A 'little knights and princesses' shoot in leafy Harrogate for grandparents' birthday gift.

plum picking makes an unexpectedly great subject for a late summer family shoot

Usually, if someone asks me to do a family shoot in their garden (unless I know this garden to be estate-sized in proportions) I think 'dull, dull, dull' and basically say 'no, no, no'.

On this occasion, however, I knew that the preparation by grandparents Joanna & Paul would be second to none, and that I would be able to create them a fairytale keepsake of their four grandchildren as part of their joint 60th birthday celebrations.

a princess attacks the photographer
every princess needs a good horse, or a decent rope swing photo
the tower shall not be conquered as long as princess Bea is breathing
the dragon slayers are fighting for their queen, or for the last packet of Haribo

Firstly, the garden has a fort. Yes, you heard me right. An actual wooden fort. And the children were all ready to charge upon this castle in appropriate attire. Two boys with wooden swords hurtled across the lawn at me in St. George-like fashion, hotly pursuing two gorgeous princesses in pink. The girls were both sporting the kind of hat that I used to draw in wax crayon when I imagined myself as Rapunzel back in the glory days of my own childhood in the 1970s - pointy and mediaeval, with a chiffon veil dangling from the tip. Epic. 

grandpa entertains the children over a picnic break from the war over the fort
swinging knights on rope horses fire the kids' imaginations as the battle to capture the fort is captured in pictures

If the living re-enactment of the War of the Roses wasn't enough, then plum and apple picking in the sun-drenched orchard corner was the cherry on the icing on the photography cake. Four children, four baskets, an avalanche (literally) of plums, and some very grabby fingers later and the trees were stripped of their harvest. Empty branches, full camera.

apples and plums are harvested until the branches are empty and my camera is full
is this a good one, Helen? No bad apples are far as these adorable shots are concerned

A few family shots to round things off and the shoot was over. Thank you Paul & Joanna et al for a delightful morning and for all wearing remarkably (and unintentionally) coordinating outfits!

grandparents and their beloved grandchildren are enticed in to a group shot, even if it means bringing the bike too
my favourite shot of Paul & Joanna - I love the way she swings her feet up - she looks so happy
if you hold your basket under the tree long enough, odds are something will fall in without having to lift a finger