Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Father and Son


It’s my aim, as a family photographer, to take pictures that show relationships. I like to create photographs that sum up, in a fraction of a second, the love that family members have for one another. I think this picture does just that.

It’s a quiet moment, unposed and between activities – and all the more powerful for that. I think it’s one of the most perfect photographs of a Father and Son that I have ever taken. The look of utter happiness and contentment on Nuwan’s face says it all – happy and snug in his father’s arms, the perfect place to be. I love his expression, a smile of such contentment.

It is the hands though that really make the picture for me, that hold the image together and give it this feeling of unity that I love so much – little hands held in bigger hands, Father and Son together.

The composition is so simple and so effective, Suranga’s arms hugging his son take our eyes around the picture, always ending up at Nuwan’s smiling face, the composition enhances the feeling of togetherness.

We spent such a wonderful morning on our photo shoot in Cambridge – my third family shoot since I had helped my husband, Tom, photograph Gemma and Suranga’s wedding ten years ago now. It’s always so lovely to visit families regularly over the years, to watch the children grow up and to see all the new things that they enjoy.

Nuwan and his brother Rohan were such a joy to photograph. We had such a brilliant time and the photos span an amazing range of activities from making grass catapults to a light-saber battle with real trees (who uses sticks when there’s recently been a storm that has brought down branches at least three times the size of the children), from hid and seek to water pistols. I love how, over the course of a morning, we can do so many different things and photograph the children in so many different moods.

I’ll share some other images soon, but in the meantime, I hope you like this picture, today’s ‘Just One’ from my recent family photography session in Cambridge. If you would like to book your own family session over the summer then do get in touch, I’d love to hear from you.

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