Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Family photography with teenagers Sevenoaks


Knole park as a location for family photos

My second family portrait photography session with Stephanie in Sevenoaks in Kent was a fantastic experience from start to finish.  I had been looking forward to it as we’d had such a brilliant time on our first photo shoot, but even so, it exceeded my expectations.

It’s such a pleasure being invited back by families to see them again, see how the children are growing up and building a wonderful set of pictures for them to treasure as they get older.  I love looking back on my own childhood photos and so really enjoy knowing that I’m giving an equivalent gift to the families that I photograph.

Sevenoaks is a wonderful place and Knole Park, where we took some of the pictures, is a particularly beautiful spot.  I’m such a fan of woodland as a location for family photos as I love the variety of backgrounds and that there are always things to do.  I particularly like the natural props for the family to sit on or climb on, or in this case jump or vault over.

A tree trunk will almost always be more visually pleasing than a park bench for a photo and I love the challenge of making clean compositions from a busy woodland area.  My years of carrying my camera and tripod on landscape photography trips really comes into its own in this type of environment, creating order from the chaos and using the optics of my camera to guide the eye to my subject.  Lens choice and appropriate depth of field make all the difference when the location is visually complex.

A girl cartwheels across a garden in this black and white photo taken during a family photoshoot.

Incorporating hobbies and interests into your photo shoot

Our family photo shoot involved three fairly distinct sections and I love photography sessions like this – we take in different locations and ensure we have photographs that are full of memories for the family in the pictures.

First, our walk in Knole Park, a beautiful Sevenoaks location, stunning woodland that we could explore and made a wonderful backdrop for our pictures.

Then we headed home for tea and biscuits, the all-important mid-morning refuel and also pictures with the family pets, the only dogs I’ve ever seen bound up the steps and slide down the slide of their own accord, I just wish I’d been quick enough to get a picture.

It was great taking pictures of the girls in the garden, and I wonder if next time we might admit we’re too big for the swings, certainly one of the swings couldn’t take the weight of two teenagers this time around – everyone had clearly grown since our last session two years ago, the demise of the swing certainly made everyone laugh though.

Then we finished by jumping in the car and heading across Sevenoaks for the last few pictures, the girls with their horses, the other members of the family.

I love it when children have such passions; for a sport like riding or whatever hobby they have chosen.  It’s wonderful to hear about the challenges of competing at a high level and also inspiring to hear how much hard work goes into it.  I was so impressed by the girl’s depth of knowledge and their dedication as they explained to me different elements of their training.

It was an absolute pleasure from start to finish and I’m already looking forward to our next session.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy looking at this selection of images from our family photo shoot in Sevenoaks in Kent.  If you would like to arrange a session or have any questions then please get in touch, I’d love to hear from you.