what is a stills producer?

The Stills Producer organises photoshoots (or stills!) Much the same way as a movie producer but obviously on a smaller scale…

A Stills producer will coordinate all the logistics vital to a successful shoot, such as flights, accommodation, ground transportation, car transport, props, models, permissions etc, as well as handling the cash on a day-to-day level and of course, organising the location for the shoot to take place.

If appropriate, a stills producer will also create a comprehensive Call Sheet for everyone involved, ensuring that all the models and crew know exactly what will happen, in which location, in which order and when. We usually provide detailed directions from base, or hotel to location and between locations.

Key Skills;
Estimating and budget management
Casting and talent management
Crew booking and management
Large body of industry contacts
Location scouting
Permitting and location management
Production planning, scheduling, call sheets
Concise information distribution between client, agents,
production managers, photographer/director, crew, talent
Accommodation and travel arrangements
Database and digital asset management as required

UPDATE 29/04/09
found this great job description of a stills producer on the following site; The South African Association of Stills Producers


The business of Stills Production starts and finishes with the work of the Producers and of the Production Department. Without the strenuous efforts of these dynamic individuals there would be no shoots and no stills industry. It is their role to foster a protected environment in which creative individuals can be brought together, and in which their talents may be cultivated.

Stills Production is a complex business which effectively requires the setting up, running, and closing-down of a substantially sized organisation, solely for the purpose of producing a single photographic shoot. Therefore, those who work as Producers (and indeed, throughout the production department) must be highly motivated, multi-tasking individuals, who have the creative vision, the business acumen, and the single-minded determination to do whatever it takes to see that the shoot is produced to the best of everyone’s abilities.

Producers are highly self-motivated individuals, who have the final responsibility for all aspects of a production. He or she is frequently the first person to become involved in a project; they participate directly in all the main producing phases, and in the SA Stills Industry, have usually been involved in working with the client from the sales and marketing phase.

Producers have overall control on every aspect of a shoot’s production, bringing together the cast, finances and production team. Their primary responsibility is to foster an environment in which the creative talents of the cast and crew can flourish – Producers are therefore ultimately accountable for the success of the finished shoot. Producers many responsibilities span all five phases of Stills Production:

Sales and Marketing – Producers are responsible for travelling internationally to sell the concept of South Africa as a stills production destination. They meet potential clients (photographers, photographic agents, advertising agencies etc.) and introduce them to the range of options available in South Africa, as well as the possible costs involved.


Development Once a foreign client has a job, they begin the process of obtaining quotes from potential Production partners around the world. Producers are often requested to provide detailed quotes


Pre-production – If the job is confirmed, Producers begin assembling the key members of the creative team, including the freelance crew and principal cast. Producers also participate in location scouting, and approve the final production schedule and budget.

Production – Producers are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the producing team, though many practical functions are delegated to the Production Manager. Producers are also in constant communication and consultation with the Photographer / Client, and with other key creative personnel, on and off set. Producers approve all production decision and cost reports, and continue to serve as the primary point of contact for all production partners and clients.

Post-Production – Producers are expected to liaise personally with post-production personnel, including the film processing labs. They also supervise the collation of invoices and the confirmation and sign-off of the final budget.

Unlike feature film or television, where it
is rare to find one Producer who has the expertise and vision to exercise personal decision-making authority across all four phases of production, Stills Production requires dynamic multi-taskers able to function effectively in all area. Whilst Stills Producers do delegate some of these functions to Production Managers, the Producer is responsible for the majority of the producing functions throughout all the processes of the shoot.

Producers must be good businessmen, strategists, motivators, negotiators and creative visionaries, with the ability to spot, and deal with, potential problems before they materialise, and the drive to do whatever it takes to get the shoot made. They need an extensive knowledge of cinematic narrative, and a thorough understanding of all the creative processes of still production. They must know how to:

·         prepare a budget for the production;

·         control the overall planning of the production;

·         ensure compliance with regulations and codes of practice;

·         select crews and suppliers to meet production requirements;

·         identify and select talent;

·         scout, select, book and organise permissions for locations;

·         control the progress of productions; and supervise the post-production elements of completed shoot.


They need to be excellent communicators, able to act decisively and sensitively under enormous pressure. As a supervisor and enabler of creative people, they are expected to be able to plan, inspire, supervise and delegate.


Producers have a legal responsibility to prepare health and safety procedures for the workplace. They must identify hazards, assess the risks, and develop procedures to control the risks. They must also review the procedures, and check that they are effective in the workplace.

As the originator of such a large project as a stills production there is no predetermined route to becoming a Stills Producer. A number of colleges offer courses in producing; however, it is impossible to master all the necessary skills by study alone. To convince clients to part with their money, Producers must demonstrate a successful track record in stills production and typically, they have substantial stills industry experience.

The orginal document can be found here; http://www.saasp.co.za/documents/PRODUCER-STILLS.doc

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