Movie Making Manual/Stills Photography

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This Module is part of the Movie Making Manual

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Stills photography involves taking photos of the filmmaking process. These are often used for promoting the film and as a documentary record. This area of film production is often overlooked on smaller budget films or some photographs are taken by members of the crew, but for promotional and documentary uses; good quality and professional images are a must. If the film budget can't stretch to a professional photographer, many photographers will do work to use in their portfolios, and for the experience.

An example of a production still taken on the set of a music video

Alternative names

  • Production stills
  • Unit stills

Equipment[edit | edit source]

Both film and digital have their respective advantages and disadvantages. Digital photography provides instant results, and combining this with a notebook computer means the results can be viewed instantly by the photographer, crew and cast. The choice often comes down to personal preference, but is sometimes dictated by the stills photographer's brief. Medium and large format cameras are often used for a higher quality image although 35mm is usually sufficient, and is often used for speed and ease of use. Large format cameras - considered superior in terms of image quality - is a slower medium, and often hard to use on a busy set. Generally the equipment will suit the type of shots required. If the shots are "reportage" style, then 35mm is advantageous. High-quality cast / set shots can be taken on medium/large especially for very large poster/billboard reproductions.

Publishing stills photos online[edit | edit source]

If you have your own webspace then it's very easy to install a free gallery package and publish your photos online. Some excellent free gallery packages include:

References[edit | edit source]

Examples of production stills[edit | edit source]