Royal photographer reflects on his most regal subject

June 2, 2012 | By Chris Jackson | News

Over the years of photographing Queen Elizabeth II, I have grown to have massive respect for someone who is the personification of professionalism, selflessness and duty. Unfortunately this devotion to her ‘job’ means that things rarely deviate from the script, and the opportunity to capture an ‘unguarded’ or ‘spontaneous’ shot of the monarch is tricky for a photographer. However, it is the anticipation of the possibility of a really great image that motivates a royal photographer to keep trying to capture that iconic image.


Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales laugh as they watch the tug-of-war during the Braemar Highland Games at The Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park on September 4, 2010 in Braemar, Scotland. The Braemar Gathering is the most famous of the Highland Games and is known worldwide. Each year thousands of visitors descend on this small Scottish village on the first Saturday in September to watch one of the more colourful Scottish traditions. The Gathering has a long history and in its modern form it stretches back nearly 200 years. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)




HM Queen Elizabeth II leaves the Venue Cymru Arena after a visit on April 27, 2010 in Llandudno, Wales. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are on a two day visit to North Wales. (Photo by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Photographing the Queen is always an exciting experience. Wherever you are in the world from a hospital opening in Sutton to a posed shot at the White House with the President she is quite simply the most famous person in the world. If the light falls in the right way you have a chance to produce an enduring image of an iconic figure that could live on indefinitely — and for a photographer, that’s incredibly exciting.



Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she visits Cyfarthfa High School and Castle on April 26, 2012 in Merthyr, Wales. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are on a two day visit to Wales as part of their Diamond Jubilee tour of the country. (Photo by Chris Jackson WPA - Pool/Getty Images)



Queen Elizabeth II leaves the Royal Maundy Day Service at Westminster Abbey on April 21, 2011 in London, England. Today is Queen Elizabeth II's 85th Birthday. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she visits Palm Paper on February 2, 2011 in Norwich, England. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are visiting sites today, which include the Palm Paper mill and West Norfolk Deaf Association in King's Lynn. (Photo by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)




Queen Elizabeth II laughs in the Royal Box as she attends the Queen's Cup final at Guards Polo Club on June 14, 2009 in Egham, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Editor’s note: Chris Jackson is a Getty Images photographer and frequent contributor to the Getty Images blog. These are some of his favorite ‘unscripted’ images of Queen Elizabeth II, from his nine years covering the Royal Family. His favorite moment? Prince Harry’s recent race against Usain Bolt during his Jubilee tour in Jamaica. Follow him on Twitter: @ChrisJack_Getty.

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  • Lindsay Wakelin

    What a wonderful selection of images, I especially like the first one looks very natural.