Celebrity photographer Nick Wall about film industry: “Take the punches, it’s rarely personal”

Nick Wall made his way to the top and has produced portraits of famous artists such as David Bowie, Colin Firth, Glenn Close, Jude Law, Pierce Brosnan and many many more. His amazing TV work includes photography on Game of Thrones, McMafia and Downton Abbey. Nick’s film stills include movies such as The Duchess, Dom Hemingway and The Woman in Black. He often does both the onset photography as well as the poster shoots, such as in Florence Foster Jenkins. He shared some lessons he learned in the TV and Film business as a photographer and film director. 

How to become a celebrity photographer

Like most photographers starting out, one does all sorts of different photography; fashion, beauty, food, portraiture etc. Then see which ones stick. The demise of magazine publishing in the digital age makes it more difficult, but getting in with one of the photo agencies can be way in. Specialising in movie or TV is another way, doing stills for shorts and student films to build a portfolio, edit and delete ruthlessly before you deliver. 

Lessons learned in the film industry

Always be polite; take the punches, it’s rarely personal; always engage with the trainees and assistants, they are the future; it’s not a glamorous working environment; invest in good cold & wet weather wear. 

Few ways of making an excellent portrait

Use the environment around you to make a good setting, there’s always somewhere good to use; gain the celebrities trust and collaborate; know how to use light, don’t be afraid of experimenting; fit the style to the subject and project, rather than your own ego. 

Advice for actors

Know your angles, don’t be afraid of going over the top, enjoy yourself you’re a performer, work with the photographer suggested ideas, constantly change body shape to find that one good shot, keep moving.