Toronto event photographer

Royal Visit

Much of what I shoot doesn't lend itself to being in a photo gallery. Business headshots, conference photography, public relations pictures and product photography are rarely interesting in a slideshow. But some editorial assignments can produce images that work well in a slideshow.

Here are a few pictures from Queen Elizabeth's visit to Canada in 2010. These photos were shot for a wire service and were published in many newspapers and web sites around the world.

Royal visits to Canada are planned with almost military precision by the federal government and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, along with some help from provincial and local police forces.

Events on the tour's itinerary are timed to the minute although these can change slightly as each event unfolds. Details of each event are kept quiet until only a few days before they occur.

Each step a royal guest might take is planned. Except for "walkabouts", every person standing alongside the royal path is also planned.

Some indoor activities often allow access for only a handful of "pool" photographers. Outside activities are normally open to the entire press. This means that most press see only the Royals arriving and then departing, over and over again.

Some of these arrivals and departures can last upwards of 30 minutes or more if the Royals do a public walkabout. Some last less than a minute.

During arrivals and departures, photographers are generally locked in one position no matter where the royal guests might stroll. Due to security, photographers must be in their photo position from one to two hours before the royal visitors arrive.

Once the arrival has been completed, photographers either wait for the departure or they jump back on the media bus to get to the next location in time for the next arrival.

Since photographers must be in position one or two hours ahead of each royal arrival, on busy days when events are scheduled closely together, photographers will "leap-frog" the events. This means they cover every second, third or even fourth event, depending on their schedule.

On these busy days, more than one media itinerary is made available each morning and the photographer chooses one. The photographer is then placed on the corresponding media bus for the rest of the day.

With everything planned so tightly and so predictably, the challenge for photographers is to find a moment of spontaneity. The goal is to make an interesting picture of someone who is either just sitting, standing or walking. And yes, security people are often in the way.