Final preparations for the big day

April 28, 2011

The guest list was finalized weeks ago and the invitations sent out. For the lucky ones their presence was requested, nobody refused.

There was no fancily decorated envelope from the lord chancellors office landing on our doormat, but an email from the UK chief photographer asking you to be part of the Reuters team to shoot William and Kate’s wedding is an invitation you don’t turn down.

It’s like any other wedding in many respects; you worry about what to wear. How do you keep dry and warm whilst dressing for a wedding? Not as easy task.

And then it comes to where will you sit and who will you sit with; please not annoying Aunty Betty and Uncle Jim, well in this case which position will I get and what will I see?

For myself I was not disappointed, there was no Aunty Betty to worry about, I was given a prime position near the abbey and would be sharing it with my good friend and Reuters Frankfurt photographer Kai Pfaffenbach.

The Reuters team is 15 strong and made up of some of the best and visually creative photographers this side of the Atlantic. Photographers from the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, France and Israel have all been brought together to add their own perspective on a truly British affair.

There are a lot of things that us Brits don’t get right (food, wine, fashion) but in the field of pageantry and ceremony we are undoubtedly world leaders. Having the luxury of this being photographed by foreign photographers who have a quirky eye and are not as overexposed to it as us Brits definitely gives Reuters an edge.

Myself and Kai will be in a great spot to see the happy couple shortly after they leave the abbey but instead of wondering what to wear (anyone who knows Kai knows this is never a problem), what to shoot with is a far greater question.

Over the last few days and very early mornings we have both walked every cobbled inch of the area in which we will shoot, dodging tents, union flags and sleeping bags in the process. Sowly a plan was formulated. We are both opposite ends of a long platform with over 75 other snappers and with slightly different angles should (fingers crossed) offer a well rounded picture of events.

The plan however (as thorough as it is) involves some serious kit. Between us we will carry 10 cameras and a vast array of glass from 800 and 600mm lenses down to a 15mm fish eye and an even wider lens on a Go-Pro action camera. Conservatively this is 50kg (110 pounds) of kit each.

Many of these will be fired remotely using pocket wizard wireless triggers and will shoot using wider lenses to give an overview of the pomp and ceremony as the day goes on freeing us to concentrate on the more important tighter pictures of the happy couple, ‘that dress’ and, fingers crossed even a little kiss.

And finally, like every wedding I have ever covered/attended the biggest question of all; will it rain? Well we are in Britain, home of the downpour so chances are it will. Believe me with all this expensive kit, laptops and electricity this is far more of a problem for myself and Kai than it will be for Kate and Wills!

Fingers crossed it goes well for all of us and if anyone has a spare donkey we can borrow at 5am tomorrow to carry this kit please let me know – I’ll provide the carrots.


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Great post Phil. I can’t wait the resulting images and the story about how the others make it through the day.
Fingers crossed!

Posted by volgyiattila | Report as abusive

If Phil Noble is covering then it’s guaranteed to rain.

Posted by Timshoots | Report as abusive

and I thought my 70-200 2.8 I was heavy… after seeing this I’m never complaining again.

Posted by geoffyen | Report as abusive

Wow…Much much MUCH respect fot ur work guys..!!

Posted by yvonne1941 | Report as abusive

“For the lucky ones their presence was requested, nobody refused.”
What about Snoop Dogg?!?

Posted by Pacala | Report as abusive

I like the pictures before the big event. Giving the lead in story.

Posted by msmart890 | Report as abusive

Very nice job folks! Cheers from Brazil.

Posted by WagnerMeier | Report as abusive

Great bit of kit guys. I’m curious to know what that tiny little miny-cam with the suction cup is for?

Posted by LukePeterson | Report as abusive

very cool article, and interesting to see the kit you used, as a link back I also included this article in my blog

Posted by wob86 | Report as abusive

Why the Nikon mono ?

Posted by nikonman | Report as abusive

in what place is that? I would love to go there ,.. nice job very clear pictures and gives new dimension to the viewers eyes…

Posted by dianne006 | Report as abusive