The royal wedding of the Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was a special event in more ways than one: A biracial American woman married into the British royal family; everyone wore a lot of great hats; and a photographer miraculously managed to make a bunch of little children sit still.
Kensington Palace released three official wedding photos, including a beautiful black-and-white shot of the couple and an impressively color-coordinated portrait of the royal family. But the most remarkable is a photo, taken by photographer Alexi Lubomirski, in which Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are surrounded by their page boys and bridesmaids—no less than 10 children under the age of 10.
The vast majority of the kids are both smiling and looking at the camera; there’s nary a grimace in the bunch.
Taking a group picture is hard enough, but the problem is compounded when there are young children involved. So how do photographers manage to work their magic? Here are a few tricks of the trade.
Getty Images’ royal photographer, Chris Jackson, said in an interview with the Observer that he especially loved taking photos of the royal children:
“They are incredibly cute, [and] you come back from a morning’s work with a big smile, because they’re kids just like any other children and they’re fun to photograph.”
Jackson tries to capture spontaneous moments: In one of his favorite photos, prince George went on his tip-toes and looked into his sister princess Charlotte’s stroller. “You can’t predict those kind of things, that’s what’s so lucky about photographing the children,” he told the Observer.
He also doesn’t worry too much when kids get mischievous. On photographing George and Charlotte, Jackson told Town & Country that, “They’re incredibly cute even when they’re not doing quite what their parents are hoping they’d do.”
Anne Geddes has photographed hundreds of babies throughout her career. She gave an interview to The Independent about the best way to capture the essence of children on camera (emphasis added):
It can be hilarious depending on the age of the child. … [I]t’s very challenging to specialize in children of all ages and there are some very funny moments. It can be exhausting. There’s nothing you can do with a two year old that’s having a bad day. You have to be a psychologist when photographing little children. Over the years I have learned to deal with kids of any ages. … You have to be quick on your feet. Children of course have no respect for the fact that you’re a photographer.
A former wildlife photographer, Edward Nguyen transitioned to family photography by taking photos of his own nieces and nephews first. He had some advice in an interview with BorrowLenses Blog:
My best advice is let children be children. Do not force them into poses that they are not comfortable with. Let them laugh, run, skip, jump in the air, etc. Follow them around if you have to. Stop when they are tired. For smaller children, parents can help by interacting with their children, like running with them while holding their hands. You will get great candid shots when children are happy and carefree.