Take A Picture. It Will Last Longer

3 July 2012 | 11:04 am | Jake Millar

“The less experienced the actor, the more difficult they are to work with. I’m not going to name any names, but it’s always people who are up-and-coming who like to throw their weight around.”

Hugh Jackman, Cameron Diaz, Jake Gyllenhaal – just some of the people Bradley Patrick has worked with over the years. Sure, they might be among the world's biggest movie stars, but you can forgive the Australian photographer for name-dropping – after all, for Patrick it's just another day at the office.

“Everyone else at high school wanted to be engineers, doctors or lawyers, but I knew I wanted to be a photographer from my very first photography class,” Patrick says of his early ambitions. “Now they all want my job.”

And it's small wonder. Patrick's career has seen him travel the globe shooting the world's hottest stars for the likes of Vanity Fair. But he could have taken a very different path.“I was actually offered a job as a war reporter by Reuters,” he recalls. “But I was assisting another photographer at the time and I thought if I took it I'd never come back to Australia.” Instead, Patrick turned his lens to Australia's party scene as a social photographer and before long, he started to make contacts in the film industry. His first big break arrived when he was given the chance to do set photography on The Great Raid, a $70m blockbuster starring Benjamin Bratt and James Franco.

“It was my pretty much my film school,” Patrick says of the experience. “I learned a hell of a lot about what happens on a film set and how to conduct yourself.” Patrick never looked back and has since worked on dozens of film sets shooting portraits of screen legends. But when it comes to diva antics, Patrick says it's rarely the megastars who pose a problem.“The less experienced the actor, the more difficult they are to work with,” he says. “I'm not going to name any names, but it's always people who are up-and-coming who like to throw their weight around.”

“The bigger the actor, the more gracious and humble they are, and Morgan Freeman was the perfect example of that. The day I shot him he'd probably done 50 interviews and I was only meant to have 20 minutes with him but we shot for two and a half hours, which was pretty amazing.” “I also got to work with Sir Michael Caine on The Quiet American, and seeing someone of his magnitude on set was an incredible opportunity.”Those keen to follow in his footsteps are in luck – this month Patrick is back in Australia to host a photography master class. While it's unlikely you'll be shooting Sir Caine anytime soon, it's a chance for budding photographers to gain some insider knowledge.

“The three most important things are lighting, content and engaging the subject,” he says, by way of a complimentary tip. “And the basic rule when you're taking a photograph is to work in thirds. If you picture a rectangular image and you put two vertical lines through it, you want your subject to be in the middle or off to either side.” Once the class wraps up, for someone who's spent much of his life on film sets, Patrick's next move is unsurprising. “My next step is moving into directing. I've directed three short films and I'm in the middle of writing my first feature,” he says. “But I'll always be a photographer and I'll always love taking portraits of people.”

Photographic Masterclass with Bradley Patrick runs from Saturday 7- Sunday 8 July.