You can’t swing a sprig of mistletoe this time of year without hitting a greeting card offering best wishes for the holiday season and a charming photo of the family bearing those wishes. The world caught their first glimpse of this year’s iteration of the Wales family’s holiday correspondence over the weekend, featuring a smiling Kate Middleton, Prince William, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis in black and white on a blank background.
The image, a departure from the typical candid color shots the family has used in their holiday greetings in the past, was shot by photographer Josh Shinner, a new collaborator for the family.
The pressure is on when trying to get the perfect shot of a family, let alone when that family has three young children who are also very famous and should all be smiling at the same time—and that pressure can only increase when the subjects of your portrait include the first through fourth entries in the line of succession to the throne.
In an Instagram caption, Shinner opened up about what it was like to photograph the royal family.
“It was such a pleasure to photograph The Prince and Princess of Wales and their family for the Christmas portrait this year,” he wrote alongside the winning shot. “Without doubt one of the most relaxed and enjoyable sittings I’ve ever had, and I now have a whole new set of jokes that are right on my level thanks to the children…”
Shinner is keeping tight-lipped, however, about what those jokes were. You can’t just give away a punchline and ruin the element of surprise, you know?
“Keeping those to myself I’m afraid! ;)” he wrote in response to an inquiring commenter.
The photographer also shared a rough sketch he’d made of the family of five while toying with how he’d pose them.