Princess Eugenie's wedding photographer discusses 'disarming' one reluctant royal – exclusive

Sandra von Riekhoff was warned one royal didn't like photos!

Royal weddings are some of the most photographed events, with many iconic snaps going down in history, so can you imagine the pressure that comes with being responsible for these memorable moments?

SEE: Best photos from Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank's royal wedding

Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank's wedding photographer Sanda von Riekhoff from Divine Day Photography, who captured a gorgeous shot of the royal in her wedding car, opened up about to HELLO! about the behind-the-scenes challenges – which included one member of the royal family who didn't want their photo taken.

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While discussing how to handle reluctant wedding guests who don't like to be pictured, Sandra revealed this was the case for Eugenie's big day and open up about how she "disarmed" one member of the royal family. "Everyone hates their picture being taken! I think you have to build trust. I did a particularly high profile wedding where there were loads of NDAs that I had to fill out," she said, referring to the royal wedding, "and one particular person who was very key did not like photos. 

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"I was warned in advance that he was definitely not going to want his photo taken, so it was up to me to disarm him with a bit of chat. So having a photographer that's really likeable, and easy with people is great for that kind of thing." 

Sanda von Riekhoff took this stunning photo of the royal bride

Sandra's NDAs meant she couldn't go into detail, but we can't help but wonder if the mystery "key" royal was Eugenie's father Prince Andrew, or perhaps her late grandfather Prince Philip. "The rule is you don't talk about it afterwards," she joked, adding: "You have to keep your mouth shut!" 

Sandra continued: "With any wedding, it's just important to stay human," and she clearly did a wonderful job since Princess Eugenie personally thanked her after her nuptials.

The photographer said: "Princess Eugenie sent me the most beautiful note afterwards. The compliment was that I had a way with people and that I could match energy. I think no matter what kind of a wedding it is, you're a stranger coming into a family's personal environment. And having a photographer who can approach it in a way that is light and sensitive, and to bring the humour but also just know your timing - knowing when to talk, when not to talk - it all comes down to having someone who's a sensitive person."


Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank got married at St George's Chapel in 2018

Her top tips for getting fabulous photos of people who aren't comfortable in front of the camera? Hecklers.

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"If you need to do group portraits and you're finding them feeling a little stiff, get someone who's funny to heckle them. They have their beer or their martini in their hand and they blurt out all kinds of [expletive] that make them laugh. I mean, that goes for the family photos, too. Always have a heckler when you're afraid that the pictures might feel too stiff," she said. We doubt that was the secret behind the royal family's picture-perfect wedding group shots, but it's certainly worth a try!

For those who want to recreate royal-worthy wedding photos that have that wow factor, Sandra added that planning is key. "I guess it depends on what the couple feel is 'wow' - is it a really grand staircase? Or is it maybe something to do with a very long bridal train? 


Sandra revealed there was one royal who didn't like having his photo taken

"I guess the best thing that you can do to get your photographer to give you the images that you love, is to show them the images that you love and then talk with your photographer about how you're going to get there. Because otherwise, it won't happen necessarily. I think a bit of strategy beforehand goes a long way," she said.

Eugenie and Jack tied the knot on Friday 12 October 2018 in a star-studded ceremony at St George's Chapel, before the couple's closest family and friends returned to Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson's home, Royal Lodge in Windsor, for the evening reception.

The royal bride's arrival was one of the biggest moments of the wedding – and she looked stunning in a white dress designed by Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos, which featured a low back to show off her scoliosis surgery scar.

Sharing a throwback snap to mark the couple's wedding anniversary in 2021, which showed the bride travelling to Windsor Castle, Sandra told her Instagram followers: "One of my favourites of HRH Princess Eugenie on her way to make it official. What an honour. Three years ago today gorgeous one…Happy Anniversary to you both!"

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