Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Just One – Max – Family photography in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey


Today’s ‘Just One’ image is from my family and children’s photo shoot with Fiona and her wonderful family in Bushy Park, near to Fiona’s home in Walton-on-Thames in Surrey. It’s a shot that I knew was fantastic as soon as the shutter clicked – I was so excited about it that as soon as I got home, I downloaded my memory cards to look for it. It made me laugh at the time and it makes me laugh now.

I was lucky enough to meet Fiona about six years ago when I photographed her family when they were still living in Balham in South London. We had a great shoot and one of the pictures of her daughter Emma was to be seen in my adverts in magazines all over London for a while (a picture I still love to this day). I was thrilled when Fiona contacted us recently to ask me to visit the family at their new home in Walton-on-Thames. Since my last visit, the family has grown and there are now four children – the magic number I always think, being the youngest of four myself – and a real joy for me to photograph. I love the chaos and the comeraderie of a big family so much.

This picture of Max and the duck was taken about halfway into our shoot. We were exploring Bushy Park and heading back slowly towards the car from our recent activity of ‘Duck, Duck, Goose’ (a wonderful game if you haven’t come across it before) and, as if on cue, a family of ducks wandered up to see what we were doing. The children had been feeding the ducks earlier and were keen to offer some more bagels to the lucky birds. Max stood on a tree stump and started feeding them.

It was a moment when all the elements came together – Max beautifully back lit against a lovely simple background with his hair catching in the light, and the single duck looking up – the engagement between boy and bird so clear. I shot this image with a really wide aperture to create a lovely mystical feel to the image and I’m so pleased – it could be a picture postcard from the nineteeth century (cool trainers aside, of course).

I hope you like this image as much as I do. As you can imagine, there are lots of other cracking pictures from our family photo shoot featuring all the other children too, and I’ll be sharing those soon on the blog. In the meantime, here’s a bit of a personal favorite from our children and family photo shoot in Bushy Park in Surrey TW11 near Fiona’s Walton-on-Thames home.

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