For all new parents, it can be an extremely special moment when a photographer takes the first portrait photographs of the new addition. There is, however, an added pressure when the image is to be circulated around the world, to the picture desks of all major publications. This is the reality that faces The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they search for a photographer to take Prince George’s first official photographs. To avoid the media madness of another Lindo Wing-style press pen, Kensington Palace have opted for a softer approach to these first photographs. In the past, photocalls may have been arranged, but with this birth, the responsibility lies with one person and their camera.
Whilst the average family searches for a photographer who offers low price photo shoots, this special couple are left to scour the country, looking for a photographer with a strong reputation, and good with secrets!
William and Catherine are no strangers to the flashbulbs of cameras, nor are they strangers to the personal photoshoots that follow big royal announcements. Following the announcement of their engagement back in November 2010, celebrity photographer Mario Testino was given the task of taking the first official images of the couple. His simple yet effective images were beamed around the world, as preparations were made for the royal wedding that was to follow. Testino was no stranger to snapping Royals, having already taken images of The Prince of Wales, and of the late Diana, Princess of Wales. Having taken the engagement photos, it seems unlikely that Mario will be called back so soon for this latest major event.
Following a wedding, photographic memories are the things you really treasure to remember your special day. This is just the same following a Royal Wedding. In April 2011, when The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge married, Hugo Burnand was commissioned to take the more personal family shots. Though taken in a relatively formal manner, Burnand managed to capture the pleasure of everyone, from The Queen, to the small bridesmaids sitting with the happy couple. Like Mario Testino, this wasn’t Burnand’s first encounter with royal photography, having taken the official wedding photographs of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, in 2005, and also having photographed Princess Alexandra. Will he be selected for this latest job? Possibly, but I’m not too certain.
Reliable sources seem to believe that it is highly unlikely the couple will select a photographer that has already photographed them for official images. If they were right, it would throw Testino and Burnand straight out of the frame (please pardon the pun!). Who does that leave then? Well, there are many talented photographers who may be selected. It will almost certainly be a photographer whose lenses have focused on the faces of some of the world’s most famous figures. We’re unlikely to see a young person take the role. We’re equally unlikely to see a press photographer take the images, as this would only anger those who felt that there should have been a press call.
My money goes on a photographer who was selected last year for a pretty major commission. John Swannell was chosen in 2012 to take the official images of HM The Queen to mark the Diamond Jubilee. Swannell had already photographed The Queen in the past, as well as the late Queen Mother and The Prince of Wales. It was also he who took the famous image of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, in front of a simple white backdrop with her two sons by her side. Could we see him take a similar image of this new royal trio? We must now wait and see.
Images are due to be released as The Duke of Cambridge concludes his two week paternity leave, meaning we can expect to see them very soon!