Movie Unit Promotional Stills Photography


Wheeling and Dealing

For around ten years I’ve been masquerading as a highly trained photographer shooting for all sorts of clients, predominantly film production companies. I’m one of those people who’re lucky enough to afford being a picky git about who I work with and sell myself to, my services aren’t open to the public even if they’re intended audience for what I shoot.

However I think it’s time to open the doors a little bit and let more people enjoy what I create. How you ask? How about selling a variety of premium quality prints? Yeah, lets do that. Have a look at my first online collection that contains prints that are available to buy RIGHT NOW! Barely in time for Christmas!


Alternatively, and for future reference, here is the Print Shop page where links to all available collections will be visible as they are created in the future.

Why haven’t I got round to selling prints before? Shooting film productions requires me to vanish from the world for months at a time. It means I’m not been able to guarantee a fully functional retail service that paying customers deserve. Additionally, online print suppliers have also been very mediocre in my eyes, filling store pages with cluttered designs made to benefit themselves and not me as an art seller. Not interested. Until now.

My prints are being handled by theprintspace, a professional photographic printer in London whom I trust to create perfectly coloured prints every time, something which is disappointingly difficult to find. Should they deviate I can go over there personally and see what’s going on. I wouldn’t accept anything less!

For this opening selection of prints I’m opting for a pricing scheme that’s aimed at being accessible for everyone at starting from £19.97 and up to £49.36 (plus shipping) for the largest sizes. Much like great films, I think prints should be available to all people who like looking at cool things.

Starting off small, this whole endeavour is completely experimental for me. Creating photos for people to buy is a very different process to shooting marketing for a film. As a long term investment to building a large and attractive selection of prints to buy, I’m going to be constantly prodding at things to see what does and doesn’t work. If feedback is positive I might even create shoots purely for the sake of selling prints.

I’ve created an FAQ page for my prints which will hopefully answer any questions you may have. If you’re still confounded by something though, get in touch at – I’d love to hear what you have to say.

More galleries and prints will go online in the near future as certain things are agreed to and the last layers of polish are added. Keep an eye out!

Portfolio! 2015 Edition!

Yup, I’ve taken up the pre-yearly naming scheme of crappy sports games. I’m sure you’ll live.

In a vain attempt to look busier than I am, I’ve decided to sit down, have a look at my portfolio for the thousandth time and decide what to do with my life. This time my mental processes came to the conclusion that I should re-jig my portfolio a little bit and do some winter cleaning.

Have a look! Portfolio! Click it!

If you know me, you’ll know that my portfolio is my greatest enemy. It’s the physical embodiment of my latest, greatest and most beautiful work, however because I’m a stereotypical creative, my huge levels of arrogance are dwarfed only by insufferable levels of insecurity. Even when everything is perfect I’ll still sit and stare at the body of work, treating it like I probably would a tarantula that magically appeared on my desk; paralysed with fear. Fortunately as one gets older, wiser, and uglier more confident, it’s not as hard to decide what works as it used to be.

When I created the 2013 edition of my portfolio, it was a hugely needed overhaul of everything. Today I’m subtly tweaking the core design ethos so that it reflects my own artistic directions. Gone are the thick black borders I used attempt a portrayal of creative authority and the page cluttering production details have been put at the back.

I’ve now opted for “BIGGER PICTURES!”, which rings much better in my head. It still looks cinematic – anamorphic aspect ratios will do that on their own – but it makes a huge difference to raw impact. Pragmatically speaking individual pages will also look much better when they’re scattered around on the internet.

There are a few new additions to the portfolio for the release, however for me it’s also laying the foundations for 2015 when more of 2014’s excellent projects will become public, I want those awesome pictures to stand big and proud for everyone to see!

If you like what you see, let me know! Give me a yell at – especially if you like it enough to hire me, you lovely person you.

Dawson James in "HUD" by Cosmo Leigh

Emma Kenny in "2:AM" by Genesis Flux / Sweet As A Productions

Autumn 2014 Round-up

Occasionally an individual photo will be released here and there, but it doesn’t validate a blog post of it’s own. Instead I’ll just quietly add them to the Gallery page. With the release of 2:AM’s key poster today, I figured that it’s a good time to show off  some of what’s been released recently.

2:AM - [Link]
2:AM Poster

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IMG_6152[s] IMG_2094[s] IMG_0256[s] IMG_0244[s]


"HUD" by Cosmo Leigh HUD by Cosmo Leigh


Like what you see and want me to shoot awesome photos for your film? Email me at and say hello!

Exotic Equipment: The Canon 1200mm f/5.6 L lens.

Working on film sets I frequently get to see and work alongside some of the best cinematography equipment available today. It’s always comforting to see Arri, Cooke or Zeiss logos floating about the camera department.

I’m a grizzled old camera guy, having seen pretty much anything camera manufacturers can throw at me I don’t get excited by camera equipment very often. I could walk past cameras and lenses that cost many thousands of pounds without really thinking much of it.

