Film Stills & weddings........... / by Neil Genower

Titanic: ITV Studios/Deep Indigo Productions © Neil Genower/ITV/Deep Indigo

Titanic: ITV Studios/Deep Indigo Productions © Neil Genower/ITV/Deep Indigo

Ray Winstone and Helena Bonham-Carter in Henry VIII © Neil Genower/ITV

Ray Winstone and Helena Bonham-Carter in Henry VIII © Neil Genower/ITV

Shooting film stills and shooting weddings are very similar. You have a story, in the case of a wedding, a love story, a cast and you have a location. From the photographers point of view, you have to be discreet and quiet and record all the key scenes, or if it's a wedding, moments. Equipment will be similar, with the exception of a blimp which is essentially a DSLR silencer and recommended when shooting film stills or pictures of any performance where there is recorded dialog. Incidentally, the blimp can be very useful when shooting the ceremony, when audible shutter noise would be intrusive. I have shot thousands of film stills and can testify that the most important aspect of the job is diplomacy. Knowing where to be, when to shoot, when not to shoot, who to keep informed of what you're doing and probably of most importance is to know the mood of both the actors and the crew., reading situations. These same qualities should be applied to wedding photographers too. I always try to make sure the make up artist for the bride can be around after the ceremony when I usually shoot all the couple shots and singles, this discipline comes from working as a stills photographer on set; If I'm shooting portraits of the actors, I always have both make up and costume with me, they would insist on in anyway. It is their work I'm recording and they need to make sure all is in order. Stills days are long too with a full day running from 8am through to 7pm. When shooting film stills one of the first things I do is to speak to the DOP (director of photography) it is he or she along with input from the director that determines the look of the film, or how it is graded. Will it be warm,cold, saturated or de-saturated. I then try and match the look of my stills to those of the final graded cut. As a photographer shooting either a wedding or a film, you need to be able to supply an excellent body of work that represents the story, it's not easy but it is hugely rewarding.