Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Family Portrait Photography in Esher – Just One


I first met Chiara back in 2013 and I have such fond memories of our photo shoot. We all had a brilliant time and Chiara was one of the most beautiful babies I have ever photographed. I was so thrilled to be invited back to the family home in Esher in Surrey to update the children’s portrait photographs and to meet the new baby, beautiful Evelyn who is just as delightful as her older sister.

The day of our photo shoot dawned with grey skies and heavy rain but the house was wonderful and light, a beautiful place to shoot. The soft light from outside provided beautiful soft illumination through the glass wall of the incredible open plan kitchen. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect spot for our indoor family photographs.

It’s been so hard choosing a just one as there are so many beautiful photographs of both girls but I keep coming back to this one, a shot from right at the beginning of our photo shoot.

I love looking through my files when I get home and seeing how an image develops. This was image number five in a sequence of six as I worked the image to get the best photograph from the situation. I start with a full length shot and then move myself in to get a head and shoulders picture. There are chairs at the top of the frame in both images cutting through Chiara’s head. Noticing this I climb onto the sofa for a better angle and, curious, Chiara comes forward to and leans on the back of the sofa. A couple of different expressions and then – click -this picture, a portrait that is inquisitive, serious and beautiful. I love it. A moment later Chiara has moved her arms and the beautiful triangular composition is lost and then we are off, on to find a game to play and another photograph to compose.

Much of my work is done like this, working an image, changing my angle, waiting for the right expression and for the elements to come together. Working with children I’m guided by them, watching what they do naturally and then making the best photograph I can. Working quickly and in short bursts. From first to last picture in the sequence, 46 seconds. Decisions made quickly as an opportunity presents itself, develops to just the right moment and then is gone. It’s the challenge of children’s portrait photography and I love it.

I hope you like this picture, today’s just one from my family portrait session in Esher.

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