However, there are certain lenses for stills cameras that are only spoken about in gasped, reverent tones. Lenses like the alien Nikon 6mm Fisheye lens, or the extraordinary LEICA 50mm f/1 NOCTILUX, that are so rare the photography average consumer will likely never see one face to face.

Today, courtesy of MPB Photographic, a second hand photographic supplier with whom I’ve purchased goods from before, I got to meet a very special beast. The Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L lens. A near mythical lens of which no more then 2 dozen are publicly known to be made. (Click any image to embiggen!)

Canon 1200mm f/5.6 L lens nameplate

 Much like large format photography, there’s not very much concrete information about this lens floating about online, mostly ghostly rumours. So I hope to disperse the clouds of mystery, at least a little bit. Have a look at this beast!

Canon 1200mm f/5.6 L lensCanon 1200mm f/5.6 L lens

 Operating this lens very much echoes using cinematography cameras or my large format camera. You need to use it calmly and ideally planning what you’re shooting in advance. It might even behove the user to have a second person with them to help operation go a little bit quicker / more safely.

I couldn't carry this on my own if I wanted to!

I like to get very close to the lenses I use. My Canon 50mm 1.2  L lens has certain characteristics which you need to understand to fully utilise it. If you fail to pay attention to those little quirks you can easily turn an awesome photo into something very underwhelming. The 1200mm lens appears to be no different. The telescopic view is so extreme that very few subjects are actually ideal for it’s usage, and like every other telephoto lens, it isolates the subject so much that a photo can appear context-less and isolated. Focusing is also clearly something that isn’t to be rushed with such a lens. Having only 10 minutes to fiddle with the lens meant that I didn’t get the time I’d like to understand the lens.

Canon 1200mm f/5.6 L lens

This is the 1200mm seen through a Full Frame Canon 1Dx, shot with a 50mm on a 7D. Just look at the power of that magnification! At 24 times more powerful than my 50mm lens, every movement of the lens creates extreme movements in the frame of the image, every vibration makes the image that little bit softer.

So just how good is this lens? Magnification isn’t everything! It could be soft!

The guys were kind enough to let me shove my camera on the lens and give it a quick test drive.

Here is a photo of the London Eye shot with my Canon EF 50mm 1.2 L lens on a 7D body.

London Eye shot with a Canon 50mm 1.2

Here is it shot with the Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L on the 7D.London Eye shot with 1200mm Canon Lens

 Wow! This was shot from a good 200+ meters away! You can even read the warning label inside the capsule! (100 percent cropped image)


At these distances atmospheric distortion is a genuine concern, so the fact that I can read these words from such a long distance really is remarkable.

Next we turned the camera around and pointed it at Big Ben / The Elizabeth Tower. Here it is with the 50mm lens again.


Look where those guys are scaling it at the top there? Remember that spot, because damn, you’ll be lost otherwise. Here it is with the 1200mm lens.IMG_4568[1920]

IMG_4595[1920] IMG_4572[1920]

I actually loudly exclaimed “Oh my God!” when I looked through the viewfinder for these images. I’ve never, in all of my days of hanging around the streets of London seen the clock face in such detail.

Finally, here is the view across the Thames again towards the old County Hall. With the 50mm on the 7D again.


See the “County Hall” signage? I eventually realised that’s where I pointed the camera at for the next photo.IMG_4515[1920]

 Incredible levels of detail for a subject so far away, and yet I can’t help but feel that I was only scraping at the potential quality of the lens. If I was given time to familiarise myself with the optimal operation of the 1200mm lens, I would be able to make these photos much, much sharper. I would kill to have a couple of hours with myself and an assistant on a rooftop in Central London to really find out what I can bleed out of this colossal piece of glass. As long as the security services don’t think I’m trying to spy on someone!


 What a beautiful monster!


Out in the open!

I love it when films I’ve been a part of are released to the public. Projects can be under wraps for months if not years, so I’m always happy when I can prove that I’ve been a useful person and not just a make believe creative.

Go ahead and get entertained by this delightful homage to the adventure genre by Chris Cronin.

And because, you know, I’m a photographer, here’s some photography! Click to Embiggenate to full size!




Suddenly, a Film!

A couple of months ago I worked with Chris Cronin to produce my first ever short film called “The Gardeners Go To War” on behalf of Roots & Shoots to be displayed at this years RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Somehow, as if almost by magic and time travel, we have delivered a finished film, despite both me and Chris having worked on-set in numerous other films during the post production of Gardeners.

With it being the first public day of the Chelsea Flower Show, the film has also been released! Have a looksie! Cast entirely of students and staff of Roots & Shoots with no prior acting experience, “The Gardeners Go To War”  is a story about how the community surrounding a 1914 era manor house is transformed by it’s men being recruited into the army to fight in World War 1.

I would also like to take a moment to thank the key crew involved, Chris Cronin, Alex Stone, Sheara Abrahams, Lilly Hale, Joel Catchatoor for their hard work on this extraordinary project. Without these people the film would’ve been virtually impossible to pull together. Still looking for more WW1 era goodness? Here’s some more stills for you to eat up at your leisure.

