at the game they are enjoying. It was such a pleasure to meet and photograph Ruby, the apple of her parents’ eye and an absolute joy to photograph.

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