Parenting

Photographer creates stunning fairytale pictures with her daughter to tackle lockdown boredom


A real-life fairytale (Picture: PA Real Life)

A photographer has created a stunning magical portfolio of fairytale scenes starring her daughter as a ‘lockdown boredom breaker’ activity. 

From Snow White to The Little Mermaid and Cinderella, Michelle England, 44, made all of the costumes and props for the fairytale photoshoot. 

Her youngest daughter Annabeth, seven, posed for the photos in various locations near their home in Grantham, Lincolnshire. And the results are beautiful. 

‘When tight restrictions came in we had to shut our studio and cancel all our bookings,’ said Michelle who also has another daughter, Darcey, 10, with husband Chris, 38. 

‘In the first lockdown we took doorstep photos and gave half the proceeds to a food bank charity. But even that became impossible, so I said to my daughter Annabeth, ‘what can we do?’ I meant for fun, not for work.’

Annabeth replied that all she wanted to do was take fairytale photos. 

‘She is obsessed with fairy stories – whereas her older sister wants nothing to do with it because she is far too cool,’ the creative mum said. 

Annabeth as Belle from Beauty and the Beast (Picture: PA Real Life)

While the initial plan was to just have some fun, Michelle found herself learning on the job.

‘It was a chance for me to learn new skills,’ she said. ‘When we recreated a scene from Beauty and the Beast, I took a picture of Annabeth, the glass dome, and the rose, but I had to find a way to make the dome go over her and be see-through with photoshop.

‘I took photos of the pumpkin for Cinderella, the apple for Snow White and borrowed a friend’s dog and even photographed a mouse.

‘But for images like the dome, I took photos of different things and then combined them into the final picture, so Annabeth looks like she is inside the dome.

Little Red Riding Hood comes to life (Picture: PA Real Life)

‘Normally, at work, unless I have a specific new project, I don’t learn specific new skills, so it took a while to teach myself these new techniques.’

Michelle explained that she was lucky to have stunning locations near her home such as the stately Harlaxton Manor which was used in the Beauty and the Beast pictures. They also ventured into local woodland to shoot Little Red Riding Hood and Snow White.

To avoid any copyright issues with fancy dress shop items, Michelle made the costumes for Cinderella, Belle, and Little Red Riding Hood and the magic mirror for Snow White. 

Michelle took advantage of the natural beauty around her (Picture: PA Real Life)

Ecstatic with the final results of her hard work, Michelle showed the pictures to her friends and subsequently shared them on social media. 

‘They all said they were amazing,’ she said.

‘Then, when I posted them on a wider social media group, it went bonkers and people started asking me if I’d take some with their children from books and films, but you have to be very careful with copyright doing them professionally.

‘I’m thinking about branching out into fairy tale shoots, as there certainly seems a demand and I thought calendars would be a nice idea.

The results are amazing (Picture : PA Real Life)

‘But I will have to work out very carefully what I am allowed to do. Old-fashioned tales are a bit easier. It’s not worth taking any risk. But, so far, it’s just been a personal project.’

With lockdown restrictions lifting, the mum and daughter duo has a few more fairy tale ideas in mind. They now hope to frame all of their efforts and create a feature wall in Annabeth’s bedroom.

And Michelle also notes that boys have joined in the magic photo fun too and hopes this is something that may continue into the future.

‘When I was able to have people in my studio, I had a boy who was obsessed with dinosaurs,’ she said.

‘I just said to him, “do me a favour and sit here and do some poses”. Afterwards, I created photos of him riding a Brachiosaurus.

‘He couldn’t believe it, he was so happy.’

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