Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Just One – professional family portrait photography


I was lucky enough to met Sarah and Ed back in 2011 when I visited them at their Kensington home to capture some family photographs – we spent a fantastic morning out and about in Kensington Gardens, and also at the family’s home capturing portraits of their beautiful daughter Iona.

I visited the family again a few months later when baby Hamish was born, a shoot I remember well not least as I took one of my all-time favourite pictures. It was a shot of Iona sat in front of the blackboard in their beautiful home with her message, ‘Welcome home Mummy and Hamish’ – a shot I loved then and still love now (and it’s included in the portfolio of my favourite children’s portraits, see if you can spot it).

I was thrilled to be invited back a third time to update the family’s portraits, and also meet the newest member of the family, Alexander. This time the location moved from Kensington in West London to the Cotswolds, and Sarah and Ed’s beautiful weekend home. It is a beautiful house in a stunning location, just perfect for photography.

We spent a great morning together with so many games, so many laughs, so much running around and it will be quite some blog post when I share an extended selection of pictures. But for today, it’s ‘Just One’ – a sneak preview for Sarah and Ed of the pictures that they have waiting for them, and it’s a cracking set of pictures if I do say so myself. I’m over the moon with them, and I know they will be too.

I thought I would share a family picture for my ‘Just One’ today. I love making sure I capture really nice family pictures on my photo shoots – it’s great fun getting all the individual portraits and everyone playing and having fun, but there is a definite spot in my heart for a family group picture. Who doesn’t love having a picture of themselves with their family, with everyone looking happy and relaxed? A family picture that has a bit of personality to it, too – nothing too formal, nothing too staged; a photograph taken fairly quickly, with thought and precision to capture a happy moment of family laughter in a picture that will look amazing framed on the wall and will also work brilliantly in an album telling the story of the day.

This shot was taken just before a well-earned mid morning ‘cake break’ when we were heading back to the house after searching for the haystack fairy and jumping in some puddles. Ed pointed out the view and we quickly decided to use the gate for a quick family portrait. I always love a gate! Gates give a really lovely structure to a picture, kids always love climbing them and they always result in lovely relaxed poses. There is something about them that makes everyone smile, too – I think adults always think back to childhood times, swinging on gates, vaulting over them, climbing and laughing; while the kids know they get to do those fun things now, and who doesn’t enjoy swinging on a gate.

I love everyone’s expressions here, so happy outside together and with the prospect of Sarah’s wonderful blueberry cake just around the corner. I love how it’s a fairly formal shot in some ways – everyone is looking to camera, but the details give it a relaxed, happy feel. Iona is leaning forward, such a big girl now and soon to start school – ‘almost a grown-up’, as she explained to me. Hamish is with mummy, snuggly and happy, but standing too – a big boy too. Little Alexander – with one trouser leg up, one down, so typical of those toddler years when just learning to walk – he’s sitting on the gate, king of the world with his Daddy. And then we have the beautiful view in the background, anchoring this picture to its Cotswold location and a beautiful English countryside in the summertime.

I do love this shot, and I hope you do too.

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