Tag Archives: Tech Talk

Tech Talk – Three Important Publicity Shots for a Production Stills Photographer

I’ve talked quite a bit about the role of the stills photographer and what I see as being important characteristics of a photographer shooting publicity stills on set. What I haven’t talked about as yet is the types of shots I think a stills photographer should aim to capture as part of what he or…

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  • Jeff WickliffeMay 19, 2011 - 1:06 pm

    Thanks for the great article. There is very little information about this type of shooting and it’s good to see some examples.

    Jeff.

  • AngusJune 11, 2011 - 10:39 am

    Thanks Jeff! I appreciate your feedback!

  • Rachel BlewittMay 1, 2017 - 3:27 pm

    Hi Angus, Thank you for taking the time to explain such a specialist role; it is greatly appreciated! Best Wishes, Rachel

  • sarahSeptember 4, 2017 - 8:20 pm

    Your site is a treasure trove! Love it

Tech Talk – Copyright and the Production Stills photographer

I’m going to start by saying emphatically that I’m not a lawyer and the following are merely my experience and observations based on my personal understanding of copyright as it applies to the role of production stills photographer. Copyright laws vary between jurisdictions and my thoughts are limited to the jurisdictions in which I have…

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Tech Talk – 5 Mistakes made by on set photographers.

As a publicity stills photographer you’ll often hear tales of “the other guy” that they won’t work with again. Here’s the pitfalls that I avoid and that you should too: DON’T interrupt the shoot. In many publicity photography environments the photographer is central to the process and has almost full command of the creative team….

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  • CJKJune 4, 2013 - 11:58 pm

    Hi Angus,
    First of all, like so many others, I wanted to thank you.
    Thank you for all these information that all other photographer are afraid to share!

    In regards to images display/sharing, do you think it is ‘ok’ to publish pictures without any previous approval, if the film was already released?
    I am creating a brand new website and I am wondering if I can display pictures of my choice, taken on previous sets, as long as their production is completed.

    Also do you think that is a mistake if I ask that we add a close to my contract, allowing me to send some behind the scene pictures to the crew?

    Thanks again and talk to you soon, as I am probably going to ask a lot of other questions:)

    CJK

  • PSbyAYJuly 12, 2013 - 1:32 pm

    Thanks for your questions! I’m sorry for the delayed reply.
    I don’t display photos without producer’s approval, personally. You should consider any contracts you’ve signed and whether you find yourself in breach of that by doing so. If no contractual arrangement prevents you from sharing the photos you should then consider the implications on your relationship with the producers.
    Where there have been images I needed to show as they were particularly appropriate to pitching for a new job, I have shown images not formally approved within a password protected gallery to the people that are considering me for specific roles.
    I see no problem with negotiating to add a clause to contracts enabling you to share behind the scenes photos with crew. I don’t think it is unreasonable to ask at all.

  • Masimba Tinashe MadondoSeptember 29, 2013 - 7:29 pm

    Pleasure reading your articles. Should be great help when I do my first on set job tomorrow.

  • Lee HarperOctober 22, 2018 - 4:19 am

    Hi Angus, great pieces of information you have here. If only I’d seen this article before my first job on a tv production. I was a live music photographer previous to the TV work and was in the habit of sharing a few images on social media etc. for the bands to see. Oh boy, did I make a big mistake on this one!! Several emails AND a phone call from ITV, who were worried I’d reveal all by sharing the photos. I had shared a few with some of the stars of the show and got a proper telling off. No contract had being signed so I was under the assumption that I had free reign with the stills. I just hope I haven’t blown it if the show gets second series.

Tech Talk – Why you need to have a stills photographer on a film shoot

I’m often asked the purpose of having a dedicated stills photographer on film shoots. You and I both know that I’m more than a little biased, but the question I would ask is: If film makers want to attract an audience why would they not have a stills photographer on their film shoot? My argument…

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  • Rich CaveApril 22, 2011 - 11:23 am

    I have done on set work and it is interesting and varied, it is also long hours and a lot of team work. However I kept getting pestered on one shoot why are you here?

    Never got asked that question again after the lead talent got injured and another actress had to redo the role.

    All the continuity and costume, effects and a massive pano of the set images were used as reference to reshoot and do cast pickups.

    If I had not been there working as hard as I did, the production would have gone downhill.

    Suddenly I became the runners and 2nd DOP best mate, even the cameraman became more open. (you need to sometimes match lens for plate shots).

    On set photography is important,

    Rich

  • AngusApril 27, 2011 - 2:38 pm

    Hi Rich, thanks for your comments. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels strongly about the value of our work.

  • John Armstrong-MillarApril 30, 2011 - 3:30 pm

    Hi I came across this blog today.It’s nice to see someone in the business taking the time to write about it. Production Stills seems quite different from other branches of photography in that is all about collaboration, which sometimes doesn’t come naturally to us photographers

  • Matt ChristieFebruary 15, 2012 - 6:19 pm

    Really interesting & informative blog about a branch of photography many people don’t even know exists. Must be cool shooting different things every day!

  • Mike PaduaFebruary 15, 2012 - 7:55 pm

    Also worth mentioning (and the point that ALWAYS comes back to bite inexperienced filmmakers and producers): A distributor WILL NOT BUY YOUR FILM if you don’t have stills. It’s on the list of deliverables, along with the film itself, when a distributor buys a film. There’s no grey area with that point!

  • Annie FengSeptember 29, 2017 - 11:11 am

    This is really useful to read as I have been clueless about going down the path of doing still photography and the value towards it. Thank you for posting your knowledge on here! 

  • PSbyAYOctober 13, 2017 - 1:51 pm

    Thanks for your feedback! I’m glad you have found the information useful!

Gettin’ Techy About Production Stills

I’ve been working as a photographer on film and TV sets for a number of years now. I just love it. What I don’t love is the fact that there is very little information about this important film making craft. I’ve found no specialised courses and very few other publicly available information sources. Almost everything…

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