How Horton-Stephens continues the marrying of stills and motion to create successful productions


Horton-Stephens, London’s leading photographers’ agents for over 25 years, have been busy as usual shooting stills and moving image from online content to TVC. We had the opportunity to interview Mr. Horton-Stephens himself. Read on to see how Horton-Stephens have adapted to changes in the industry and grown during the past years.

By: Nick Dolding

Production Paradise: What is the origin story of Horton-Stephens Photographers Agents?

Horton-Stephens: It was started by Niall and Sue Horton-Stephens back in 1984.  Niall had fancied himself as a photographer but wasn’t actually any good.

Production Paradise: You have been London’s leading photographers’ agents for over 25 years, could you tell us more about how things have changed in the last 25 years?

Horton-Stephens: It’s difficult to give a short answer to this! Film to digital was a big one. Technological advances that allowed photographers to create great quality motion, has been another. On the client side, the migration of decision-making power from agency creatives to client side has shaped everything we do now.

By: Jack Terry

Production Paradise: Could you tell us more about how moving image has become a bigger part of what your team does?

Horton-Stephens: Shooting motion and stills together with all the new media channels just makes sense.  In these days of challenging budgets, it’s a great way to give the client value and maybe half the shoots we do now, combine both.  We love the new challenges it presents and with our stills shoot mindset, we can nearly always work with a smaller, more agile team than the big traditional motion production houses.

Production Paradise: You have worked on many different projects with clients from diverse industries, do you have a project that stands out the most for you?

Horton-Stephens: That is probably a motion shoot.  We shot 12 films for Paypal with our director Morten Borgestad.  It was maybe four years ago now and we learnt a lot, developing a great production team that we work with now, all the time.  We also shot stills alongside and it proved to be very successful.  The motion work won a gold (for best use of motion) and two silver DMA’s and a stills image won the Big Global Sony Photography Award.

By: Karen Thomas

Production Paradise: You have mentioned how CGI might be the answer for productions in the current times, could you elaborate on that?

Horton-Stephens: We look after two CGI companies.  In both cases they have always worked alone in small dark rooms, isolated from the rest of the world whilst listening to joy division, so in lockdown times they haven’t really noticed any change in their workflow.  Of course, with CGI, there is no limit to what they can create, without leaving home.

By: Additive CGI

Production Paradise: How did this year affect Horton-Stephens and the photographers you represent?

Horton-Stephens: Between us, we have put on weight equivalent to another whole member of the team. We now make amazing banana bread, and a visit to the corner shop has become the highlight of our week. Thankfully, the photographers have been working very effectively within the Covid restrictions and we have been able to fulfill pretty much every brief thrown our way.

Production Paradise: You are one of our longest-running members (more than 15 years), could you share a few words about your experience with us?

Horton-Stephens: It’s harder than ever to reach potential clients. Whilst we target our own mailouts and publicity, we can only reach a small percentage of the clients out there. Production Paradise steps in to put our work in front of all these extra people. It drives extra traffic to our website, and we couldn’t hope to discover these new contacts any other way.

By: James Bowden

Production Paradise: What can we expect from Horton-Stephens in the near future?

Horton-Stephens: Mostly we’ll be continuing the marrying of stills and motion with more and more accomplished productions. Also, there’s nothing we love more than showing new talent and i think we’re going to be showing some exciting new work soon.


We thank Horton-Stephens for the talk and invite you to see more of their latest work.

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