Film Stills Fast Track

Accelerate your film stills career with this self paced course by stills professional photographer Nicola Dove

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 Self Paced Course?

  • 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 the Film Stills Fast Track Self Paced Course 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 - A Self Paced Online Course

  • Nine Training Modules to set you up for getting on set and becoming a confident Film Stills Photographer
  • Videos, Workbooks, Assignments, Slideshows, Shot Lists. Everything is lifetime access so you can rewatch anytime. 
  • 60-90min modules 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.
  • Membership inside the private Film Stills Fast Track Facebook group. You become part of a supportive community with fellow students, and mentors to guide you and give you personalised feedback.

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 on set that help you gain the best access. And access is everything!
  • 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.
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.

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! 

Below are examples of guest speakers from a previous course. 

*Guest Speakers are part of the live sessions. Limited replays are included in the self paced course.


Charles MacDonald


Charles, who is based in London, has been involved with the best and brightest of the UK film industry for many years. He has worked on both studio and art house films in supporting film makers to publicise their films around the world, of which photography plays a large part. 

Judy BW

Judy Hofflund:


Judy, based in the USA, has produced films such as Murder on The Orient Express, Disney's Artemis Fowl, and the upcoming Death On The Nile, and will join us to discuss the importance of photography in film marketing.

Hopper BW small

Hopper Stone:

President of SMPSP

Hopper is the President of the SMPSP - the Society of Movie Picture Stills Photographers and one of the most experienced stills photographers around. He has an enormous wealth of experience to share with the Fast Track students, especially those based in the US where there are often a lot of questions about the Unions there. 

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. 


Film Stills Fast Track

Nine modules of jam-packed Stills Photography training

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

Upgrade to Full Course later

Invitation Join the next live Q&A sessions with Nicola

You'll be invited to sign up for the next Live Course of students and be part of a growing community of stills photographers around the world.

The ten Live Q&A sessions add incredible value to the information delivered in the recorded modules, and are a chance to deepen discussions on everything covered in the course.

Included in the live sessions are a group portfolio review session and guest expert sessions.

More information will be provided to you when the next course will be happening. The next round will be early 2024. 

Cost to upgrade: $597

Film Stills Fast Track Full Course with live Q&A

Receive a $100 discount by purchasing all the content from the self paced course, as well as the live Q&A sessions, portfolio review and guest experts right now. 

Live calls and Q&A sessions will start early 2024

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



© 2020-2024 Film Stills Academy. All Rights Reserved.

FSA Logo_Horizontal

Four Lights PTY Ltd and Nicola Dove, trading as Film Stills Academy and this training is in no way affiliated with or endorsed by Facebook, LLC