First Official Royal Baby Photos Released, Taken by the Duchess’ Father


Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge, often referred to these days as Royal Baby George, had his first photo shoot recently. But if you expected the future British king to get his pick of professional photographers when it comes to his first official family portraits, you’d be wrong.

The photos — which have been called everything from “intimate” and “cozy” to “not really what you want” and “just bad” — were actually taken by the Duchess of Cambridge’s father, Michael Middleton.

There are two photos in all (you can find high-resolution versions here), taken at the Middleton home in Bucklebury earlier this month. Both show the Duchess and Prince William posing with little George, with their dog Lupo making an appearance in the second:


They are indeed intimate, cozy family snaps, but as vice chairman of the British Press Photographers Association Eddie Mulholland told The Telegraph, “in terms of the quality, they are not really what you want for such a historic picture.”

Without a fill flash to help grandpa Middleton out, the backlighting leaves something to be desired. But while some — like The Mirror’s royal photographer Kent Gavin — offered friendly advice, others were more critical.

“It’s not a very good effort,” Arizona-based photographer Christopher Barr told CNN, “It’s a particularly poor effort given that he’s taking pictures of such an important thing at such an important time.” He also added that “even somebody with a modicum of Photoshop knowledge could improve these pictures immeasurably.”

What’s your take on the photos? Commenters on CNN tended to be a bit kinder about the images than the professionals who weighed in above, congratulating “grandpa” and saying they actually prefer the “family snap” to a professional portrait. Let us know what you think in the comments.

Image credits: Photographs by Michael Middleton

Thanks for sending in the tip, Sam!

  • David A. Smith

    Personally, I don’t see the big deal people are making out of this. It’s a family photo shot by a grandfather. At least it looks real.

  • Daz

    I really dont understand why people care and call it a historic moment? a family picture historic what the hell.

  • Anne Marie Laney

    i think it’s great.. they are proud just like any other parents would be.. who cares what it looks like.

  • pgb0517

    I’ve seen worse. And it helps bring the royals down to a more human level, which might have been the intent, although we don’t know that.

  • Uncle G

    My thoughts as well @ David Smith. It is a family photo taken by family. I am sure that a royal photographer will get their chance at the new royal for a more professional look. Think they are all peod because it was an amatuer shot instead of them getting to take it. :-)

  • Ian

    It’s got nothing to do with the pictures. This is a Royal PR stunt to make us believe they are an ordinary family,patently,they are not.

  • bayek

    I think people should relax about the quality here. They are family photos and I am sure for the Duchess and Prince William they are worth much more just because they were taken by Michael Middleton. Also, as Terry O’Neill mentioned this morning on the BBC News, the official professional portrait session is already scheduled. Not with Terry :)

  • SiriusPhotog

    It’s priceless. Now the paparazzi scum will not be able to say they got the “first” shot of the new baby. That’s probably why they did this. I’m sure there will be plenty of “professional” images taken as well.

  • Steve Grob

    A person may justify claiming they should’v had a professional if they consider it a “historic” moment. But even “royal” people like to have family time without a photographer following them around. I’m sure grandpa likes to take his own photos sometimes, and has every right to it.

  • Carl Meyer

    Laziness, cheap PR stunt or both. Nothing new.

  • dannybuoy

    Ooh. Wonder what camera he used :-)

  • Jay

    for what you have to see there -a bunch of rich guys living their safe and comfortable lives- the pictures are enough. I mean… who really cares all that?

  • brob

    the first one is fine! nothing wrong with it. The second one needs a bit of processing help, but it’s still a nice shot. The shots are real, not contrived and artificially lit. Who cares!?! And Kate looks beautiful.

  • G

    I don’t think it’s up to us to critique the photos. It’s their own personal photos that matter, that preserve the history- not what ‘we’ the public or photographer believes.

  • Ali Johnston

    Give Michael a chance, he was shooting in program mode. Should have switched to full auto and the pop up flash would have kicked in.
    That’s my advice for next time.

  • Leonardo Abreu

    Who cares about this couple…

  • JoanieGranola

    There’s always time to have a professional take photos of the family. I think it’s nice that the family got together and Grandpa was able to get a few snapshots. People need to lighten up. Sure, this is a royal family – but they’re still people just like the rest of us. Let them have the moments they want.

  • Robert

    Not bad for an amateur. Sure, the back-lighting is a bit rough, but at least in the first image it gives Kate a nice rim light on her hair. And he has also at least filled the frame with his subject, instead of leaving half a frame of sky above their heads.

    Add some fill light in front and lower the crop a bit to around mid-thigh, and I think that these would be very respectable for a family pic taken by a family member.

  • Jeff R.

