three brothers taking photos of buckngham palace

This photoshoot was one of the most wonderful and intense experiences I’ve had as a family photographer. I put my all into every photography session – both mentally and physically, and especially so if I spend the whole day – over 12 hours on this occasion – with the family. Add the crazy hot London summer day, and walking across London for 12 hours to the mix, and I’m rather surprised I was still standing by the end of it! Luckily I love what I do and would happily do it all over again!

But there’s the full story…

This family travelled to London from Tennessee, USA and decided to book the whole day with me so they didn’t have to “fit” the photoshoot into their already packed schedule (exactly what it’s intended for – busy families with lots on their plate!).

With only 3 full days in London before heading off on a Disney Cruise across Europe, they didn’t have a moment to waste. Having a photographer with them for the whole day allowed all the flexibility in the world, and many opportunities to capture all the wonderful interactions between their three boys, and them exploring their favourite city together.

This trip to London was also a birthday present for their eldest who just turned 10 and got to pick the first destination – what a wonderful tradition. Truly, experiences are the best gifts.

st ermin's hotel in london

family starting their london adventure from st ermin's hotel in london westminster

We met at St Ermin’s Hotel in Westminster where the family where staying. The day before they’d visited Harry Potter Studios and understandably were a little tired in the morning, but after a hearty breakfast everyone was ready to go. We started with some more directed portraits (something I’ll always include in the photoshoot if requested) while everyone was still fresh, and then walked over to St James’ Park and on to Buckingham Palace, catching a glimpse of changing of the guards, before a walk through Soho and Covent Garden where we had lunch and watched some wonderful street performers.


changing of the horseguard, london

street performer at covent garden, london

Next up was a private tour of The British Museum with the wonderful Dr Lawrence Owens (aka modern day Indiana Jones). This was the most fun AND educational tour of any museum I’ve ever witnessed. Lawrence was entertaining and got the children – and adults! – giggling while also getting us to remember useful facts about dinosaurs, Egyptian hieroglyphs, human sacrifice, and Greek sculpture – and telling tales about his brush with danger during his archeological adventures. The boys were suitably impressed. The only downside was the weather – it’s gotten so hot inside the museum by that point that everyone was understandably losing it a bit towards the end! What you see in the photos below is not boredom, it’s dehydration! London really isn’t made for heatwaves!

a private tour of British Museum with Dr Lawrence Owens

After we left the museum, we were met with a rain shower outside – it was a welcome relief from the heat but it did mean a mad rush to the Tube station for cover and to get to our next stop, Tower Hill. That was a change of plans from what we’d originally intended (a leisurely stroll and a bus ride) but unpredictability is the name of the game when it comes to family photography, and especially the day in the life photography, and is not a big deal!

After a delicious pit stop at Bodean’s (seriously the best ribs in town) we headed to the Tower of London to witness the ceremony of the keys, a 700-year-old ceremony that remained unchanged through the years. It was getting dark but I was able to capture some atmospheric images of the family enjoying the tour and the pretty much empty Tower of London. Photography is not allowed during the ceremony itself, but trust me, it was magical and I would thoroughly recommend it. It’s free if you book far enough in advance, or you could book a private tour too.

ceremony of the keys tour at the Tower of London

Hope you enjoyed looking and reading and can see how much fun was to be had by all during our day together. Here’s what the family had to say about their experience:

“Five stars just isn’t enough for Antonina! What a joy she was to work with. Booking and planning was so easy and she was quick to answer my many questions. London is a special city for my husband and I and we wanted to capture some memories with our 3 boys on our recent visit. One chat with Antonina and I knew we would be in good hands. Antonina spent an entire day (12 hours!!) and was a pro, a tour guide, and a friend!! The craziness that we bring at times did not phase her for a second and she captured every single moment of a perfect day. We will forever treasure the pictures she took for us.”

If you’d like me to capture your family’s adventures in London, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

More vacation photoshoot inspiration:

A winter family vacation photoshoot in London

A winter family vacation photoshoot in London

This American military family was visiting London in January over from Italy where they were stationed at the time, and they reached out to me to document their London adventures before baby number two made an appearance. Despite what you might think, it doesn’t always rain in London in winter and we do have wonderful crisp sunny days and the low northern winter light gives that extra special look and feel to the photographs – but to be honest I can take great family photographs in any weather, rain or shine!

Best Family Photos of 2018

Best Family Photos of 2018

I can’t quite believe 2018 is almost over – can you? There was this one meme floating on the internet which I can’t now locate, but it basically went like this: 2018 was like “January, cold, World Cup, heatwave, heatwave, football is coming home, heatwave, December”. That’s definitely how it felt to me.

Natural children’s photography at Cadogan Square Gardens, Chelsea

Natural children’s photography at Cadogan Square Gardens, Chelsea

This photoshoot was very special – the family was visiting over from Washington, DC, and wanted to capture some special photographs of the kids having brilliant time here in London. Because they visit London frequently, they didn’t really want to have typical landmarks in the background, and instead opted for some relaxed family portraits in the private gardens of the Cadogan Gardens Hotel where they were staying.