Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Winter London Vacation Photo Shoot


Vacation photography in London this December

I can hardly believe it’s almost Christmas, it’s been such a busy December this year and I still have two more photo shoots to go before I switch off the computer and relax on the sofa with a mince pie. The year has flown by, and it’s been such a wonderful twelve months with so many lovely photo shoots and meeting so many incredible people.

This shoot that I’m sharing today is going to be one of my favourites from the year, a wonderful morning spent with such lovely people and a brilliant opportunity to explore all the creative opportunities London has to offer.

As regular readers will know I specialise in portraits of children and families, but I always love to do something a bit different and the last few years I’ve photographed more couples which I really enjoy. It’s so fun to explore creative ideas together and to use a photo shoot as a wonderful way to explore the capital.

So, I was thrilled when Chris contacted me to arrange a photo shoot when he and his wife were visiting London this year. From our first correspondence I knew we would have a brilliant time; Chris is a keen photographer (and fellow Canon R5 user) and they were keen to create something special.

Winter light

As anyone who has been living in the UK this year will know, 2024 has been wet and so I arranged not one but two possible dates for our photo shoot, being aware that a backup would be necessary when we were going to be doing the entire session outside.

However, luck was on our side and while the morning of our photo shoot dawned wet and windy when I left Crouch End in the dark, by the time I had got to central London the skies were clearing and we had incredible morning light to work with – at least for the beginning of our shoot!

A London tour

I met Chris and Aubree at their central London hotel, and we set off to explore. I was keen to show them as many sights as possible on our photo shoot and really capture the essence of London for them.

We started off by heading across the bridge to the London Eye which is such an icon of our skyline now. It’s a great spot for photos and Aubree’s dancing skills meant we could create something really special.

Then on up to West Minster Bridge and the houses of Parliament. Parliament square itself is cordoned off at the moment, to regrow the grass (or to discourage protests, it’s hard to tell) but we found some great views from south of the river and on the bridge. I love how, in the shot with the bus zooming by, we capture the reflection of the Houses of Parliament in the window.

St James’ Park and the Pelicans

No trip to London would be complete without seeing Buckingham Palace and the flag flying told us the king was at home. we did see a large landcover with the number plate HR1 zooming by, does anyone know if that’s the king himself? I like to think it was.

We also got to see the St James’ Park pelicans who were pottering about by the pond, oblivious to the crowd of tourists. I love the pelicans; they are so delightfully weird.

Heading back through St James’s Park the light was amazing and we utilised the shadows that were cast onto the arches to add a really dramatic visual element to our pictures.

A rainy day in London

By the time we had got to Trafalgar Square the rain had begun to fall and so, in a quest for coffee and a break (and also to make best use of our time while it poured with rain) we jumped on a bus along the Strand to St Pauls. By the time we got off the bus it was pouring but as ever, there are opportunities to be found and so we used the reflections for a ‘singing in the rain shot’ which is one of my favourites from our session.

The Southbank

From St Pauls we headed back along the South Bank taking pictures as we walked back to where we had started. I was so impressed with Chris and Aubrey’s energy, by the time I got on the tube home my watch told me we had walked over 18,000 steps together.

We found some wonderful spots on the way back too and the shot under Blackfriars bridge is a real favourite, wonderful light, and the amazing structure, along with a reflective puddle in the foreground creating something really unique.

A fantastic London vacation photo shoot

It was a fantastic shoot from start to finish and when I got on the tube, tired and dripping wet (by the time we finished the rain had really settled in for the day) I knew we were going to have a spectacular set of pictures.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing this preview today and found it fun to read about our amazing day in London. If you would like to book a photography session for yourself and your partner when you visit London then do get in touch, I’d love to hear from you and am taking bookings for 2024 and beyond.