Working as a photographer on the set of a movie requires a different discipline to other areas of commercial photography and achieving a successful shoot requires careful planning, plus strong communication and interpersonal skills.

In the case of British movie, Habit my main role was to shoot portraits of the key actors ‘in character’, one of which would be used for the movie poster. I also spent some time shooting general production stills (also known as unit stills) but for the sake of this blog post, I will only be featuring the official actor portraits.


Roxanne Pallett – Copyright Image ©

After receiving a commission from the movie producer, I had to quickly get to know the script and plan to be available to shoot on days when the the key actors were available.  I therefore had to liaise with other crew members, including the assistant directors and actors, who allocated time to shoot the still images between movie ‘takes’. In most cases, I only had around 5 – 10 minutes to photograph each actor, which meant I had to set up my studio flash gear well in advance and be ready to work quickly once the actors appeared.

Robert Beck - ActorDSC_1040

Robert Beck – Copyright Image ©

Due to various limitations, including time and space, I was restricted to shooting with one or two flash heads and lighting had to be tested well in advance of shooting – there was no time fumble around during the shoot! The only exception was when I created the portrait for the official movie poster, which was organised by the movie director as a studio shoot on a separate day after filming had completed.

Jessica Barden - ActorDSC_086011-Edit

Jessica Barden – Copyright Image ©

Equipment used for the shoot included a Nikon D810 body and 50mm and 85mm prime lenses. For lighting, I used Elinchrom studio flash fitted with softbox modifiers.


William Ash – Copyright Image ©

Scenes from Habit were shot on location around Greater Manchester and in studio in Manchester’s Media City. The official trailer for the movie can be viewed below.

Habit Movie Trailer (due to be released next year)

All images are protected by copyright © and must not be used in any way or form without permission.


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