Behind the Scenes: Balmoral Castle with the RNLI


20 Scottish pipers in Kilts at the Queens Summer castle – Balmoral for a Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) press shoot. Now imagine me directing them. It was quite a challenge; people of all ages formed the Ballater and District Pipers Band. And what a sight it was. So much so, that we even had a small crowd watching the proceedings.

We had a limited number of RNLI branded yellow wellies and we needed to get as many pipers wearing them. I got everyone lined up in height order at the beginning of the shoot before then assigning each one a number (1 or 2). This was done in preparation for the V formation shot where 1’s would stand on the right and 2’s stand on the left. 




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After they had put on their wellies, it was time for some warm up activities, which included marching round the grounds of Balmoral to the sound of banging drums.



Once they had warmed up and gotten into the spirit of the shoot, I then needed to get them into a V formation. This was to emphasis the yellow wellies, make sure that we could get as many of them in the shoot as possible and frame Balmoral Castle in the background.



The V formation works because your eyes naturally scan an image from left to right. There were 20 sets of branded yellow wellies in the shot. We used the pipe bands drum to form the point in the V.


After getting the V shot, I then proceeded to find some other creative angles to pair up the iconic yellow wellies and the famous Scottish landmark.




Fortunately, the wind was working in my favour. It was great fun to work with the RNLI on in Scotland for their Mayday Fundraising campaign. The pictures have so far been featured on their news centre website and Press and Journal.


The Mayday fundraising campaign runs throughout May and aims to raise £750,000 to help kit out the charity’s brave volunteer lifeboat crews. Visit to see how you can get involved.

Posted by Adam Smith.