Film Stills Fast Track A ten-week online photography course

Accelerate your film stills career with professional photographer Nicola Dove

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Would you:

  • Love to get onto a film set and take stunning photographs?
  • Like to add an exciting niche to your freelance photography business?
  • Like to work with actors and directors?
  • Love to see your pictures published all over the world?

Have you:

  • Heard about the industry and wonder how to break in?
  • Tried to get onto a film set but made little progress?
  • Been on set but feel impatient with your progress in the film industry as a stills photographer?
  • Heard of other photographers getting great jobs and want to get those juicy opportunities as well?

It's time to get clarity on how to Fast Track

Your Film Stills Career

Whether you’re a photographer who is completely new to the film industry, or you have been on set already, I can guide your next steps.

I have been a professional film stills photographer for almost twenty years, and will share my systems with you on how to take great images in every situation, how to build relationships that will develop your film stills career, and how to create and develop a polished film stills ready portfolio.

What will you learn on Film Stills Fast Track?

  • How to think like a film stills photographer, even if you’re not on set yet.
  • How to work with light, actors, and crew.
  • How to make the best out of your equipment.
  • How your mindset directly affects your pictures.
  • The four mistakes to avoid making on set, at all costs
  • How to create a film stills style portfolio
  • Listings for getting onto a film set
  • Plus, how to pull off a stunning poster shoot (with examples from No Time To Die!)

After Film Stills Fast Track you will have all the practical knowledge you need to build an exciting film stills photography career.

This is for you whether you’re:

  • A keen amateur who knows your way around a camera
  • Already a photographer and want another possible income stream
  • Already on set and want to step up to the next level
  • Motivated and ready to take action
  • Impatient and want to fast track your film stills career

Film Stills Fast Track - an online course with LIVE Q&A's

  • You’ll hear it all straight from me – I'm sharing twenty years of knowledge directly with you over 10 weeks.
  • One 60-90min module per week to watch at your own convenience, including a bonus poster shoot module.
  • Each module is jam-packed with information, pictures, insights, stories, and guidance on all aspects of film stills photography.
  • One live Q&A session each week, answering all your questions, sharing insights, and getting to know your cohorts.
  • A fantastic guest speaker line up carefully chosen to give you the insider's scoop on the industry.
  • An exclusive private FB group to share images, get feedback, and interact with your fellow students from around the world.
  • The first 5 students get access to me for a 1:1 session.
    • You’ll be able to ask questions about your work, and your situation so together we get you ready for the next step in your film stills career.
  • The first 20 students will be eligible to take part in a group portfolio review session to get personalised feedback on their work from myself and Debi Berry from the BBC.

Hello, I'm Nicola

I’m a professional film stills photographer and I have worked on some huge films, including the latest Bond movie No Time To Die. But it wasn’t always that way.

In my late twenties, I was living in my small home town in New Zealand, busy not being a photographer and wishing I was one.  I had studied photography but never really followed it through.

One day I suddenly lost all hearing in one ear. I had scans and they said it might be a brain tumor. Luckily it wasn’t, but the doctors couldn’t tell me why it had happened.

Afterward I made a decision. I wasn’t going to live a safe life anymore.  I realized that at any moment your life can change.

I left my lovely little home town, with my camera, for the UK, and started shooting weddings, editorial and traveled shooting for various charities.

I also started shooting for free on short films, and slowly built my portfolio and networks. It took me a while but I got there.

I am still deaf in one ear, and I feel thankful every day for it (I’m always grateful it wasn’t an eye!). It continues to wake me up to the fact that life is for stepping outside your comfort zone and backing yourself.

I try to live by it still with how we raise our two kids for example and taking them on lots of adventures.  They often travel with me to my international jobs, but that is for another story.

I’m looking forward to sharing more of what I know with you and inspiring you to reach your potential too.

Here’s the course I wish I had when I started:

Module 1: Let's get shooting!

