Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Family Photography on Box Hill in Surrey – Just One


When I’m choosing a single image from a photo shoot I like to look for something a little different, a picture that really catches my eye and that I feel really sums up my day. This picture from a wonderful family photography session on Box Hill in Surrey is just that. I love the space of the image, as space was such a feature of the location, up on a big hill with the rolling landscape stretching out below and the vast sky filling my field of view from top to bottom. It’s an incredibly place, I hadn’t been before and I’m now in awe of the cyclists who zip up and down so fast. It’s also not a great place to drop a football as it can roll for miles, but that is another story!

Thomas was an absolute joy to photograph. Four is such a wonderful age – so happy to play games and chat to a new person and with no self-consciousness in front of the camera. We had such a good time, exploring the woodland, climbing on trees, inventing incredible train journey’s, exploring the woodland castles and, most fun of all, hiding from the troll while playing the Billy Goats Gruff and crossing the bridge to get to the sweet grass beyond. I’m still in awe of Marks’ willingness to get involved and climb into the deep dark stream below the bridge (well, not that deep and dark but certainly a little muddy, good work Mark!).

I admit I almost chose a Billy Goats Gruff shot for my just one as they are so much fun but there is something about this picture that really stopped me in my tracks. I love everything about it, the feeling of being in such a wide-open space – the world full of possibilities that sums up the life of children so well. I love Thomas’s body language, arms spread wide as he turns to catch the ball, which has been kicked so high by one of his parents in our amazing game of football on the hill. I love the composition with Thomas perfectly positioned within the shape of the tree behind, the low angle and use of a wide 35mm lens really emphasizing the scale of the place. But most of all I love Thomas’ look of absolute joy as he laughs, reaching for the football as it falls towards him. It’s such a fun photograph and feels to me to sum him up so well, a wonderful outgoing personality, so full of fun and laughter and looking out at all the possibilities the world will offer – as ready to embrace the future as he is ready to catch the football that falls back towards him.

I hope you like this image as much as I do – today’s just one from my recent family photography session on box hill in Surrey. If you would like to arrange your own family photography session over the summer or in the autumn then do get in touch, dates are getting very booked up, particularly in July and also September but do get in touch and I will do my best to fit you in.

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