Tech Talk – Three Important Publicity Shots for a Production Stills Photographer

I’ve talked quite a bit about the role of the stills photographer and what I see as being important characteristics of a photographer shooting publicity stills on set. What I haven’t talked about as yet is the types of shots I think a stills photographer should aim to capture as part of what he or she delivers to the production. These are images I see as directly relevant to publicising the film.

The Character Shot
In any character driven story the key talent are central to the marketability of the end result. Audiences remain loyal to Dexter not only because they like the story but because they form an attachment to the character Dexter and the supporting characters. The character shot is often going to be central to the marketing campaign and central to recognition of the project’s “brand”. In my experience these images are generally captured during those dedicated moments of “stills time” when I have made arrangements to work directly with the actors for purposes of capturing publicity still images. Actors are often very willing to participate in these shots despite their busy schedule as the images make for great portfolio material and can be lots of fun to pose for.

Rhys and Nathan

Rhys (Christopher Mock) and Nathan (Jeffrey Mundell) the two central characters in Marmalade Production's The Syndicate

The Ensemble Shot
This is similar to the Character Shot, but is also used to establish for the audience the relationships that exist between the characters. Sometimes an Ensemble Shot will be as few as two characters but it may include the whole (or at least the majority) of the project’s cast.


The Episodic Shot
This is the image that alludes to the drama, the comedy, the action of the show. It creates images that your target audience will find instantly recognisable as something your audience will want to watch. Its also the type of shot that is likely to be published in a TV or film guide when a poster image is not going to be used.

Ghost Gang - Southside

There’s plenty more types of shot that a good publicity stills photographer will capture, and I’ll cover more in future posts. In the mean time, why not take some time to tell me about your favourite publicity shots? Always feel free hit me with any comments or questions, I welcome your input (as well as any web traffic you can send my way!).


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  • Jeff WickliffeMay 19, 2011 - 1:06 pm

    Thanks for the great article. There is very little information about this type of shooting and it’s good to see some examples.


  • AngusJune 11, 2011 - 10:39 am

    Thanks Jeff! I appreciate your feedback!

  • Rachel BlewittMay 1, 2017 - 3:27 pm

    Hi Angus, Thank you for taking the time to explain such a specialist role; it is greatly appreciated! Best Wishes, Rachel

  • sarahSeptember 4, 2017 - 8:20 pm

    Your site is a treasure trove! Love it