Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Family Photography with Teenagers in Wimbledon


Photographing older children and teenagers is always fun and every year I look forward to my photo shoots with Joanna and her children. This year we decided to visit Canizaro House in Wimbledon to take the children’s portraits on our annual family photography session. I’ve been photographing the family since 2005 and this was our tenth shoot. I can hardly believe that I started working with Joanna before Julien was born and now he’s almost at secondary school!

I’m a massive fan of Canizaro house in Wimbledon as a location for children and family photography sessions, it’s such a diverse garden you can always find space without other people around – particularly if you are out bright and early as I always am. It’s also endlessly varied with such interesting areas.

I’m always keen to get lots of pictures of the children together which has it’s challenges as older children become more self conscious, gone are those days of early childhood where they would play naturally together on a photo shoot and I could take pictures almost without them noticing – I have so many memories of those days with these children such as this shoot in Chelsea and or this one in Battersea Park but life moves on and children grow up into wonderful, interesting, young people.

Now, a certain amount of direction is necessary and then the trick is to get lovely natural expressions. I’m finding it increasingly interesting as social media use increases amoung young people how teens are beginning to have a particular ‘photo face’, like the younger childs ‘cheesy grin’ older children have what I refer to as an ‘instagram pout’ looking cool, but slightly grumpy for the camera. My challenge is to get those natural smiles, the laughter that comes when they forget the camera is there to provide pictures that capture their essence as well as, of course, those which record the images that they wish to portray to the world. It’s a challenge I relish when photographing older children and teenagers.

We had a great time at Canizaro Park taking portraits of the children, the boys were, as ever, full of energy and Alex showed off his skate boarding skills. There were plenty of trees to climb and also fallen logs which make a brilliant setting for a group shot – somewhere comfortable for everyone to sit with lovely and unobtrusive backgrounds. I always enjoy chatting to the children and hearing what they are up to – what they have been learning at school and takes of their wonderful trips to France where they spend many of their holidays.

We had a great time and I love the pictures. Already I’m looking forward to our next shoot, I wonder where we will go for that, but in the meantime I hope you will enjoy these images, today’s blog from our family photo shoot with teenagers in Canizaro Park gardens in Wimbledon.

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