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I'm a royal photographer and this is what Princess Kate should have done to her edited photo

Ben Stansall works for one of the photo agencies that 'killed' the royal Mother's Day portrait

Princess Kate looking serious in green suit
Ainhoa Barcelona
Content Managing Editor
March 18, 2024
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Here's an extract from today's post looking at royal photographers' differing perspectives on Princess Kate's much talked about, edited Mother's Day photo.

Kate shared a photo of herself with her three children on Sunday, to mark Mother's Day in the UK © Kensington Palace
Some of the edits that were made to Princess Kate's original photo

One of the photographers who I spoke to was Ben Stansall, who works at AFP, one of the first international agencies who issued a "kill notice" on the royal portrait. 

Ben, by the way, has covered Prince William and Kate's 'crazy' 2010 engagement photoshoot, the births of Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and more recently, the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

"There are a few different areas of the image which look like they've been doctored," Ben told me. "The zip on Kate's top, Charlotte's sleeve, Charlotte's hair. Things have clearly been added or removed from the image.

"So the Princess' photo goes beyond what we call 'dark room' techniques, which are brightening up or dulling down the image a little, if needed. But really, that is all that would happen. 

"Adding or removing something to or from an image is a real no-go area, because that essentially is deceiving the client. We have a fact-checking service at AFP, which verifies all the content we provide to verify its authenticity.

"If the Princess was using this photo for her social media or personal use, then that's fine. But if you're giving it to the global media who have ethical responsibilities to their clients, then really, you should respect those."

George Charlotte and Louis ride in a carriage at Trooping the Colour 2022© Getty
Should Princess Kate have released a photo of just her children?

So what should the Princess have done? Ben shared his suggestion for how Kate could have avoided this photo-editing scandal.

"I guess the purpose of this image was to quell any rumours about the Princess's health, but in doctoring an image and giving it to the world's media, I think all they've done is increase the uncertainty and added to the rumour mill. They've certainly not helped their situation," Ben said. 

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"I suppose you either do it authentically or you just don't do it at all. If they felt the need to put out a picture, then they should have released one that was authentic, whether that included the Princess in the image or not.

"Just as easily, she could have taken a picture of the children and said, 'Hi everyone, I'm feeling better. I'm up and about playing with my camera. Here's a picture of the kids.' That perhaps, would have been a better idea. But again, we don't know whether this was her decision entirely or whether it was suggested. So it's really impossible to say, isn't it?"

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Princess Kate wearing black and white polka dots and a hat

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