Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Just One – Clare – destination children’s portrait photographer in Geneva, Switzerland


I was over the moon when Helen contacted us to arrange the family’s fourth photo shoot and suggested a new location – not South London as usual, but Geneva in Switzerland! I was thrilled and excited that this would be the first of a number of international family photo shoots this summer, as the year is shaping up to be increasingly full of destination family photography sessions all over Europe. I was also thrilled to be seeing Helen and her family again, as we have always had such a brilliant time on our portrait shoots – days which have, over the years, included many brilliant activities and have often resulted in some of my favourite images of the year each time. I knew that we would have a great time, and a great time was certainly had by all!

So it was with excitement (and, I’ll admit, more than a few thoughts about limited edition salted caramel almond Toblerone which I highly recommend you purchase next time you go to Switzerland, and is yet to be available in the UK) that I packed my bag, and headed to the airport. By the end of a summer of family photo shoots around Europe, I’m going to be a dab hand at the speedy boarding queue and the Gatwick Express train – it was lovely to be heading off to a photoshoot with my passport in hand, so excited to be going somewhere new.

On arrival in Geneva, James was kind enough to meet me and as we drove back to the family’s home, I was filled in about the local geography and culture in Geneva, driving past mountains bathed in the most incredible evening light. I felt so lucky to be a family photographer, with all the opportunities it offers me to travel around Europe and to visit places as exciting as Geneva to take family and children’s portrait photographs. A lovely meal and a good night’s sleep later, we were up, breakfasted and ready to play.

It was a beautiful day and the family’s garden was bathed in morning sun as we ran outside to play. The girls, as always, were full of beans and such great fun to be around. They clearly love their new house and the garden was incredible. It’s one of those gardens that has everything you could want – loads of grass for running around, a circuit of patio around the garage and to the enclosed driveway (just perfect for scooter and bike races), and even a pool (although that wasn’t opened for the summer just yet). The garden also has lovely trees that gave us some wonderful big areas of shade to photograph in and will, I am sure, become much loved dens for the girls to play in as the summer continues. It was just perfect.

We had an amazing time playing in the garden – Helen had given our photo shoot a lot of thought, and had all the girls favourite things on hand so we could take a selection of images that really captured their personalities. From Claire’s school set-up in the kitchen (of which there will be more of later, it was brilliant and had some of the most wonderful words in her vocab section, I need to use ‘terrific!’ and ‘bellowed’ much more often in conversation) to the girls matching dolls, bikes, scooters, hula hoops and bubble games – it was brilliant to have so many activities to move between, keeping everyone engaged and having fun all morning.

It was so hard to pick a Just One preview image from this wonderful family photo session, but I chose this image of Clare and the ‘Wubble Bubble’ – a fantastic toy that ‘looks like a bubble, plays like a ball’! I love everything about this image, but especially the sense of movement with Clare running and her hair flying out behind her – you really get a feel for the speed she’s going as she runs down the hill at the back of the garden with the Wubble Bubble rolling ahead of her (one day, I’d love to photograph the Gloucestershire Cheese rolling, or maybe have a cheese rolling on a children’s photography session – go on, you know you want to do that on your photoshoot!). I love the light, bright sunlight which is directional but not harsh at this early hour of the morning, serving to illuminate Clare against the backdrop of trees. I also love the girls’ Swiss Mountain-style playhouse, giving the image a real Swiss charm and anchoring it in the family’s beautiful Geneva home.

I love this image and I hope you will like it too – do check back soon for some more pictures from this wonderful children and family photography session in Geneva, Switzerland.

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