    I heard on a local newscast that the photos were taken with a disposable, one-time use film camera!

  • L

    A professional photographer wouldn’t get that shining smile out of the Duchess seen on the second photo!

  • Sid Ceaser

    Prince William has only one facial look.

  • Don Tusk

    No Photoshop is used here

  • Dean W. Thompson

    It’s some pretty decent family photos shot by the grand father. Why is that being made out as a problem? These aren’t photos to be put on posters and propaganda… They’re nice, fun family portraits.

  • Matt Collins

    personally I feel he used the wrong kit!
    should’ve shot them with something else!!!!!

  • Hannah

    Well, for one, I’ve seen sooo much worse from people who market themselves as photogs and charge money. Two, he’s a proud grandfather taking photos of his daughter, grandchild, and son-in-law. People in the public eye surrender a lot of their lives to other people, so I’m sure it was preferable to not have a photog come in and just spend the day with each other. That’s what I would want. I would bet a lot of money that a professional will be taking many pictures of the family for the rest of their existence.

  • Melanie Rijkers-MeRy

    this is why (e.g. in wedding photography) the bright, vintage 70’s look portraits are hip… non professional photographers don’t know how to use flash in a daylight situaton like this…

  • ggkkll

    The paparazzi already took shots of Prince George, when the parents were leaving the hospital. The article is about the first “official” photos of the baby released by the family, and these are an embarrassment for “official” photos.

  • Mark

    I think the photos are very genuine and great in their ordinariness. It’s a proud grandfather taking a couple of photos of his family–don’t need a great pro to do that. And I agree that there’s nothing particularly historic about these moments–I’m sure he’ll have plenty of “pro” photos in his life.

  • Vin Weathermon

    Could be far worse. PR stunt? Why do they even need one? They are a fairly attractive couple, with the sunlit baby who happen to be royalty. Most mothers would say these shots are good. This is better than most grandpa shots I’ve seen. Photographers are never going to be happy with these photos, but I’ll bet some folks are and that’s just fine.

  • Antonio Carrasco

    Yawn… another post about how awful the papparazzi are with no mention of how they are only supplying what is in high demand from the public.

  • Antonio Carrasco

    Wait what? Why would the Royal Family need any more publicity than they already have?

  • Ben

    At least the dog’s in focus.

  • Matthew Bristow

    Lovely photographs of a personal moment.

  • Kevin

    Let the grandfather enjoy his situation without guff from the pro photo community. Sure, it’s a typical snapshot, just like a trillion others, but still one that he’ll probably value for the rest of time. Not everyone has studied photography.

  • Leandro Neves

    Quando a foto tem tratamento a galera cai em cima.
    Quando a foto é simples a galera cai em cima também.

    Galera, vocês são chatos pra caralho!

    (Não vou traduzir essa porra para inglês. Deixa de ser chato e joga no tradutor do Google)

  • Jocelyn

    These family photos are lovely. I like that they were taken by the baby’s grandfather. You can see how relaxed the prince and princess are and so proud of their new son. That’s the way all new family photos should be. I think granddad did a very credible job and I’m sure William and Kate will cherish these photos forever.

  • Jason

    Perspective : Future King and Queen of England holding the future King of England as the baby’s first family photo.

  • 5353534

    great your daughter only has to be the future queen of england and you get your crappy snapshots published all over the world…..

  • cazz

    Its a family photo and doesn’t matter who took it this is a special photo they will always have this is a natural photo no photoshop just natural it shows them in there true state which I say well done to you William and Kate and baby George may they be blessed with many more photos of this kind

  • cazz

    and by the way baby is beautiful :)

  • SiriusPhotog

    So by your standards heroin and cocaine dealers must be cool guys too because there’s obviously a demand for their product?

  • Tired of Whiners

    At least he doesn’t appear to be calling himself a “Pro” photographer like so many of the wannabes out there who hang out a shingle and have even less talent. For all you whiners out there, “toss off.”

  • Dave

    I am going to guess thousands more than care for you. And maybe your obvious self loathing plays a part in that?

  • gonn

    Petapixel comments are in english. Translate before you post or GTFO.

    O Petapixel está em inglês. Traduz antes de comentares ou VPróC.

  • Reality

    If there was a sign that “expensive” family portrait photography is doomed, this is it.

    “What? Pay for photography? Not even the Royal family pays!”

    “Good enough” has become… good enough.

  • Jack

    If only it had been Prince Charles taking the picture, the circle would be complete.

  • John

    This is such an amazing thing and it sickens me that people are being so critical of it. This humanizes the whole family and truly makes me even happier for them to be so down to earth and connected with the rest of the world.
    What a great moment.