Whenever there's a special occasion in the Cambridge family calendar, royal fans are now accustomed to being treated to an adorable photograph of the children - usually taken by their mother.

Yesterday, to mark the first birthday of her youngest son, Kate Middleton shared three stunning portraits of Prince Louis, taken in the garden at their home in Norfolk.

Kate's most recent work was shared yesterday to celebrate the first birthday of Prince Louis. Photo / The Duchess of Cambridge
Kate's most recent work was shared yesterday to celebrate the first birthday of Prince Louis. Photo / The Duchess of Cambridge

The Duchess of Cambridge, who has previously described herself an "enthusiastic amateur photographer", has demonstrated considerable skill behind the camera over the years - and there are rumours she's set to take over the KensingtonRoyal Instagram page, reports the Daily Mail.

So what's her secret? What clever techniques does she employ to make these simple pictures of her children so captivating?

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London-based award-winning photographer Bronwen Sharpe puts it down to Kate's natural ability to capture "authentic unstaged moments" - and the fact she chooses her own children as her subjects.

She told FEMAIL: "No other photographer would be able to capture the same connection she has with her children. There is a real warmth and love that is present in her work.

"She has a natural ability to capture humanity with a great eye for composition and colour."

Her use of colour is also praised by paparazzi photographer Jaimie Harris.

"She always puts them in bright outfits which make a photo pop," she explained.

"I think she's definitely improved since her first George and Charlotte photos, she's now experimenting with different light by venturing outside into the garden."

READ MORE: • Prince Harry's passion for photography shared on Instagram

Hands-on parent Kate became the first member of the royal family to take the first official photographs of a royal baby back in 2015, when she released her snaps of newborn Charlotte in the arms of her big brother Prince George.

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Since then she has captured several official photographs of George, 5, Charlotte, 3, and Louis, 1, to mark important family milestones. Royal fans often wait in trepidation for the pictures, which typically capture their subjects looking natural and relaxed.

Kate has a natural ability to capture humanity with a great eye for composition and colour. Pictured is Prince George on his first day at nursery in November 2014. Photo / The Duchess of Cambridge
Kate has a natural ability to capture humanity with a great eye for composition and colour. Pictured is Prince George on his first day at nursery in November 2014. Photo / The Duchess of Cambridge

Bronwen said the real strength of her recent work is in the way she "captures joy and real moments in her subjects' expressions".

"Kate has a great ability to frame and capture unstaged moments. She has an intuitive eye for colour, composition and light, often placing her subjects in soft lighting," she explained.

"She composes her pictures with clarity and balance, with no distracting elements in the background - evident in the recent pictures of Louis and of Charlotte on her second birthday.

"Kate has a great ability to create wonderful out of focus backgrounds using limited depth of field. She had mastered the use of natural light, so I would like to see her try to introduce studio lights in combination with natural light."

Jaimie told how Kate always ensures her children's faces are the main focus of her pictures and sometimes sacrifices good framing.

"In a few shots of George and Charlotte, she has cut off their hands or only has one of their hands in the shot," she said.

"I think she just makes sure the faces are in focus. If she took more full-length photos, she could crop in after to make sure her framing is more on point, without chopping off body parts."

The Duchess's passion for photography dates back to before she became a member of The Firm.

Her official profile on the British Monarchy's website includes a list of hobbies which features "photography and painting", and explains: "The Duchess's enthusiasm for photography saw her taking photographs as part of her role during her time working within Party Pieces, a family company owned and run by her parents."

Kate has showcased an artistic flair since her teens, having studied art history at the University of St. Andrews, where she met Prince William. She produced her undergraduate thesis on the era of photography - in particular, photographs of children.

As the patron for the National Portrait Gallery in London, last year Kate opened its Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography exhibition, and penned the foreword to its catalogue, in which she discussed her passion for the medium.

The show explored the "birth of art photography in England" and much of its work was dedicated to photographs of children.

"Children held a special place in the Victorian imagination and were celebrated for their seemingly boundless potential," Kate wrote in the foreward.

"This notion still rings true for us today and it underpins much of my official work and the charities I have chosen to support, and, indeed, my role as a young mother."

Speaking about her own passion for photography, she went on: "As a student at the University of St. Andrews, I chose it as the subject of my undergraduate thesis and photographs of children in particular, which feature prominently in the exhibition, are of real interest to me."

Her prowess behind the camera was marked officially in 2017, when she was named an honorary member of the Royal Photographic Society, with its chief executive Dr Michael Pritchard FRPS commending her "talent" and "long-standing interest in photography and its history".

Kate's most recent photographs of Prince Louis were shot at Anmer Hall, a Georgian country house in the village of Anmer in Norfolk, where the Cambridges reside when they're not at Kensington Palace.