by John Baikie Published 01/10/2013
I often get asked about shooting members of the Royal Family, so following some fun stuff again this summer, I decided to write a little piece about my experiences. Being from Caithness, I've had loads of opportunity to photograph the royals and in particular Prince Charles, or the Duke of Rothesay as he is known north of the border. The Queen Mother always spent lots of time at her home in the north, the Castle of Mey, and after she passed away, her grandson kept the royal connection going, and spends some time at the castle every summer. During his time he usually undertakes some public engagements, such as visiting local businesses and the like.
There's two ways I've had access to these. Either as a press photographer or more often as the 'host' photographer, booked by the business or organisation hosting the visit. These two may seem quite similar but the pressures are different. With the press side you are looking to capture the event, but look for the one big picture which will make the news. As a host photographer the requirement is to document the event for them, and this means trying to capture all the guests as they meet and chat with the royal visitor. This is such a difficult way to work, as you can't get too close, and the people are generally set up in the most awkward way possible and tightly packed. Having done so many of these I have ninjalike skills developed and can foresee how things are going to go, as they happen. I've been at a few events where the hosts have had an amateur photographer doing their part, and I almost always get a call or email afterwards asking if I managed to get some of the stuff their guy missed. In some ways these events are like shooting a wedding and need to be tackled by experienced professionals. Like weddings they are events that only happen once and cannot be recreated afterwards. Most of these people will never attend such occasions again in their lifetime and it's important to have a photographic record of it.
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