First Rule for every photographer

My first assignment as Santa’s Official Photographer went off smoothly yesterday… and it produced the photograph below.

Following the first rule for every press photographer – ‘Be First To Arrive’, I was aboard the Guard Boat ‘Gallovidian’ helping to put up Christmas decorations and lights ready for our grand entrance as we sailed into Kirkcudbright Harbour. But first we had to head down river and out across Kirkcudbright Bay to Little Ross Island, where we were due to rendezvous with Santa who was flying in from the North Pole.

Santa arrives by boat in Kirkcudbright

Santa arriving by boat to a great welcome in Kirkcudbright Harbour yesterday. Just look at all those people waiting to welcome him. Photography by Philip Dunn - Santa's Official Photographer

With Santa safely on board the boat and with a glass of malt whisky in his hand, we set off back to Kirkcudbright harbour.

  • Photograph above, details:
  • Camera: Nikon D700
  • Lens: Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
  • ISO: 400
  • Shutter Speed 1/200 sec
  • Aperture: f/13

It’s always a great sight to approach the town from seaward and see the crowds of children gathered along the harbour to welcome Santa. With bells ringing, and three piper playing Jingle Bells, we slowly came alongside to disembark Santa.

Philip Dunn - photographer

Mission completed - Santa's Official Photographer back aboard the Gallovidian in Kirkcudbright Harbour. Photograph by Carl Dania

It was also good to see photographers from the local newspapers there for this grand Christmas event.

And that was our job complete – Santa was safely delivered and I had a set of photographs of him on board the boat.

Seriously – that Rule for every press photographer is the number one! Get there first – leave last.

It has paid off countless times during my long career in newspapers and magazines.

You can learn many professional photography secrets on a Photography Course with Philip Dunn – and have a lot of fun at the same time.

What should Santa bring the photographer in your life this Christmas?

Check out a dozen of the best Christmas Gifts for Photographers


  1. It occurs to me that I am now the Unofficial Photographer to Santa’s Official Photographer. And there’s me thinking that photography was complicated………

    But yes, a brilliant day, and all in a good cause. Now all I have to do is work out how to be in two places at once !

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