Back to the front page - How I got that picture published

Photo credit: Katie Collins/Press Association

Photo credit: Katie Collins/Press Association

It is 8am on a Sunday morning back in 2008. I find myself on a deserted Regent Street in central London, the weekend before Christmas. I'm feeling the icy cold chill of a December morning and wishing I was back in my cosy bed warming my hands with a cup of hot tea. But I am here and my morning has  just got a whole lot worse as the photocall I was due to attend is actually on another day and there has been a mix up at the office. 

As I am considering what kind of breakfast I want (priorities), I find myself walking past Hamleys. Under the twinkling white Christmas lights, a grand window display showing Father Christmas soaring through the air with his reindeer is visible through the glass. It’s impressive and I take a couple of shots, wondering if this could work as a standalone picture for The Press Association, the news agency I am working for at the time. It’s a nice shot, but nice won’t cut it. It needs something else. I then notice a young girl approach and peer in, her face pressed up against the glass. She is wearing a bright red coat with pristine white tights and patent red shoes. I take two shots; they might just work for the image I am after. I approach her parents and ask for the permission to use the image in exchange for sending them copies via email. 

After filing the two pictures and making a quick call to the office, I head off for my longed-for breakfast. The next day, I open the pages of The Daily Telegraph - there it is and it looks great! I then see The Financial Times and it’s on the front page. The FRONT PAGE. I am ecstatic. It’s even discussed on BBC Breakfast when the presenter is talking through the day’s front pages. 

The Financial Times, Monday December 22, 2008.

The Financial Times, Monday December 22, 2008.

As promised, I sent the images to the little girl’s mother. An email appeared in my inbox a few days later and she told me just how thrilled she was to see her daughter on the front page of a national newspaper. Out of the blue, a beautiful bouquet of flowers arrived at the office shortly after, thanking me for the picture. I was touched to know the picture was liked not only by me. It was a chance shot but it remains one of my favourite pictures to this day.

Now & Then - Re-creating my baby photos

Getting creative (while the baby sleeps)