  • We look closely at what makes a good film still to understand which images get used for publicity and which don’t, so you can start thinking like a film stills photographer.
  • We cover the four fundamentals for a stunning shot. We look at image examples and discuss how you can bring these elements into your work.
  • You’ll be given an assignment to start shooting straight away, even if you are not on a film set, so you can begin to build, or develop, your film stills style portfolio.

Module 2: Who's Who

  • You’ll learn the structure of a crew and what their roles are. I’ll guide you as to how to build the key relationships onset that help you gain the best access.
  • I’ll explain what a call sheet is and how to read one. This is the blueprint for each day’s filming and if you don’t understand it well you’ll miss critical opportunities.
  • GUEST SPEAKER: Unit Publicist Claudia Kalijndian. Claudia has worked on films such as No Time To Die, Dark Knight Rises, Chocolat, and The Da Vinci Code. Publicists are often the people who recommend photographers for a job.
BTS MOTOE KB crew makeup

Module 3: Get Set Prepared

  • Equipment: We’ll look at how to get the best out of your equipment, whatever kind of camera you have.
  • I’ll show you all the settings I use for different lighting and action situations, so you can work fast and effectively to get great shots.
  • We discuss any techincal issues and questions you have

Module 4: Good Access = Great Pictures!

  • If you get the following fundamentals right at the beginning, you build trust with the cast and crew, granting you access to get great images. If you get them wrong you may not be invited back on set!
  • I'll break down optimal positioning for different types of scene set ups so you get all the shots you need AND work optimally around the cast and crew. There’ll be diagrams!
  • I'll warn you of the MISTAKES TO AVOID AT ALL COSTS as a photographer on set!
  • I’ll explain the images you must achieve to cover a scene, and a film, well.
  • Plus, I’ll let you in on my secrets for how to be unobtrusive on set.

Module 5: An Inside Job

  • You'll learn how to work with actors to get the best performances for authentic pictures, plus some critical mistakes to avoid.
  • I'll give you tips on how to most effectively get set ups done if you need them.
  • We look at different genres of films and how to shoot accordingly - how to make a comedy shot funny, how to make suspense shots dramatic.
  • MODULE 5a: State Of Mind: Your attitude and mindset are critical to your film stills photography career, and a good one will become your greatest strength. I’ll be exploring with you how our state of mind creates the kinds of pictures we make.
  • I’ll teach you the strategies I have developed over the last twenty years for how to have great composure on set that will make you an asset, not a liability.

Module 6: Effective Workflow

  • At the end of a long day shooting you don't want to spend hours on downloading, editing and post production.
  • I’ll share with you my system for fast and efficient digital workflow.
  • I'll cover the important aspects of naming photographs correctly, how my folder systems work, plus backing up your work.

Module 7: Deals and Delivery

  • We'll discuss what the producers or studio expect and how to deliver your images.
  • How much can you charge? Who do you talk to to negotiate your rates? What other expenses can you charge for?
  • We’ll look more closely at unions in the USA and UK.

Module 8: Portfolio Ready!

  • Learn how to edit your work into an effective portfolio which contains the kinds of images that producers and studios want to see.
  • We'll look at different options for showing your work.
  • Now that you have learnt the fundamentals of film stills photography, and know how to put together a great film stills ready portfolio, you are almost ready to go on set!
  • We’ll explore ALL the options for increasing your chances of getting on set, and how to find and maximise them.

Bonus Module

How to Shoot a Stunning Poster

  • How to plan a poster shoot amidst a busy filming schedule.
  • Different lighting options depending on the genre of movie.
  • An equipment list for a poster shoot.
  • PLUS, I’ll lift the lid on the No Time To Die character poster shoots, including exactly how it was lit.

First 5 Students

Receive a 1:1 session with Nicola to ask your unique questions. 

First 20 Students

Join a group portfolio review session to have your photographs reviewed and get personalised feedback from Nicola and Debi Berry, Picture Executive at the BBC

Guest Speakers

It can be very difficult to talk to people on the inside if you are trying to break into the industry. Here, we bring them to you!  

