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Unit Stills Photographer

Work on movie sets taking publicity photos of Actors during filming.

What does an Unit Stills Photographer do?

Unit Stills Photographers work in the motion picture industry and on television productions to photograph Actors during filming. A Unit Stills Photographer’s photos are used for PR and advertising campaigns.

This means that your work as a Unit Stills Photographer will be responsible for driving millions of people into theatres. So you need to take some pretty great shots, which means knowing your stuff when it comes to ISO’s, F-stops, correct lighting and good composition.

In addition to technical skills, your ability to operate in stealth mode is crucial. You want to be on set photographing each scene in detail, but if you prove to be a distraction to the film crew or Actors, your stay will be short-lived. Given that a movie set is overrun with people, the best way to lay low is to blend in with the crowd, so you can get your shots without drawing attention. And the use of a sound blimp on your camera will enable you to keep your equipment noise to a minimum.

Depending upon budget, you could be on the set every day, or only a few select days. Your schedule will require many long hours but it will allow for the building of an outstanding portfolio and you may even meet some A-listers.

Although you work for the film’s PR agency, often times it’s the Actors who decide which shots can be used for publicity. This means that your amazing shot of the cast against that perfect sunset might be rejected because the star doesn’t like how his hair looks in it. So, as with any creative-for-hire endeavor, it’s important to develop a thick skin and not take rejection to heart.