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Royal Photographer Reminisces About Big Day

The shoot at Buckingham Palace went smoothly — thanks to preparation, prayers and bags of jellybeans.

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LONDON — Hugo Burnand, the London photographer who shot the official royal wedding photos at Buckingham Palace on Friday, said the shoot went smoothly thanks to preparation, prayers, and bags of jellybeans.

“We had spares of everything — cables, lights, cameras, lenses — and spares for the spares,” said Burnand, a portrait photographer who also shoots regularly for Tatler magazine. “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,” he said.

Burnand worked with a total of 7 staff, while Sarah Burton, the creative director of Alexander McQueen who designed the wedding dress, was on hand to make sure it was arranged perfectly.

Those photographs, shot in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace, feature the couple with their families and with their bridesmaids and pages. They were shot just after the ceremony, and before the newly-minted Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had their kiss on the palace balcony.

Burnand told WWD that everything had been managed — with much help from the bride — months in advance, and the mood of the photos was meant to be “effortless, calm and beautiful.”

“There were a lot of preliminary meetings and walk-throughs of the Throne Room. Catherine loves photography and is very interested in it. Just how light we wanted the family picture to be became a project for us. We wanted the room to look like it was flooded with sunlight from a spring morning, filled with glorious light. And we knew we couldn’t count on the weather, so we created it with the flip of a switch.”

Burnand, a father himself, said his favorite of the three photos that were released is the one with the children larking around. “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 said.

Although time was tight, Burnand said the mood among his staff was “buzzy and excited,” while the families of the bride and groom were glowing. “It was such a lovely moment — a real family wedding — and everyone adores both of them. That feeling spread through the room like wildfire.”

The photographer is no stranger to the royal family. He shot Prince Charles’ 60th birthday portrait, as well as the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles. Burnand said he had met the bride and groom a few times before at Tatler events and private ones.

Burnand said that while he was under pressure in the run-up to Friday — he went to his local church and said prayers to center himself — he refused to let the importance of the event get to him. “I kept remembering that it was about two people and their day, something very personal. I really enjoyed it, and every single prayer of mine was answered.”

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