Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Family Photography in Guildford – Just One – Under the Table


I’ve always loved photographing children in a natural style – letting them take the lead and seeing in which direction the photo shoot goes. I love seeing what games children play and where they play them and how some things change with the advent of new toys and technology while some things always remain the same. I love how games such as tag and hide and seek will always raise a laugh, and I am also fascinated by how children instinctively use technology and make it their own.

For this photograph, today’s Just One, the girls were happily sitting under the table as breakfast was cleared away around them. Whether this was a cunning plan to avoid the washing up or whether this is the current favourite place I’m not quite sure but I certainly feel it made a great spot for a photograph.

Armed with Mummy’s iPhone the girls were watching, what I think, was a children’s joke cookery show, with ingredients from Harry Potter such as the wonderful Every Flavoured Beans (snot flavour, heehee!). I couldn’t quite keep up with the commentary above the fits of giggles from the girls. Whatever the show, they clearly loved it.

As so often happens on photo shoots I found myself on the floor, lying among the chair legs trying to get the best angle and thinking that this year’s resolution will be to take up yoga. I wanted to frame the girls among the chair legs, to make a feature of where they were playing. I love this kind of picture as it takes us back to a place and time, they will always know this was taken in the family kitchen and it won’t be long before the are too old to sit comfortably under the table, maybe another year at most for Maia before she gets too tall.

From a compositional point of view I was so thrilled to be able to use the chair legs as a graphic element in the picture, anchoring the eye and leading us to the girls in the middle of the frame. I love the feeling of light and space in the image in this beautiful light kitchen – and do remember, just because it can be dark and grey and wet outside at this time of year, we can still take wonderful family photographs.

Most of all though I love the girl’s expressions, looking up and laughing at a comment their mother has just made. Delighted to have been found out in their secret hiding place (although I fear the photographer lying on the floor may have been a giveaway). It’s a lovely moment with two beautiful girls and one that I hope will keep the family smiling for years to come.

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