Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

A Portrait of a Girl on the Swings in Kensington – Just One


Autumn is a fantastic time of year for family portrait shoots. As the sun sits lower in the sky we are rewarded with beautiful directional light, which can help to create really interesting photographs. I’m so pleased to share a picture with you today, a ‘Just One’ from my recent family photography session in Kensington that really makes a feature of this wonderful autumn light.

I spent the most wonderful morning with Marilena and her family. As seems to be the case for so many shoots at the moment it was a wet and rainy start but we made the most of the time taking some pictures indoor. It’s great to get a mixture of indoor and outdoor pictures as they have such a different feel to them and, as Marilena’s younger daughter was only just learning to sit up, it was great to have some pictures of her on her parent’s bed where she could roll around happily in the warm.

By nap-time the rain had stopped so we headed out to the park to make the most of the day. The light changed as we were out from grey and overcast to a beautiful day with bright sunlight streaming across the park bringing beautiful atmosphere to the pictures. Bright sunlight can be hard to work with as a photographer but it’s fun to rise to the challenge and see how to make a feature of strong directional lighting particularly in a situation where you can’t change the angle of the subject, such as playing on the swings.

I chose to move around to the side of the swings to take a picture where the light picked up Alexia’s features, her fantastic smile and her beautiful fly-away hair while keeping the background dark to give the image a very graphic feel.

I love how all the tones and textures are picked up in this image, the light playing on the leaves in the background, the light brushing across Alexia’s clothes picking up the details of the fabrics but most of al how it picks out the details of her face and hair drawing us into the image. We can see how much fun she is having.

I hope you like it too, this portrait of Alexia, a little girl on the swings in Kensington that uses dramatic light to create a stunning photograph.

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