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Review: 'Movie Photos' by Alex Bailey

By Benjamin Craig  |  20-Jan-2009

In most industry professionals' list of top tips for new and independent filmmakers you would find "great stills" near the top of the list. Getting decent stills for your film while you are on set is essential as the best shots to use in your marketing and publicity materials may not necessarily be sourced from a frame in the film. And indeed, using frame grabs as stills can introduce a whole host of problems of their own.

But movie stills photography is more than just asking a mate who has an SLR camera to come and roll off a few snaps on your set. Like much of the movie business, taking decent stills requires both an artistic eye and the ability to shoot to brief. But although there is no disagreement on the importance of stills, very little has been written on the subject to date.

Fortunately, that's changed with a new book new book from motion picture stills photographer Alex Bailey. Movie Photos provides an in-depth look at how to get started and do the job of a still photographer. It covers how these jobs come about, how to capture iconic images of A-list actors, the relationships that exist on a film set, and how a film production works on a daily basis, both in the studio and on location.

Of course, no book about photography would be complete without pertinent examples, and Movie Photos does not let you down there. Straightforward guidance that comes from years of experience on set is complimented by a large number of Bailey's great stills from over 50 features he's worked on over the years, including Atonement, Pride and Prejudice, The Other Boleyn Girl, Troy, Sunshine, The Phantom of the Opera, and the Tomb Raider movies.

A fascinating insight into the world of motion picture stills, and essential reading for anyone considering taking still photographs on a film set.

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