If you have any comments or questions about “The Gardeners Go To War” please feel free to drop me an email at



Cinematographer Alex Stone








Cinematographer Alex Stone







A Blimp What Now?

Photographing a film set has both unique opportunities and boundaries. You’re given total freedom, except when you’ve got none at all!

During a take (recording a performance) the stills photographer is quite rightly on bottom on the list of priorities. Any noise or significant movement is an absolutely terrible offence, taking pictures is a very quick way to make enemies on set.

That is, unless you have a camera blimp!

A what now? A flying camera? How does that help in being quiet and unassuming?

Despite it being a staple piece of equipment for an on-set photographer, many people, even filmmakers don’t know what they are. So, in the vain hope of having to explain myself less often in the future, I’m going to show you what I use to stay quiet on set.

No, it’s not a flying camera.


A blimp is actually a box that’s designed to encase a camera and render it nearly totally silent while taking pictures. This particular one I own is actually a custom-made blimp that I stumbled onto in ebay. It’s a bit ragged from heavy use by it’s previous owner, however I intend to fix it up a bit and give it a sheen of polish.

Made of metal, with a lining of lead and foam, it’s designed to reduce the slapping noise of the mirror and shutters inside the camera. Here, take a listen!



For me, the silencing is the least interesting part using this equipment. It does what it says on the tin, makes the camera quiet. Even though you can here it in the video, a shotgun mic turned away will never pick it up over dialogue or environmental noise.

For me, the things worth spending time to think about is how if affects my shooting style and workflow while on set.  There are a lot of small, but important things that will change the way I shoot.

One thing, is that the blimp does not have neck strap loops on it, meaning it can only be handheld. Now I use two cameras on set, because changing lenses is a fantastic way of making sure you miss everything important, a terrible distraction. However that means that at any time there’ll be at least one camera hanging off my body in one way or another.

This now has to change, and now I’m going to be spending time making sure that the blimp is placed somewhere safe when it’s not being used. Film sets are busy, highly dangerous and variable places, even if I plop it between my feet I need to be aware of anyone that might be headed my way in case I need to move it off the ground. The last thing I want is a camera operator or gaffer to trip over my blimp when handling heavy, expensive equipment. A sure fire way of upsetting insurance companies. Additionally, I’ve also had to remove the camera strap from the camera itself to fit it inside the blimp, so even when I’m not using it, I have to worry about a strapless camera.


Another consideration is that I’m forced to change auto-focusing (AF) habits when using the blimp. By default DSLR’s tie AF to the shutter button, which is fine for casual use, however I deliberately use a custom setting to place AF on a different button, disengaging focusing from shutter release / exposure lock. It gives me extra creative freedoms for little extra complication. With the blimp however, I’m forced to reset that back to the default setting, because only the shutter button is accessible. This means that I must automatically re-focus every time I press the shutter button, a rather frustrating time waster.


The other minor frustration is the lack of monitor window at the back. To check exposures or focusing of previous images, I need to crack the blimp open. Another time-waster. Fortunately I’m confident enough to not require checking too frequently, however If I have 10 seconds to spare, I’m now far less likely to double check that everything is cool. It’s a bit of a hassle when I’m also tackling a focusing system I haven’t really used in a long time.


The last issue, is that the blimp is pretty heavy! It easily adds another kilo to an already pretty heavy collection of equipment. This in itself isn’t a huge problem, I could sure do with the exercise. However when you’re outside in a freezing cold winter, or roasting in a small studio that’s filled with cooking hot studio lights, that extra bit of manual labour can seriously detract from my mental sharpness. It means that I’m going to struggle to hold the camera steady for longer, which can be tricky when having to wait for that right moment I need to perfect a picture.


Fortunately it’s not all negative. Despite all these issues and restrictions, it’s easily worth the ability to take photos during a take. There are many situations that won’t occur when the cameras aren’t rolling. I can take photos of actors giving their best performances with the lighting at it’s most dynamic! It also means that people are less aware of when I’m taking pictures even when we’re not rolling. This helps in reducing self awareness in the subject, and enables me to photograph more naturalistic portraits. Interestingly, when I shoot without a blimp, people tend to block out the incessant clicking, however with one camera in a blimp people will now immediately pick up when I’m using my second camera due to the sudden alien noise in the environment.


The blimp can also affect the relationship between photographer and subject, especially when the subject is aware of DSLR’s but not blimps. DSLR’s are so common that the cameras themselves carry no sense of authority to the person using them, however I’ve seen that people will pay attention to someone photographing with such a weird piece of equipment. It seems to be that one must know what they’re doing if they’re capable of working with such an odd looking camera!

On the flip side, because it’s so bulky and awkward, it can slow me down, and block my face from the subjects perspective. It makes a physical barrier when I’d rather be spending time communicating face to face with the subject, instead of being a voice behind a black box. If I have time I’d prefer to take the camera out of the blimp to shoot a portrait where I need to communicate with or direct an actor.

So there you go! Camera Blimp! If you found this post interesting and would like to know more, or if you’re suddenly inspired to work with me, fire me an email at – I’d be grateful!



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