The first official photographs of Prince George Alexander were released today. There are two photos: one with Will, Kate and George; and one with Will, Kate, George and Lupo. Glad to see Lupo not being left out. The photos were taken by Michael Middleton (Kate’s father).
They’re not great. As family photos, they’re fine; but as official first royal baby portraits, they suck. The lighting is horrible. Who takes a photo with the light behind the subject? It looks awful and causes weird shadows and distorts the subject. The photos really aren’t that great, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. The press used these photos for the front pages of their papers, but they didn’t use the photos as is, because they are dark and blurry and they suck. So what did they do? They photoshopped them, of course. In this one from the Times, they have clearly color corrected the entire image to take away all the shadows (that were caused by the awful backlighting, geez Michael), and they cleared the whole thing up so it isn’t so blurry. The Sun hasn’t done as much color correcting to the image, but there is still not as many shadows as the original picture, and the image has been fixed so it’s not so blurry. The Daily Mirror did the same thing as the Times and the Sun, but to the other image. The Daily Express went heavy on the color correction. The Daily Mail’s front page, not as much color correction but definitely sharpened the image a ton. Telegraph, color corrected and sharpened. When papers have to photoshop an official first portrait that hard, you know there is something seriously wrong.
Another problem with these photos, you can hardly see the star attraction: Prince George. These are supposed to be his first official portraits and he’s not shown off at all, he’s simply an accessory to William and Kate. This is why you hire a professional photographer who knows what he/she is doing, so that you are guaranteed a nice portrait that isn’t lighted terribly with huge shadows covering the subjects and that isn’t blurry, and that shows off the main subject and doesn’t treat him like an afterthought. And these two were the best of the bunch that were chosen to be released. Imagine what the rejects looked like. Yikes.
I honestly don’t get the choice to use non-professional photos for the first official portraits. Especially when you know the photos will be heavily criticized. I mean, all they have to do is think back to the backlash Kate got when she released her Asia pictures (which were awful as well; seriously no one in that family is a great photographer, even thought Kate seems to think she is one) to know that these non-professional pictures are going to be heavily criticized, especially since they are not great. If they were awesome pictures, no one would care that Michael Middleton took them; but since they suck, yeah it’s a big deal that he took them instead of using a professional photographer because it just seems like they wanted to include the Middletons in any way they could even at the expense of a poor George’s first portrait.
Some people are claiming these photos are “charming” and “refreshing” in the face of previous royal portraits, but I disagree. It’s not like these are great candid shots that show a loving family—which would be charming and refreshing—these are poorly executed attempts to take an official portrait. They are staged and static, just because the background is outdoors does not make the photos any less staged or static. And before anyone goes mentioning Lupo being in one shot, there have been previous official, professional royal portraits that have included animals; so Lupo’s inclusion does not make these “refreshing” or “charming”.
In the same Daily Mail article as above, there is a section at the bottom with the heading: The way they were – classy but a bit dull. It shows the first official portraits of Charles and William. I happen to love the portrait of The Queen and Charles, now that is an excellent portrait. In no way whatsoever are the pictures Michael Middleton took better than this. His don’t even come close. It’s like The Queen/Charles portrait is on the Moon and Michael’s picture of George are on Earth looking up. Nowhere near the same league. Don’t even try that Rebecca English.