Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Just One – Emily – children’s portrait photography in Regent’s Park and St John’s Wood, London


This portrait photograph of Emily taken in London’s Regent’s Park shouts to me of spring, and all the fun it brings – the new growth on trees, the anticipation of summer, and how we all love to head outdoors, run around, and to play at the park – all the things that I love to photograph as part of my children’s and family photography.

I’ve been photographing Emily regularly since she was a tiny newborn baby, less than a week old. It’s always an absolute delight to see her again, to catch up with the family and to update our photographic record of her childhood. We have always had such a great time taking family pictures, whether at her stunning St John’s Wood home, out at Regent’s Park, or one of the other lovely green spaces that Central London has to offer.

I love the unusual high-key nature of this image; it was a very bright morning when we went to the park and Emily’s fair hair caught the light beautifully, with the carpet of daisies lending a light background. The challenge was to retain detail in the highlights, whilst also keeping a graphic feel to the image. Photographically, it was a challenging situation but it has worked brilliantly – it’s an image that will look fantastic printed nice and big, possibly on an aluminium floating mount to really show it at its best.

I love the little details that lift this image into something special. I love Emily’s missing tooth (the tooth fairy had brought £1, which was apparently more than her last tooth – which at 20p had seen no signs of inflation since I was last visited by the tooth fairy back in the 1980s!). Often when I speak to clients, there is a concern about waiting for teeth to fall out or teeth to grow back when children are this age, but I always say ‘go with it!’. It’s always best to have the pictures taken today, and embrace these little details of the gappy grin, or the self-cut hair. These images will have so many memories attached, both for parents and children, which will be triggered by these little details – who doesn’t remember having wobbly teeth? The different methods of removal (string to the door handle? Did anyone do that, I certainly tried unsuccessfully). I remember the excitement of the tooth fairy, and also the time my Dad dissolved one of my teeth in a glass of coke to make a point. These memories are so special to me, and I hope that Emily will have her own memories of this time that she will be reminded of when she looks at this picture in the future.

I also love Emily’s daisy chain (which I ended up wearing for most of the morning, as it kept getting caught in the wind). Emily had learnt the skill only that week and so was very pleased to show off her daisy chain prowess. It’s the details like this, the little elements of childhood activities that take one back to a place and a time, that are so special and I love that. As a children’s and family photographer, I can document these moments for my little subjects and create images that will hold memories for them for the future – it’s a privilege and a joy, and I’m so lucky to be a children’s and family photographer.

I hope you like this image, today’s Just One preview image from our photo shoot in Regent’s Park in London, N1. If you would be interested in arranging a children’s, baby or family portrait photography in areas of London such as Regent’s Park, St John’s Wood or beyond, do contact us – we would love to put a date in the diary, and still have a couple of dates available during the May half-term holiday this week.

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