Film/TV set photography


TPF Noob!
Mar 24, 2004
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Leicester, UK
Since starting photography about 6 years ago, I have had an eye for candid shots. There's just something about catching people off guard. So, recently I've been thinking I'd like to be a film or tv set photographer as much of what I've seen from this type of photography is candid.

Obviously for hollywood blockbusters, you would more than likely be hand picked to take pictures or at least have a big name for yourself. I don't want to ask "how I get into it" as it's like anything else - contacts, portfolio and right place, right time!

Does anyone have any specific advice for film or tv set photography?
Learn to be invisible - and learn when you can and can't take pictures.
Chat up the 1st AD and the Lighting Cameraman. Don't bother the Director.
Get in contact with BECTU, the film and TV union
They should give you advice.
Then tap into the grapevine and look for productions crewing up. A lot of them are Low/No/Deferred which means they either you get paid a pittance, nothing or defer payment until the film goes into profit (you negotiate a percentage or fee). In most cases deferred means you won't get paid.
Film and TV is a small world and is very incestuous. The same people tend to get the work - directors have favourite 1st's and LC's or DoP's and they tend to have their own teams.
Once you get your foot in the door then you are OK - it's getting your foot in the door that's difficult.
You will also find that it isn't a full-time job so you will need to do other work as well.
(I speak from experience having done work for film and TV now and then).
Best of luck.

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