Photographer Reveals Story Behind the Official Royal Wedding Portraits


By Daniel Gates


The official wedding portraits of Kate Middleton and Prince William (the newly minted Duchess and Duke of Cambridge) were impressive, and now the photographer who took them has revealed how he did it.

Hugo Burnand shot the official pictures at Buckingham Palace on the day of the nuptials and tells WWD about the intense preparation required to get the perfect photos as quickly as possible. The three photographs were shot in the palace’s Throne Room just after the ceremony, and just before the newlyweds kissed on the balcony.

According to Burnand, the mood of the photos was intended to be “effortless, calm and beautiful.” But to create the calm, Burnand and his team had every loose end tied ahead of time. “We had spares of everything – cables, lights, cameras, lenses – and spares for the spares,” he tells the site.

“Before the day, we staged dress rehearsals with stand-ins and stop-watches. We knew that if everyone had sprinted back from Westminster Abbey, we would only have had 44 minutes to shoot. In the end, we did everything in 26 minutes,” Burnand reveals. Sarah Burton, the designer behind Middleton’s wedding gown, was on hand to help make sure Burnand’s staff of 7 had everything set up perfectly.

The lighting was especially important to everyone involved. “We wanted the room to look like it was flooded with sunlight from a spring morning, filled with glorious light,” explains Burnand. “And we knew we couldn’t count on the weather, so we created it with the flip of a switch.”

Which of the shots is Burnand’s personal favorite? The one with the couple’s children attendants. “It was the last one we took – and you can imagine everyone anxiously looking at their watches. I promised the kids jellybeans and wiggle worms, and it worked out,” he says.

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