Lifestyle photography is about shooting portraits indoors or outdoors in a non-studio environment ‘in the field’ so to speak. This photoshoot was almost literally shooting ‘in the field’ as for part of this photoshoot we used Wilder’s Folly on the Sulham Estate near Reading, a brick tower/dovecote built in 1769 by Reverend Henry Wilder . However, despite it being an interesting landmark – It’s not so well known locally. It’s also a location I’ve been meaning to visit and somewhere I thought would make a great location for some outdoor/landscape gymnastic photography. I wasn’t wrong.
I had been planning this photo shoot over some months with the mother of Tienna, the young gymnast who I was going to be doing the portrait work with, both lifestyle and gymnastic lifestyle as I wanted to break away from traditional images of gymnastics and produce something more artistic or fine art. It was certainly months in the planning and also involved finding alternative child care arrangements for my own children as I had my partner, Tini, coming along to help and advise with the possible gymnastic moves and poses. I had also identified two other locations for the photoshoot, Prospect Park and my own back yard; taking advantage of ground trampoline. Everything was ready. Locations sorted and pre-scouted, children away with grandparents, what Tienna was going to wear and a rough idea of her level of gymnastic skill. What could go wrong? A day before the shoot, I noted that large apparatus was being set up around Prospect Park… setting up for the Race for Life the day after the photoshoot, and on the day in true British weather fashion, it decided to rain, despite the preceeding days of good weather. Lovely continous grey skies and drizzle…. I must say Tienna was a complete trooper. I left it up to her whether we went ahead with the photoshoot. I gather she was so buzzing with the prospect of the photoshoot it would have been difficult to stop her :-)
Despite the drizzle, Wilder’s Folly still stood out and made itself a focal point. I had already decided to take advantage of the location to try and fit in some lifestyle portraiture as well as the gymnastic images, and Tienna had come prepared with a summer dress as one of her outfits. Rows of corn eitherside of the path up to the tower and a parasol helped create the image. Just a bit of photoshopping to replace the grey skies and wouldn’t really be able to tell it was actually raining at the time. Wonder if the parasol has dried out yet?
You can see the images from the other gymnastic half of the photoshoot in the second part of this post.