Press Photography – 10 Tips for Shooting at 10 Downing Street
Press Photography at 10 Downing Street
Lensi Photography offer Press Photography in Birmingham and Nationally.
We have captured some of the major news events we all see on front pages of the worlds medisAs press photographers we though it may be useful to offer tips for those wanting to do more press photography, and what more iconic press photography is there than photography at one of the most famous streets in the UK. Number 10 Downing Street, the Home of the Uk Prime Minister.
Press Photography – Number 10 Downing Street
We have all seen those iconic images shot in one of the UK’s most iconic and well known streets, Lady Margaret Thatcher leaving number 10 with a tear in her eye after three consecutive terms in office.
Gordon Brown walking out of Downing Street with his family.
The Chancellor of each Parliament preparing to deliver the budget.
You may be wondering how you get to shoot at the famous number ten?
Here are ten tips for this :
1 – you must have an NUJ (National Union of Journalists) Press Card. It proves you are an official journalist, nothing else will be excepted. See the NUJ website on acquiring one of these if you do not already have one.
2 – Be prepared for an airport style search and scan of all your equipment. The street was gated in during the time that the IRA were very active; so everyone will be searched.
3 – The Press Pen is about 30 feet away from the door, a 70-200mm on a full frame camera is an ideal length. Some photographers also bring something longer, most will also have a wide angle with them too.
4 – Getting a Good Spot – the prime spot is smack bang opposite number 10. Most photographers will pile around this area, you may need to get there early to get this spot.
5 – Bring a ladder – as everyone wants the central spot, there will be a clump of photographers around this area, on varying height ladders; with those at the back being on 6ft and above sized ladders. As always be prepared to not be precious over personal space, photographers pack in tight!
6 – Wear / bring something warm – Even on a hot day the press pit is in the shade, so gets none of the natural sunlight. You will often be waiting for hours to ensure you get a good spot before your shoot begins. It’s no fun being cold when you are shooting.
7 – Be prepared – although you may have been waiting for hours, your shooting time will literally be minutes, even seconds in some cases. The Prime Minster or an official guest leaving or arriving, and not even really posing for the cameras. I recently shot the US first family the Obamas, Michelle waved as the entered and left number 10, her daughters and mother who accompanied her literally did not look at the camera. Be aware that not all guests will pose. Know who you are there to shoot and what they look like, again if that person steps out of a car that you do not expect, you want to be ready to get the shot that you need to get
8 – Commit to how you are going to shoot before hand – what do you need from the arrival? what is the money shot? Will you use flash or not? I was shooting with a 24-105 and 70-200 on one occasion, and int he seconds it took me to lift one camera from my strap and drop the other (still also attached to my harness – don’t worry) I missed a crucial wave by David Cameron and his guests. Lesson learnt, shoot with whatever you have in your hand at the time, a no perfect shot is better than non at all.
9 – Speed – most people will be shooting for agencies or publications, as soon as the main event is over, a myriad of photographers will drop to the floor or retire to ‘the wall’ with coats over their heads to see the screen and begin to file their images. If you have a 4Gee Internet dongle it works in double speed in Downing Street, so this is the best place to file your images.
10 – These are some images, copyright of Lensi Photography of The First Lady Michelle Obama’s visit to David Cameron at number 10 Downing Street. We were working for two photo agencies in delivering these images, which were filed and online within minutes. This type of press photography or event photography is not for for everyone, but it does harness you with excellent skills for other types of photography, such as speed in getting images edited, shooting in a fashion where only minimal editing is needed, and planning your shots beforehand.