Family photography in Battersea
Battersea Park is a beautiful location for family photography. I have never been there before, but I had a feeling when I was sitting in the sun watching the ducks and waiting for the family to arrive that it was going to work really well, and I was right. I had great morning with this lovely family and their happy little boy.
First of all we did some group shots:
I prefer to start a family portrait session with group shots for several reasons. Firstly nearly everyone wants at least one photograph with everyone in. How many opportunities do you get to be photographed together as a family? Usually one person takes most of the photos and often their presence in family photos is only missed with hindsight.
Secondly, those moments when the children have first met me are when they are most likely to willingly do what I ask and it’s definitely good to take advantage of that while it lasts :-)
Lastly, there is still the chance to come back and do a different group portrait later in the shoot. They are so important, but can be a bit boring for the kids and adults, so I try to break it up a bit and do several rather than making people stand around in the same pose for long periods of time. The group shots later in the session become more and more informal as we get to know one another and everyone feels comfortable.
More of these to come...
I like to walk a little and chat to the family. If it’s a new location to me, like this one was, I look out for lovely little spots of light where the family can sit or play and where the background will frame the portrait. There is a knack to being able to judge the light quality and direction that comes from practice. Sometimes the most unassuming little spots are the most beautiful to photograph.
Here I chose a small wooded area with beautiful foliage and soft light. I wanted individual portraits of the little boy, and the best way to get natural expressions is to get children moving and doing something:
I like the colour photo above, but the B&W below is my favourite of the two. It tells the story of that moment perfectly.
Some more group shots of the mum and dad playing bubbles with their son. (Bubbles are a mainstay of a family photographer’s toolkit.)
Then still in the same area, but using different lighting, I took some photographs of the mum and little boy together. The foliage was darker and created a dramatic backdrop that worked perfectly in B&W.
And my absolute favourite of the shoot is this one:
I like the fact that it works on several different levels. He is hiding his eyes, but you can still see his smile, while at the same time not being sure what he is doing or why. He also looks really small against the background.
It works as a stand alone portrait, even without knowing him.
The following is another favourite game for family shoots. Most children (not quite all!) enjoy it:
And back to more group shots. You can see that these are even more relaxed than the first ones - everyone is having a good time, expecially the little boy!
Watch the sequence of events here:
Next we moved on to find some more variety of background. I am always a big fan of nice trees and leafy backdrops for a family portrait, especially in London where there is so much concrete:
And another change of scene here… The river Thames makes a great backdrop, and there are realt expressions and interaction between the dad and the little boy.
This is just a small selection of the portraits from that morning. I hope it gives a little insight into how relaxed a family portrait shoot is, and how it all works.
Lastly, here are some pictures of the resulting album so you can see how the story of the day can be beautifully laid out and preserved: