The Queen's 90th Birthday
It seems appropriate today to reflect upon some of the wonderful opportunities that I have enjoyed over the years as a former newspaper and freelance photographer to photograph the Royal Family. In fact one of my first assignments as a junior newspaper photographer was to cover the Queen's visit to Walsall in the West Midlands, as I recall I think that more senior photographers were either off that day or were already committed to other assignments. So no pressure but the photographs had already been planned for the front page and for a large spread of pictures covering several pages inside the paper, oh and this was in the days of film, so no digital previews to reassure me during the visit.
Capturing moments is often reflected in my style of wedding photography and even then the front page picture ended up being a photograph of the Queen looking straight at me with a lovely smile, the crowd enthusiastically waving flags and cheering behind her. It was a fleeting moment, snapped in an instant, captured forever and one that I still keep in my portfolio to this day.
Access for photographers on the day of a Royal visit can vary depending upon the situation, location and of course security issues. However I have been fortunate to be assigned as the official 'Rota Pass' photographer on a number of occasions. The Royal Rota Pass system limits the number of photographers, camera crew etc, who can access a building or location to document a Royal visit otherwise there would simply be too many 'Press' representatives getting in each others way. However in return for such exclusive access a 'Rota Pass' photographer agrees to share their images with any publications who require them.
One such occasion for me happened when I was assigned by the Diocese of Manchester to cover the Royal Maundy Service at Manchester Cathedral. Just after the service the Queen and Prince Philip left the Cathedral to begin a walkabout and to meet some of the waiting crowd. What I love about this image is just how natural the moment is, captured when the Queen and Prince Philip, surrounded by officials, dignitaries and school children are clearly sharing a comment, maybe even a joke between the two of them. To date I think that this remains my favourite Royal image.
Image: Paul Kyte Photography