Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Creativity and use of the environment in family portraiture


An image that is full of possibilities

I’m thrilled to share a picture from a recent family photography session today, a picture that, for me, epitomises the summer. It’s a picture about time and space and opportunities, a picture about creativity and freedom and a picture about two sisters laughing and playing together full of energy for the holidays ahead of them.

We had a brilliant photo shoot recently which took in the family home and a trip out to explore the wonders that Kew Gardens has to offer. I love sessions that have a variety of locations as we do different things in different places. We head outdoors to run around and explore, back home for violins, cellos and the beloved family cat. If you are thinking of a family photo shoot then do consider doing at least part of your session at home, it adds lovely variety to your photographs and the pictures are full of memories.

This picture though, today’s Just One, was taken at Kew.

When I’m working, I’m always on the lookout for new opportunities. I love to take pictures that are completely unique to my clients, which combine the energy of the children with the location we have chosen to create an image that will stand the test of time.

The girls were so full of energy, running, jumping, and performing the most incredible gymnastics. I wanted to capture that energy but also include the environment where we had chosen to take the pictures. It was a rainy start to the morning and the glass house was relatively quiet when we went in as the crowds had stayed away. I realised I could do something incredible using the space.

Together we had explored the viewing gallery and I realised there was potential for a very different and creative image below. The girls were fantastic, loving the idea of spinning in the centre of the floor and so while I stayed high up, they headed down and together we created this image. I love pictures like this where I have thought of a concept and working together with the families I photograph we have created a beautiful image together.

I love how it captures the girl’s energy, their hair flying as they spin. I love how you can see the laughter as they turn, feel their enthusiasm for the game.

I love the composition, the high angle giving us a very different take on the space and the incredible glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly visible hanging from the ceiling but also within the foliage at the sides.

I feel that the sense of space gives a feeling of opportunity, of possibility, of fun to be had and creativity to grow. The sculptures remind us of what can be achieved, and I look forward to seeing what these incredible, intelligent and funny girls will go on to do with their lives. The sense of movement reminds me of the excitement of growing up, of running through the holidays where each day is filled with new possibilities and new things to explore. It reminds me of childhood and long summer holidays and the wonderful love of siblings, everything that I look for in a picture.

I hope you like it as much as I do. I’ll be sharing some other images from more summer photo shoots soon; it’s been such a great summer so far and it’s not over yet.

If you are thinking of planning your own photo shoot, then I do still have some limited availability in August. September weekends are almost completely booked up (only one session left) but there are some free in October and there is midweek space too. For more information do take a look at my family photography page, check out the kind reviews from my clients or see what’s been said about me in the press. Do get in touch if you would like to book something in, I’d love to meet you.