Helen Bartlett

Family & Maternity, Portrait | Last Updated: July 8, 2022

I’m a London-based family photographer specialising in natural, black and white photographs of babies and children. I started my business in 2003 and since then I have established a loyal client base who return year on year to document their children’s lives.

I’m well known for my creative compositions and use of light and the environment to create family photographs that stand out from the crowd, artistic images that will stand the test of time.

In 2017 I was appointed a Canon Ambassador. I also work as a brand ambassador for F-Stop Gear and Light Blue Software which is incredible business management software designed specifically for photographers.

I regularly teach seminars in both the UK and abroad and have lectured on Family Photography at locations including the Apple Store on London’s Regent Street, the Canon Stage at the Photography Show in Birmingham and Photokina, the world’s largest imaging show in Germany.

My work is widely published both nationally and internationally and has recently been seen in Professional Photo, Professional Imagemaker and PhotoPlus The Canon Magazine in the UK, Click Magazine in the USA and PhotoWorld in China.

Canon 1DX Mark II Cameras
I shoot with two cameras and that will either be two Canon 1DX Mark II’s or one 1DX and an EOS R. I love the 1 series cameras, they have the most incredible autofocus and low light capabilities and the build quality is phenomenal – torrential rain or sandy beaches, these cameras are absolutely fine. If I could only take one camera onto a desert island it would be this one.

Canon EOS R
I was converted to the EOS R (review) when I did a lot of the pre-release testing for Canon and so I had one on order as soon as it was officially launched in 2018.

Canon’s first full-frame mirrorless camera is a joy to use and I have found it has changed my photography for the better, making me more creative due to the 5655 focus points, the fully articulated touchscreen, and the wonderful EVF viewfinder which makes working with high contrast light an absolute joy.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM
This lens is a revelation. I’ve always been a huge fan of the 85mm focal length, but this is by far the best lens in its class I’ve ever used. It’s fast and sharp and the bokeh is beautiful.

I love this length for photographing children as it has enough reach to photograph them running around but it’s not too long. I can have a conversation while using this lens and that communication space is where the best portraits are made.

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM
35mm is my favourite focal length which is why I carry two 35mm lenses in my bag, one for each camera system. The 35mm length is perfect for storytelling – you can get in nice and close for dramatic shots but also go further back for the wider scene.

A lot of my best work is shot on the 35mm. The mark II version of this lens is worth the extra money, it’s a phenomenally fast and sharp lens and being able to shoot reliably at 1.4 makes a huge difference when working indoors.

Canon EF 100mm f2.8L Macro IS USM
I use this lens when I’m photographing newborns and occasionally for outdoor portraits. For portrait work, the compression at 100mm is very flattering. The macro setting is great for interesting approaches to newborn pictures, getting all those little details such as tiny fingernails that will be just a memory in a few weeks’ time when the little ones will have grown so much.

Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM
This lens is the flagship of the new Canon R system and it’s easy to see why. It’s the sharpest lens I’ve ever used and remarkably consistent in photographing moving children at f/1.2. The bokeh is creamy and gives images an ethereal beauty which is hard to describe but wonderful to look at. I love the 50mm focal length and know this will be regularly attached to my camera in the future.

Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM
I never would have thought I’d need a second 35mm lens until I started regularly using this one. Having the flexibility of macro capabilities on a 35mm focal length is wonderful for creative photography without having to change lenses. It’s also tiny and very light so it, along with the EOS R, is my go-to combination if I’m out and about with family and friends.

F-Stop Ajna Bag – This is far and away the best camera bag I’ve ever owned. The innovative design with an internal compartment for cameras and then plenty of space for extra bits and pieces means that I can easily carry all my equipment and even extra clothes and a toothbrush if I’m away overnight on a shoot. It’s also incredibly comfortable which makes all the difference when you carry as much equipment as I do.

Biscuits – I photograph children and so the restorative power of a gingerbread man or a chocolate biscuit can’t be over-emphasised. I play games with the children and we run around and play with their toys and it takes a lot of energy. Refuelling with snacks keeps everyone happy and ensures a brilliant time is had by all.

www.helenbartlett.co.uk | @helenbartlettphotography

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