HRH Duke of Edinburgh
I had a commission from Buckingham Palace in December to photograph the Duke of Edinburgh and his staff. This was a group of 43 (or 44, but that’s another story). I have photographed the Duke of Edinburgh on three other occasions, but never a formal group like this. I knew that time would be short and I needed to be well prepared and flexible. I also had to ensure the lighting was going to function properly first time. In this sort of scenario, most photographers would reach for their Elinchrom Rangers or Profoto B1/B2s, but I have been so impressed with my Yongnuo speed-lights (combined with big softbox umbrellas) that I left my Elinchroms back at my studio. The Yongnuos (560 III) have never let me down yet, and with fully charged batteries I was confident. (I did have redundancy ready to go; should something fail, but all was good!)
Getting the group seated or standing in the right places, 5 minutes before the Duke arrived was tricky, but they are a disciplined lot, and when the Duke arrived, everyone sprang to their duty. I was told I would have 3 presses of the shutter to make sure I got everyone with their eyes open, and sure enough; after the third exposure, the Duke rose and that was the end.
It is always difficult using “only” flash to light a group, while keeping the “feeling” of light from the chandelier – so countering the power of the flash to mix with the room ambient was key. I also had to “kill” any harsh shadow, so I had 3 umbrellas – 2 to the side, and one above me angled at the ceiling to help the fill for the centre of the group.