Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Hampstead Heath Family Portraits – Just One – Ralph


Today on the blog I’m delighted to share a picture that I absolutely love; a stunning composition from a recent children and family portrait photography session on Hampstead Heath.

I was thrilled when Jonathan got in touch to arrange a family photo shoot. I was even more excited when we decided on Hampstead Heath as our location as it’s one of my all time favourite spots for family photography. It’s brilliant as it’s so much fun; you can’t fail to enjoy yourselves with trees to climb, long grass to hide in, manicured lawns to run on and – beloved of small boys everywhere – lots of gates to open and shut!

We had a brilliant time exploring all over the Heath and I have so many great pictures that I am really excited to share but today it’s ‘just one’, our sneak preview from the shoot and I have chosen this image of Ralph sitting in a tree on Hampstead Heath.

I love this shot, the tree is magnificent, an incredible specimen that would be worthy of photographic attention in its own right but which is made so much more interesting as a subject by Ralph sitting in the branches, looking up at us so pleased with his climbing skills. He provides a brilliant focal point for this exciting composition.

I decided to shoot this image from low down and include the long grass in the foreground and I’m so glad I did. I think this adds a brilliant anchor to this picture, which might have ended up top heavy without this compositional aid. I also love the visual chaos of the long grass, blowing in the wind, it’s fabulous spikey shapes in contrast to the softer contours of the branches, one so supple and transient, the other solid and stable, hundreds of years old – marking the seasons and remaining there as generations of children come and go.

I love compositions like this, which highlight the majesty of nature and how important that is to us. I love how children revel in being outdoors and how images like this really show those timeless childhood activities that span the generations and all the joy they bring. I love the scale of the image, showing how little Ralph is, even now as a ‘big boy’ of three.

I’m thrilled with this picture, today’s just one from my recent children and family photography session on Hampstead Heath in North London.

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