Claudia K BW

Claudia Kalindjian

Unit Publicist

 Claudia, who is based in London, has been involved with the best and brightest of the UK film industry for many years. She has worked on both studio and art house films such as the Batman films, No Time To Die, Cinderella, The Da Vinci Code, Chocolat and Gosford Park. 

Kevin Loader BW vertical

Kevin Loader:


Kevin is a prolific film producer, with credits such as The Death of Stalin, My Cousin Rachel, Hyde Park on Hudson, The Personal Life of David Copperfield,  Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, Brideshead Revisited.  He will join us to talk about why stills photography is important in the world of film making. 

Jay Maidment BW

Jay Maidment:

Stills Photographer

Jay is a member of the SMPSP, and is one of the busiest stills photographers in the world, in demand on film such as Black Widow, Thor, Doctor Strange, Paddington, Spiderman, The Bourne Supremacy, and many more. Jay will talk with us about his experiences on these incredible sets.  

Debi Berry

Debi Berry:

BBC Picture Executive

Debi is based in London, has worked for clients such as Eon (James Bond - No Time To Die), 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight, Disney, Universal, The British Independent Film Awards. She was the Picture Editor for Empire magazine for many years, and has a vast array of experience in the film stills world. 

She will join us for the Portfolio Review session, and will be giving personal feedback on YOUR work.

Film Stills Fast Track

10 Recorded Modules plus LIVE group sessions on Zoom!

Film Stills Fast Track will be delivered as a combination of recorded videos; weekly, live online Q&A sessions via Zoom; and a private online group as a place for sharing images and information.

Time required - on average 3 hours of course time per week.

You'll become part of a film stills community where you can continue to ask questions, get support, and where knowledge is shared.

With all this inside knowledge you’ll have all the CONFIDENCE you need on set, which is critical to building a good name for yourself in the industry. That is how you’ll get your next job.


The two most important things you must do to build a long-term career as a film stills photographer are:

  • Build your network.
  • Create a stunning portfolio.

Both of these things stem from your on set skills.

If you know what you're doing on set, you build trust, and therefore the network of people that will refer you grows.

If you know what you're doing on set, you'll get great pictures and therefore build a great portfolio.

Let’s get started developing your on set skills together.

Learn the Art of Film Stills Photography with Nicola Dove

Enrollment for the current course is closed. Please join the Waitlist

VIP Mentoring Students get the Films Stills Fast Track Course plus 4 x 1:1 sessions with me:

It can sometimes feel like a long and lonely road to becoming a successful film stills photographer, and you wonder if you are on the right track.

Use these sessions to:

  • develop your portfolio further together with my feedback,
  • get additional support for getting onto a film set,
  • ask in-depth questions about any situation you are experiencing on set,
  • get additional mentoring to develop your career.


PLUS  you get access to me on Messenger during the week for direct messages when you need a quick answer.

Having an ally alongside you as you develop your film stills career can be invaluable.

Be first to know

when you too can join Film Stills Fast Track

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email address.
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Luma Brieuc Photographer, Canada

Luma shares her experience of the course, from her hotel in the Dominican Republic where she is shooting on second unit on a major studio film.

Matthew Towers Photographer, London, UK

Matthew is currently shooting a feature film, with others in the pipeline. He talks about which aspects of the course, and the 1:1 VIP sessions he had, that helped him the most.

Jax Photographer, New Zealand

Jax talks about how the course helped her land her first TV series.

Rich Lowe Photographer, Melbourne, Australia

Rich shares what he found most useful, and how its helped him get onto shorts and with a feature film lined up.

Julia Firak Photographer, Sydney, Australia

Julia talks about the results she achieved after the course and the benefits of learning with other photographers.

AJ Stetson Photographer, New York, USA

AJ went from having never been on set to shooting on three productions. He shares what insights he gained from the course and the 1:1 VIP sessions.

This course doesn't just fast track you it propels you on a hyper-speed journey into the world of film stills photography. Nicola's wealth of experience, along with the array of excellent guest speakers, has given me the knowledge and the confidence to get on set and shoot without fear.

David Gennard

Liverpool, UK


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