Frame of Thrones: How To Photograph Royalty
With Game of Thrones officially coming to an end this week and the recent media blitz over a new House of Windsor prince, royalty is really having a moment right now.
This had us wondering—if given the opportunity, how would one go about photographing royalty, anyway?
Turns out, there are set rules for covering the British royal family at public events, and surprisingly, they're not as restrictive as you'd think. It's mainly common-sense guidelines that should be followed no matter what you're photographing, whether it's royalty or humble commoners. These rules are just as useful at a wedding, bar mitzvah or public speaking event.
Obviously, the hard part is gaining access at these events, as security is of paramount importance when it comes to accessing any head of state, symbolic or otherwise. But once you get a press pass and the green light, here are the guidelines to follow.
Keep a Low Profile
This is a no-brainer, but if it's worth being listed as a rule, it's probably because people have broken it in the past. Photographers must not insert themselves, distract from the event or serve as an obstruction in any way. If you're going to be allowed to take photos, you have to be stealthy and inconspicuous.
Instead of treating it like a portrait session in your studio, think of it more along the lines of street photography—if you do your job well, no one should give your presence a second thought.
This goes hand-in-hand with the first rule, as it speaks to knowing when to pick your moments. You should restrict your photo-making to the beginning and end of a function, and avoid disturbing guests during the actual event. A little planning goes a long way here—you should get to know the layout and schedule ahead of time so you can maximize your shot opportunities.
While "God Save the Queen" is being played, for example, you are not allowed to move around, so if you're going to take photographs during this time, you should be in position well before the anthem starts.
Respect Private Moments
Even though you've gained precious access to royalty, there are still a few no-nos when it comes to photographing them. First off, you shouldn't take photos while they're eating. You can snap away during toasts or before the food is served, but never while they're chowing down. As much as Queen Elizabeth digging into some messy barbecue ribs would make for a great image, capturing undignified moments like that is definitely frowned upon.
Second, under most circumstances, photography of members of the royal family is not permitted in church or while they're at prayer. Showing respect of these private moments is expected.
So there you have it, by following these simple rules, you should be able to fit right in at any royal event. Just keep in mind that rules are subject to change depending on who's sitting on the throne—what's good for House Windsor might not fly for House Stark or House Targaryen.