Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Holland Park Photo Shoot with Teenagers


The joy of returning clients

I first met this lovely family back in 2009 when we did a couple of photo shoots in west London’s stunning Holland Park. I remember them so well, beautiful light, delightful children, and results that I still love fourteen years on. I love how black and white pictures date so well; they still look stunning after so many years.

I was thrilled when Miguel got in touch to book another session as a birthday present for his wife – it’s such a lovely idea for a gift, something that can be treasured now and into the future.

Meeting nice and early

It can be a challenge getting teenagers up in the morning but I’ve found over the years that an early start is worth it to ensure we don’t bump into any of the children’s friends when we are out and about.

The girls were amazing, ready to go by the time I’d finished a coffee, and we were in the park before 9am.

We were rewarded by the place to ourselves and stunning light.

Playground pictures to loosen up

We started in the playground to get everyone used to the camera and bring some movement into the pictures right from the beginning. My favourite shots are when there is action and interaction and so starting us off with some activities worked so well.

Group shots

Of course, one of the main reasons people book a family photographer is to get a picture with everyone in and so group shots are a part of all my sessions. I’ll find a spot of good light and take some pictures before we move on to find something else to do.

Group shots can be posed with everyone looking at the camera, or an activity like giant chess where everyone is engaged in the moment.


I also love to take portrait images and create pictures that are full of personality while also being beautiful. I think having a classic portrait is a wonderful thing to have and the fun thing is they don’t have to be taken in a posed moment, sometimes the most beautiful headshots are when the subject has forgotten the camera is there.

Activities and sport

When I’m photographing older children and teenagers, I love to include their interests and hobbies and it was such fun to do some sporting pictures when we got back home.

I always wanted to play lacrosse (I was an avid fan of the Malory Towers books as a child and so dreamt of this cool sounding game which we didn’t play at my school).

I was thrilled to learn the girls played and had a lovely time photographing them throwing a ball around in the garden.

We also had a brilliant time doing some netball and the combination of bright sunshine and shadows and an elevated viewpoint from the roof terrace meant I could get a very different, and fun, type of shot.

Finishing off with some shots in the girls’ rooms which were, dispute their parent’s warnings, absolutely immaculate. It’s lovely to have pictures to record how we like to express ourselves as teenagers, I wish I had some pictures of my room back then, my room was a complete mess, but I wish I could look back at the picture on the walls, the books I loved to read, and the chaos that summed me up at that age. I hope

the girls will enjoy looking back on these pictures and be transported to this moment in time and the fun they all have together.

It was a brilliant morning from start to finish and I’m so pleased with the pictures. I can’t wait to share the full selection with the family but for now I hope you all enjoy this sneak preview from my family photo shoot with teenagers in Holland Park in West London.