On every movie project there is a moment when the still photographer sets up and shoots the crew photo. For those that do not know what this is, it is when most of the working crew on a movie project gets together, usually during lunch, to pose for a team photograph.
Working on movies is a team effort, and on every movie job we work with different people. After working day in and day out, for many weeks, 12 hour days, the crew bonds and becomes like a family. So crew photos are very important, because everyone wants to have a small token memory of the people they worked with.
But crew photos are usually sterile and boring. You find a moment when you can put crowd everyone together, standing and sitting, in order to fit everyone in the shot. However, many people are left out of the photo. It is impossible to get everyone in the same shot. The bulk of the crew are working on location, but there is a large part of the crew that are many miles away, in an office. These include accounting, art department, wardrobe, etc.
The other problem with crew photos is that when you pose for the photo, you see the camera, but many times the camera does not see you. Many crew members are hidden behind the heads of the crew members that are in the front, and they are not recognizable in the photo.
I am a perfectionist, so I was not happy taking these type of crew photos, and I felt I needed to do something different.
On most of the movies I work on as a still photographer, I also shoot the poster. I set up a studio on location, usually for two or three days, in order to capture the actors in character. When I do this, I tell the assistant directors that I will shoot the crew in my portable studio during lunch. Lunch goes by quickly, so it takes me three days to shoot the whole crew. The advantage of doing this is that I am able to take photos of not only the crew working on the set, but also the crew in the office, and I am able to also include the awesome shots I take of the actors for the poster.
Once I shoot all the crew, the fun begins! Since I shoot everyone against a green screen, it is easy to pull them out of the background. I then start placing every single crew member into a single photo, creating a montage. This gives me the opportunity of placing them where ever I want in the photo, adding text, and creating a very dramatic montage. Crew members love this. It takes me almost a week of work to do this, and I do not get paid for this time, but I love doing this. It is my way of saying thank you to all the people I worked with during production.
Also, as a photographer, I love doing this, because it gets my creative juices flowing!