Completing the Royal puzzle

May 1, 2011

As dawn broke over Westminster Abbey on Friday, myself and the other Reuters photographers were already on our way to our positions for the big day. With no donkey in sight, it already felt like we had done a days work by the time we got there.

Those of us with fixed positions on media gantries could access them from 6am which seems plenty of time for an 11 am start. But with the abbey doors opening from just after 8am and the guests starting to arrive shortly after it didn’t allow for much time for us to set up all the equipment and ensure our various editors around the world could see our pictures.

It wasn’t good for the blood pressure when we discovered the internet connection we had installed outside the abbey for myself, Kai and Toby Melville (who would shoot the key head on picture of the couple leaving as man and wife), had failed overnight and it was a frantic hour or so while replacement parts were sought and installed by our technical team. As with most assignments like this, the on day reality of the event often bears little resemblance to how it appeared in rehearsal or the day earlier.

Police officers are in slightly different positions guarding the route, the horses in the parade stop further forward than they should and TV crews appear in the background. There’s nothing any of us could do at that point but shoot whatever was in front of us and make the best of it.

This is why at large events like this Reuters uses such a large team in so many positions knowing that by the end of the day (fingers crossed) the key moments will have been captured by enough people. And everyone else will have added strong pictures from their individual positions to form a well rounded and visually compelling package that tells the story of the day.

I’m incredibly proud to say that I genuinely think we did this yesterday to a tea; from Toby’s wonderfully clean and striking picture of the couple gazing adoringly at each other as they left the abbey, Darren’s ‘must have’ pictures of that kiss on the balcony complete with the adorable bridesmaid and all points in between we produced a file of which we can all be proud.

For the organizers of the wedding and for an agency like Reuters planning a day like yesterday is like doing a big jigsaw puzzle; you start with the four corners, the key pieces, or in our case pictures, complete the border, gather the rest of the pieces together and hope they all fit together and their isn’t one missing that spoils the whole thing.

Hats off to both the Royal’s and the Reuters team who planned and covered the big day and in fact the whole week, because in both cases the jigsaws looked great.

One comment

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Toby, a cracking shot, you were very lucky to be in the right place and at the right time, and bang in the right position as well. A shot in a million.

Posted by nikonman | Report as abusive