A Dancing Maternity Photoshoot

There is a term 'like a child in a sweet shop' and this would best describe how I felt last week when I got to photograph Emma at eight months pregnant. In the magnificent grounds of Wyndcliffe Court Sculpture Gardens nestling in a hillside, just outside Chepstow, South Wales with views of the Severn Estuary.

I first spotted Emma and her baby bump performing ballet and jazz routines during a dress rehearsal for dance shows that took place last month. These were organised by a local dance school and it was at that point I met her backstage (my daughter was part of this spectacular show, along with over 200 dancers aged from 7 years upwards). So after I hurridly explained to her who I was, between the speedy costume changes, a photographer who'd love to do a maternity photo shoot with her, it was six weeks later we got to meet again.

"So, what exactly are you doing here?"

She arrived complete with her wheelie case not even unpacked from the dance show, full of the amazing outfits she had worn on stage and I might add, were only now just fitting her and her growing bump. There was plenty of laughter between us and one of the tradesmen working in the main house that day. He got quite a shock as Emma tiptoed passed him, wearing a vibrant array of dance wear on a quiet Monday morning  "So, what exactly are you doing here?" he asked. To which she replied "that is a really good question!"

We planned our escape into the gardens between the downpours

The natural light that poured into the Ballroom of Wyndcliffe Court was perfect. We cleared an area to be able to use the magnificent 1920's window as one of our backdrops. And as it was a typical showery spring day, we planned our escape outside between the downpours. It was there that we discovered all sorts of secret gardens, the naturally wild and the elegantly landscaped. We found a couple of rope swings which sit in a tiny dell, framed by the bluebells growing there, and sets of elegant gates which separate one garden space from the next.

It was during the morning that Emma poignantly told me how this pregnancy has been quite a whirlwind for her and her partner (they already have a one-year-old son). So for her this morning became an important and unique experience that she will able to share with her unborn baby when s/he grows up.

But for me?... I'm just happy that Emma turned sideways on stage when she did during her dance performance, showing her and dancing baby bump in all their glory.