Royal wedding photographers: Behind the scenes

May 3, 2011


Royal wedding photographers raced to Wi-Fi hotspots on Friday fearing that 3G wireless technology would fail during the huge celebrations in central London.

It is estimated that around 800 professional photographers documented the big day and many were leaving nothing to chance.

Some camped out overnight in tents while others arrived as early as 4.00am.

Express Newspapers photographer Paul Stewart (pictured below) told Amateur Photographer that he normally uses a 3G dongle to transmit images from laptop to picture desk.

Paul Stewart

But, fearing interference would render 3G wireless technology useless, his bosses commandeered a Wi-Fi-equipped room above a pub close to Westminster Abbey for the group?s nine photographers.

Stewart said many photographers were also using Eye-Fi memory cards to transfer their shots.

Press photographers also took advantage of Wi-Fi facilities provided by Nikon and Canon.

Speaking beforehand, a spokesman for Getty Images, which had around 30 photographers in central London for the event, told Canon: ?We have wireless setups, but we?re anticipating that they won?t work because of all the interference that we?ll get on the day.?

Nikon UK?s service depot was situated at the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre ? a stone?s throw from Westminster Abbey.

?Quite a few agencies are using us as a back-up for if their 3G network fails – which it already has done,? said Nikon UK?s James Banfield, speaking just hours before the wedding service.

Nikon depot

Nikon, which also offered photographers a complementary check and clean of their camera gear, had already serviced more than 230 pieces of kit in the 24 hours before the royal nuptials.

?We?ve had lots of 600mm requests, lots of teleconverters, 500mm, 200-400mm ? everything long you can ever imagine, especially for the ?balcony kiss?.

‘Even some of the old 1000mm mirror lenses have been dug out of retirement??

Photographers began flooding into the depot during the afternoon.

?It got very busy, mainly once the action was over and the photographers came in to wire their images and get their cameras cleaned,? added Nikon UK spokeswoman Jenny Grace.

Nikon depot

Staff at Canon UK were also primed to offer image sensor cleaning, minor camera repairs and technical advice.

Canon?s service centre was not so close to the action, located at the Jacobs store in New Oxford Street – over a mile away from Westminster Abbey.

Paul Stewart, who used a pair of Nikon D3S DSLRs for the big day, explained how photographers had positioned ?sound-proofed? cameras inside Westminster Abbey to take pictures remotely without the shutter release disturbing the 2,000 wedding guests.

Getty?s spokesman added: ?Some photographers will be keeping the trigger down for the best part of an hour constantly when they [the wedding guests] start coming out of the church??

Nikon depotNikon’s service depot after the wedding

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