May 24, 2014 at 12:43 PM ET
Colin Edwards has devoted his life to capturing candid moments of the royal family.
The result: an intimate royal family album, featuring unguarded shots of the likes of Princess Diana, the queen, Prince William and Duchess Kate.
He shares the photos in a new book, "A Personal Portrait of the Royal Family," and revealed some of his tricks in an interview with TODAY.
"We'll you've got to arrive really early if you want to be in the front row, especially if you want a few photographs," he said.
The man who describes himself as "an ardent royalist" says his fascination with photographing the royals up close started at the Queen's coronation in 1953.
He's not alone in his fascination, according to royals expert Camilla Tominey.
"For some people, that's their life blood," she said, "and they like to record how many times they've met the royals and like to say they've been to all the main events."
By now, Edwards has spent hundreds of days, traveled thousands of miles, and shelled out thousands of dollars on the project. His new book features just under 200 photographs — just a slice of what he's taken over the last 30 years, which he says is "enough for two more books!"
Of all the pictures he's taken, a few stand out as favorites — photos he's shot of the late Princess Diana, and many in which he was able to capture the queen smiling.
"I've tried to dispel this myth that the queen is always serious and glum," he said. "She's not at all!"
One of the highlights in his life of photographing royals came during William and Kate's first appearance after their engagement.
"Kate came over full of confidence," he recalls, "and I asked her if I could have gracious permission to kiss her hand just as i used to kiss Diana's." She obliged.
He also has fond memories of Diana, who he says he came to develop a rapport with.
"She said, 'Colin, the boys love your photographs,'" he remembers.
Check out more of his photos and stories about the royal family: