Among press photographers the accolade of UK Picture Editors Guild Iconic Images Royal Photographer of the Year attracts fierce competition.
Hundreds of photographs are entered and judging the competition is tough. But this year one photographers work was a clear winner. Yui Mok @YuiMok has been a photographer for the Press Association for almost twenty years. The Press Association is the United Kingdoms national news agency. The PA also won the prestigious Shutterstock Press Photographer of the Year award with a winning set of pictures by Daniel Lawson that included a picture from the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle that was entered in the Fixation News Photographer of the Year category.
Pursuing the Royals on tour can be hard work with hundreds of hours travelling though different countries and different time zones, always with one eye on the clock so that you don’t miss a deadline.
Arthur Edwards, Royals photographer for The Sun newspaper has covered over two hundred tours and is on first name terms with the Royal family and was awarded and MBE as recognition of his dedication to photography and newspapers. A veteran of forty years on the Royal tours.
He told Press Gazette in April 2015 “More than ever they’re popular,” he says. “Princess Diana brought the interest back… At least 40 photographers and camera people would travel when she went on tour, and after she died there was a hiatus. And then of course we have Kate and William and Harry coming into their own now, and they’re very, very popular.
“But I can remember in the early days the Queen going on a state visit to Sweden and not one person covered it. And Prince Charles went to Canada and just one freelance covered it.” This, Edwards says, was in the late 1980s.
Now interest is often so great that Royal engagements are controlled by Rota. The means that only a few photographers will have access and their work is shared with others. A good ,smiling picture of one of the younger Royals can make serious money for freelances and continues making money for years ahead and that’s what drives this hunger for Royal photographs. It is believed that using a photograph of Diana would add an extra 25 percent of readers to any publication that used her picture on the front page. The worldwide interest in the British Royal family is what that drives the entire Royal photography industry.