Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

A hot tub? in February? – Just One


A hot tub? In February? But yes, a perfect way to end a cold beach shoot.

I was so thrilled when Katie rang me towards the end of last year to discuss a big family beach shoot this February. I’ve been photographing Katie and her family since 2009 and this was to be our fifth photo shoot. Katie and her family were hiring a big beach house to celebrate her mother’s 70th birthday and thought it would be a great opportunity for a family photo shoot – and they were absolutely right, it was a brilliant day.

We started the morning with blueberry pancakes and bacon (and yes, this does earn you massive brownie points with your photographer), it was a feast to set us up for the day. Well-fed we got everyone wrapped up warm and headed to the beach near Angmering on the south coast. It was a very cold and very bright day; low winter sun was blinding at times but made for dramatic light on the beach. Finding stones to skim and climbing on the groynes we had a brilliant time exploring the local area.

From the beach, we headed back to the house which was fantastic for photography with a space for board games and even a pool table which the older children loved. It was definitely a brilliant place to stay. We had a lovely time nibbling on KitKats and playing games while everyone warmed up.

Then we finished with pictures of the children in the hot tub. When I saw it in the garden I’d asked Katie if it was even on at this time of year, I know many homes with outdoor pools don’t heat them over winter but yes, the hot tub was on and a huge hit with the kids. With steam rising and catching the light it looked almost otherworldly and the children loved relaxing in the warm. It certainly looked inviting.

It was at this point I took one of my favourite images of the day and the picture I thought I would share as my Just One. Amy, who I have photographed since she was 2 years old, relaxing in the pool. Amy is a keen, and very talented, swimmer and this picture seems to capture a bit of that. She looks so comfortable in the water, like a pre-Raphaelite mermaid. I love it and I hope you will too, today’s Just One from our recent family photo shoot on the South Coast.

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