Productions always need still photographs for marketing. That’s where Kimberley French comes in. She’s shot still photos and behind the scenes on such renowned movies as Oscar award-winning film Brokeback MountainThe Assassination of Jesse JamesShooter, Twilight and Halloween Resurrection, but French even claims the poster images for Brokeback MountainJesse James, and Red Riding Hood.

Fstoppers: Tell me a bit about how you got your start with photography.

Kimberley French: My grandmother gave me a Kodak Instamatic camera when I was seven, I’ve loved photography since then. I went to college for English literature and philosophy and I loved it but was attracted more to the visual, so after two years I decided to go in another direction. My mom said “do something you love”. I took the photography program at a community college, and I ended up working for a local newspaper, the Nelson Daily News. I worked as a freelance photographer for five years after that, as well as working jobs to pay the rent, that was my early 20s.
 
Fstoppers: Feature film still photography is a pretty specialized niche. Did you always know this was what you wanted to do?

Kimberley French: No, a friend of mine was an independent director, and he said, “You’d make a great still photographer.” And I said, “What’s that?” A few years later I went to film school, and a still photographer came in to talk to us, and I loved what he had to say about the job.

I was really curious so I apprenticed with him. There is a little bit of snobbery when it comes to television versus movie photography. A lot of major studios won’t hire you for films if you do TV, but TV will be thrilled to have you if you shoot film. My mentor suggested that I shoot both, and that’s what I did, although most of my early years as a still photographer were spent on independent film sets. I got my big break with Brokeback Mountain and The Assassination of Jesse James.

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