Local photographer who took the Queen's 96th birthday portrait shares his inspiring journey

Image credits: Henry Dallal

Henry Dallal began taking photos at just 9 years old

A local photographer who took the Queen's 96th birthday portrait has shared the inspiring journey that led him to the opportunity. 

Henry Dallal, who lives in Charlton, was asked by the Queen if she could use his photo to celebrate her birthday, something he describes as an "honour". His journey into the photography world began when he was just 9 years old and his father gifted him a film camera. 

Henry told V2 Radio: “My father would always take family pictures and he gave me a “box brownie” when I was 9 years old.

"I’ve always been taking pictures of things or whatever it is that I happen to enjoy or that I happen to see.

"I think over time you kind of develop an eye for what makes a good image. You don’t have to be a good photographer to take that image.”

When asked what constitutes a photo that Henry would describe as a "good image", he simply reveals that it must capture the viewer's imagination - with the "magic" laying within the lighting. 

"[Lighting makes] a huge difference." He explains. Using the West Sussex sunrise as an example, Henry admits that "a lot of it has to do with luck."

"The sun begins to creep up, the sky lights up red. And after the sun has risen, literally within minutes, that red is gone. You have to know your subject, and you also have to be lucky.”

Photographing the Queen for 20 years, it's no secret that Her Majesty was a subject that Henry indeed got to know very well. He describes how the royal's iconic 96th birthday portrait was crafted around platinum, drawing together both the colour of magnolias and two of her grey horses. 

For aspiring photographers, Henry's advice is simple: "the passion should be there, the eye should be there" and "the interest should be there."

He continues, "In this day and age, everyone is taking pictures because of the mobile phone, which is fantastic.

"But for the aspiring photographer: take pictures, find what you like to take pictures of, and then just develop that passion and try to create cutting edge images.”

You can look through Henry Dallal's work on his website or on his Instagram, @henrydallalphotography

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