I’ve worked with Save The Children in Northern Ireland since I’ve been a professional photographer. My contact from Save The Children spoke with me a couple of weeks ago and asked me if I was free to visit their Botanic Avenue store for a special volunteer event at which there would be a very important guest. I wasn’t told who the VIP would be but I guessed it was going to be Princess Anne.
Fast forward to the 5th June and I arrive early at the shop to get set up. You could tell there was someone really important coming as the shop was buzzing with staff. Some were tidying up and others were talking about the mystery guest. I got all of my gear ready and went outside to wait for the mystery VIP to arrive. After speaking with one of the policemen outside I found out it was Princess Anne.
The whole street was blocked off and people were hanging around to see what was going on. I later found out I would be the only source of media at the shop as she was on a secret visit to Northern Ireland. I had to get the shots as I would be the only source of content for the local press; no pressure then!
She arrived via motorcade and headed straight into the shop. No time wasting here! Straight into hand shaking and chatting to all the staff inside. Apart from the princess and a couple of others I was one of only a couple of people moving around the shop. I had to make sure I got shots of Princess Anne and shots of the people she was there to meet. It involved a decent amount of shuffling around but I made it work.
The shop, whilst painted white inside was still dark internally. Speedlights would be the answer to this problem and if I could stragegically place them in the correct spots I would get good coverage no matter were I was. I placed two speedlights in different corners of the shop and had two speedlights (set as commanders) on top of my cameras. The speedlights on the cameras would give me enough light to illuminate my subjects in the front of the images, whilst the remote speedlights would illuminate the rear of the images meaning no dark areasin the background.
The shop that Princess Anne was visiting raised £1,000,000.00 over 10 years which was the reason for the royal visit. To celebrate the shop had a cake made and of course the ladies who volunteer there wouldn’t let Princess Anne leave without a Northern Ireland siced slice of cake! Legands.