He’s snapped everyone from Blake Lively to Beyonce, but photographer Alexi Lubomirski has admitted he still thought he was being pranked when he got the call about a certain royal engagement shoot.
The 43-year-old fashion and celebrity photographer is the man responsible for the now famous images of Prince Harry and his bride-to-be Meghan looking head over heels in love following the announcement of their wedding plans.
‘Harry and Meghan’s engagement had been on the TV all day,’ says Alexi of the day he was offered the job. ‘So when someone at the end of the line said it was Kensington Palace I thought my mate was pranking me – I almost unleashed some pretty unsavoury language.’
On the day itself, Alexi recalls ‘practically screaming’ at the lovebirds to hold the ‘perfect’ frame, after asking Prince Harry to wrap his bride-to-be up in his coat on the winter’s day at Frogmore House – which would later serve as their wedding reception venue.
Alexi, who is father to sons Sole Luca, eight, and Leone, five, said: ‘It was a really cold day and I asked Harry to wrap Meghan into his jacket. I told Meghan to turn around and face Harry and to snuggle up with him and they looked so genuinely happy… I started shouting “That’s great! That’s amazing!” – I was practically screaming.’
The photographer joked that it might not have been the ‘most appropriate’ way to treat royalty, but said the couple started giggling and ‘they became totally caught up in the moment, which made such a perfect photo’.
Now Alexi, who is supporting Amnesty International’s #FamiliesTogether campaign, has shared his top tips for capturing a perfect photo of your own.
Alexi recalls asking Prince Harry to ‘wrap Meghan into his jacket’, before ‘practically screaming’ at the lovebirds to hold the frame as ‘they looked so genuinely happy’
The photographer, seen with his wife Giada at the royal wedding at Windsor Castle on May 19th, also took the formal photos of the royal family on the big day itself
Five ways to nail the perfect family photo – by royal wedding photographer Alexi Lubomirski
KEEP IT REAL
‘When you’re taking a family photo it can be easy to lose sight of why you’re taking it – for memories. Have fun, try not to worry about the kids wreaking havoc or pulling faces. You’ll probably look back and love that picture all the more for any ‘flaws’ you find.
BE SNAP HAPPY
‘If you’re taking pictures of a moment, just keep pressing that button. Take 50 and review them later – there will probably be a gem in there – maybe someone hysterically laughing or maybe a really natural, happy smile.’
WALK THE WALK
‘I’ll often try to get my kids to run towards the camera and I’ll walk backwards taking the photo. With children it makes them laugh and with adults it takes their mind off the photo being taken.
‘It switches one side of the brain off and immediately helps a camera-shy person feel less awkward.’
AND TALK THE TALK
‘When I’m taking photos I don’t shut up – there’s nothing worse than waiting for your photo be taken while a photographer stands there silently.
‘You need to encourage people and sometimes direct them. Praise them if the pictures looking great. This will boost their confidence and also make sure you frame the perfect shot.’
LEARN TO USE LIGHTING
‘If the light’s directly above you, you’ll look awful – no matter if you’re a model or not.
‘Pictures will generally look better in the late afternoon as the light is lower.
‘And if you can take a shot under a tree, even better – here you get open shade light which is beautiful, soft and bounces nicely off people’s faces.
‘You also get some interesting background environment in there too.’
When he’s not on-duty, Alexi said his favourite people to photograph are his wife, Giada, who accompanied him to the royal wedding on May 19th, and his two young sons.
‘Photographs of my family are incredibly important to me – they’re littered across my house and instantly connect me to a moment of happiness,’ said the photographer, who also took the formal family portraits on Meghan and Harry’s big day.
‘Many people would choose their phone if they had to save one thing if their home was burning down, but I think I’d struggle not to take photos.’
Royal wedding photographer Alexi Lubomirski says his favourite subjects are his two sons; Sole Luca, eight, and Leone, five. He shared this cherished snap taken by his assistant for Amnesty International’s #FamiliesTogether campaign, which is working towards compiling the UK’s Biggest Family Photo Album to highlight the plight of refugee families that have been torn apart
The celebrity and fashion photographer was chosen by the now Duke and Duchess of Sussex to take their engagement photos at Frogmore House, which would later serve as their wedding reception venue
Royal wedding photographer Alexi said Harry and Meghan were an easy couple to shoot, because they were ‘so obviously in love’
His passion for family snaps is why Amnesty’s campaign has chimed with him so much, Alexi said.
The campaign is calling for UK rules to be eased, helping refugees who have lost their homes and been separated from their families be reunited.
The charity is compiling The UK’s Biggest Photo Album – billed as a celebration of family life today in all its glory – which will be presented to the Home Secretary Sajid Javid as a call to help refugee families that have been torn apart.
Alexi shared his own precious photo for the album – a candid shot that his assistant took in his studio. ‘I love this picture because it shows my two passions – family and photography. I was showing the kids my new camera and how it works – the photo is a simple one, just us playing together. My dream is that my boys become my assistants when they get a bit older. You get to travel a lot in my line of work, but quite often you don’t have the closest people in your life to share it with.’
To submit a photograph to the UK’s Biggest Family Photo Album, or find out more about the campaign, visit www.amnesty.org.uk/family
Alexi Lubomirski also took the formal wedding portraits on the big day itself, and attended the ceremony at St George’s Chapel with his wife, Giada