UK & World News

  • 24 July 2013, 6:12

Three-Week Wait, Then Snappers Get 'The Shot'

For the past few weeks, photographers have been jealously guarding their spots in front of the Lindo Wing, waiting for the Duke and Duchess to leave with their baby in tow.

Sky's Jason Farrell spent a day with the assembled snappers as they prepared to get the crucial shot.

More than 100 stepladders crack, squeak and scrape as men with super-size cameras climb into place to get "the shot".

A woman tries to push in from the back between the metal stilts with her iPhone poised for an amateur snap.

"Woah! Madam, please, this is a press area," one snapper says. If one ladder were to go, they'd topple like dominoes.

A Royal press man says: "Five more minutes, maybe a bit longer."

"No problem," replies a snapper. "We've been here three weeks."

The ladders have been stacking up since July 1 as photographers negotiated their position. From the two-steps at the front to the 10-step-highs at the back they have created a theatre of ladders and lenses.

Their stage is the doorstep of the Lindo Wing at St Mary's hospital. The event - a new arrival to the portfolio of Royal celebrity.

Perched on top of one ladder is Getty Images Royal Photographer Chris Jackson.

"I'm up high because its the best chance of getting the baby's face." He said: "With William he was all bundled up and no one got it."

Mr Jackson spots my copy of the Metro and points out the picture of Kate on the front page is one of his, but thoughts turn to the shot he's waiting to take.

"This is such a significant moment because on those steps, for the first time, we're going to see the next generation of the Royal Family and our future king."

Two places in front of him, under a cap, is veteran Royal photographer Arthur Edwards. He's been taking pictures of the Royals from the days when Prince Charles was still looking for a bride.

Back then it was well known that his job was to find out who Charles would marry. Indeed, when the Prince tied to knot with Diana he sent a telegram to Mr Edwards asking him if he was now redundant.

"I just want them to look my way and to get a picture of all three of them, especially the baby's face," he says.

"We want to know what he looks like. And I hope everyone shows respect and the pack doesn't start shouting. If they do, William will just leave."

He tells me that in his entire career he has never seen one story create the size of interest demonstrated by the 150-metre-long press pen holding media from across the globe.

"It's partly down to Kate. She's thrown herself into the job. Her wedding was seen by billions around the world. They're such a handsome couple."

He added: "Then we had the jubilee and the Olympics. People who maybe weren't decided about the Royals changed their mind when the Queen did what she did at the Olympic opening ceremony. You know, she played along with the joke."

Royal Photographer Mark Stuart says he's here for the occasion: "This isn't going to be a financially rewarding shot because there will be 100 photographers with the same picture.

"You might get 180 for a front page. But it is an historic moment and you have to be here."

When the couple finally step out, proud parents and child creeping into the light, crowds cheer and shutters burst into action like the flutter of a swarm of insects passing through the street.

The pictures reach the world almost instantly. There's no need to even download them onto a laptop these days; a4G device on the side of the cameras can send the images automatically to a press desk and in less than a minute they can be digitally fired around the world.

Where will they end up? "On the front page of lots of magazines and newspapers hopefully," says Mr Jackson.

For Mr Edwards its always the front page of The Sun: "I got a lovely one of the couple looking into each others eyes," he says.

The weeks of waiting has been rewarded with about a minute of Royal face time - and yes even the baby's face was visible, just.

Then it's back inside into a car seat and he's gone.

But his image is already being replicated millions of times around the world, and those stepladders and those fluttering insects will never be far away for the rest of his life.