Become the industry’s top Unit Stills Photographer: tips from ‘Hidden Figures’ photographer Hopper Stone

An open-hearted and a “kill ‘em with kindness” kind of guy, Hopper Stone sat down for a chat with Nicola Dove from the Unit Stills Directory to talk about his career journey and offer some wisdom for the younger emerging generation of stills photographers on how to be the best stills photographer you can be. Hopper began his photography career in 1988, working as a photojournalist covering social and political events worldwide. By 1997, however, he took the leap into unit stills. Since then he’s been awarded the prestigious Publicists Guild Award for Achievement in Television Unit Still Photography in 2012 and nominated for the same award for Motion Picture Still Photography in 2019 and 2020. Hopper worked on a…

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Advice from BAFTA winner Kevin Loader: Publicity Mistakes to Avoid as a Producer

BAFTA-winning British producer and director Kevin Loader sat down over a virtual coffee with Nicola during the monthly Stills Soiree as part of the Unit Stills Directory.  Kevin is one of the UK’s most experienced producers. His long list of credits include Death of Stalin, Elizabeth, Nowhere Boy, The Lady In The Van and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (and photographed by the directory member David Gennard). Kevin spoke about publicity mistakes producers tend to make in relation to unit stills that can jeopardise the success of a film, and what to do to avoid that. He also shared valuable insight on the ‘first look’ still and why it’s so vital for a film’s journey. Make or break your…

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Stills Photographers boost film success rates. 5 Reasons Why

stills photographer Hansof Waller

Marketing and film festival strategy can be an afterthought on some low-budget productions, and when on a tight budget, it can be tempting for less experienced producers to skip out on a unit stills photographer. After all, your main goal is to actually get the film made first and overcome the hundreds of hurdles that lead up to that point. However, much like film treatments and pitch documents are tools that will help sell your idea to get the film made, stills help sell your finished film to audiences. There are many creative, technical and financial benefits to having a stills photographer on set, so let me break it down for you. You’ve finished your film. Now what? In the…

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Unit Stills Photographer: what they do and how do I become one?

The job of a unit stills photographer can be a mysterious one. Although a stills photographer is technically part of the camera department, oftentimes they are a one-person team. “But it does take a still photographer to sell a movie, and to show the movie, and to archive the movie, and to have the moments go down in history,” says Society of Motion Picture Stills Photographers (SMPSP) co-president Merie Weismiller Wallace. Unlike other departments, where most people start out as runners or assistants, there’s no such thing in stills photography, as it is usually a department of one. So what does the job entail, and how does one start out as a stills photographer? What is the role of a…

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