How to have have the Most Amazing Aerial Photoshoot

Aerial photoshoots make my job, creating artwork inspired by aerialists much easier. This post outlines my top tips for a successful aerial photoshoot.

My First Aerial Photoshoot

At the Yoga and Aerial Arts Retreat I attend in Costa Rica, the students organised an aerial photoshoot. While none of us are photographers, I am very happy with the pictures that got taken! Not everyone has access to professional aerial photography. Reflecting on the experience, these are my tips for an amazing aerial photoshoot.
 
If you find my tips help stage your photoshoot I would love to see the results.
 

Gift-wrapped Globe‘: Self-portrait acrylic and Tombow dual brush pens on canvas from aerial silks photoshoot

 

Side by side comparison. Left: My favourite photo from the aerial silks photoshoot in Costa Rica (photo credit to Courtney Maimon). Right: The artwork I created from the picture

My Top Aerial Photoshoot Tips:

Do your photoshoot in paradise

If you can get yourself to Costa Rica or some other idyllic location, do it! Our perfect location came complete with a metal structure to rig from and a view over San Jose city. There were even palm trees in the background to complete the scene.

Have a handy friend

We were also very lucky that we had someone in our group who knew what they were doing when it came to rigging. I would not have had a clue of how to safely rig a silk outside. So if you don’t have that expertise make sure that you consult or bring along somebody who does.

Have some fancy cameras

For our photo shoot we used a range of cameras from an iPhone7+ to DSLR cameras. I use a Fuji XM1 mirrorless camera and I really like how the colours come out. I think it is nice to have more than one if you can manage it, as different cameras have different strengths.

Have multiple people with cameras

It is easy for one person to miss the perfect moment for a shot. Having several photographers taking pictures increases the chance of capturing that perfect photo. You can also get multiple angles. For example, I love this pic that is looking up from a lower angle!

keep snapping no matter what

This photo got caught during a transition and reminds me a little bit of a matrix move. If my mates had not kept on clicking, even when I was not doing a fancy move or pose, I never would have gotten this one. We wanted to maximise the shots to choose from. Our philosophy for this photoshoot was quantity over quality.

Have someone to spin you to the right angle

Whilst I don’t mind a good bum shot, it is nice to be facing the camera most of the time. You also need to be able to get the right angle for all your splits and back balances to show how flexible you are. I recommend having one person dedicated to manoeuvring you into position. Also it doesn’t hurt that you can take advantage of the power of optical illusions 🙂

Have bossy and honest friends

It is nice to have people around you who you trust to tell you when you are in a weird shape or if your face looks crazy. I started off the photoshoot with my hair up. While I was hanging upside down in a backbend, my friends said to take it down. I am so glad that I did because I think it adds a lot to the photographs.

Organize to have a convenient storm roll in

We were lucky to get some moody dark clouds in the background of our photoshoot. This also meant that the lighting was awesome and we didn’t have the problem of glare or backlighting. One of the perks of going to Costa Rica in the rainy season.

Pick your poses in advance

Plan, plan, plan! Don’t spend your photoshoot time wondering what you should do. Plan the moves that you feel most comfortable with and play to your strengths. We had even greater time pressure than most. Each day at about 2pm there was a deluge of rain in Costa Rica.

Make sure you can stay in each pose for awhile

It can take a little while to get the perfect angle for the perfect shot. Give the photographers time to get the shot by choosing poses that you can hold for awhile. Rest poses with pretty pointed toes are your friend!

Artistic Process

This was a really fun painting to create. I wanted to play with some different abstract techniques and lots of rainbow colours. Often I paint with a quite restricted colour palette so for this work I wanted to change it up and use all the colours!
 
I also wanted to try getting a more washy effect with the acrylics. Recently, I have been wanting to get into trying out watercolours. This one has been my gateway painting where I used acrylics but in a more watercolour style.

I have seen people use line work to enhance their watercolour paintings. The lines were done using Tombow dual brush pens in similar colours to the figure and the silks that I wanted to define. They were applied with the anatomy of the figure in mind, so that the musculature would be augmented. 

I then used a mottled wash of blue and bright pink to add some interest to the background. This was done by dabbing the brush loaded with water and paint over the wet surface of the canvas.
 

Do you have amazing photos from a shoot that you would be interested in getting made into a piece of art? You can contact me at contact@the-art-of-flying.com and I will get back to you with ideas and options