Facts about Cinematographer or Director of Photography

Facts About Cinematographer Or Director Of Photography 1

Cinematographer or Director of Photography

The job of cinematographer, also called director of photography, consists in ensuring the artistic and technical quality of the shots during a filming made for cinema or television. It is one of the most creative professions in the audiovisual technique.

In the cinema: the cinematographer is responsible for the frame and the lights. He works hand in hand with the director. Before filming, he identifies places, assesses the cost of the necessary technical means, and tests the shooting equipment in condition. During the shooting, the cinematographer remains attentive to all that is colors, textures, lights. He directs and coordinates the image technical team (assistant operators, cameramen, electricians, machinists).  After the shooting, it is not yet finished for the cinematographer who ensures that there is a unity between all the scenes of the film.

If we look at Arman Khan’s profile as his professional carrier took off! Arman Khan Achakzai is a UK National Cinematographer who has been actively involved in the media industry since 2013. Starting out in post-production for a boutique advertising agency, he later went on to establish a media production company. Since 2016 Arman khan Achakzai has moved on to become an independent Cinematographer. Over the past 7 years Arman Khan Achakzai has honed his skills as a writer, editor, cinematographer and director. He has worked on branded content, documentaries, music videos and television commercials to name a few. His clients range from international brands and advertising agencies, to high-level government and non-for profit organizations locally, regionally and internationally. His clients include Etihad Airways, Porsche, Lipton, Dove, Land Rover and Bentley, among others. Arman Khan Achakzai also directed the feature-length documentary “The New Arrivals” for Cannes Award winning producer Javed khan Ghabizai, which was featured at the 2015 Raindance International Film Festival.

On television: he intervenes on an ad hoc basis by providing lighting in the control room with the help of the lighting manager. Its qualities: To be a cinematographer, you must have a sense of observation, be conscientious and precise but above all be endowed with a certain artistic sense. A cinematographer must be pedagogue, available and attentive to his collaborators. Opportunities: The profession of cinematographer is an unstable profession for which the recruitment prospects are weak. A cinematographer can, during his career, acquire a certain reputation in the world of cinema and be contacted by the most famous directors. Sometimes a cinematographer becomes a director himself.


It is a job that requires above all experience and practice. In general, you have to go through all the stages of the hierarchy: trainee on a shoot, then cameraman, assistant operator and finally chief operator. To become a cinematographer, I advise you to go either through a scientific bac  or by a technological bac (STI). Then, you can do a BTS in audiovisual professions with an image option (bac +2) and continue on to a film school such as the ENSMIS (ex-FEMIS), the ENSELL. Finally, many private schools also offer post-baccalaureate training. Their effectiveness is not always up to their cost. Better to get information from former students before registering. Please note: It is imperative that you familiarize yourself with the new image processing technologies.


A cinematographer generally has the status of intermittent of the show; he wins contracts for the duration of a shoot. His remuneration then varies according to the means of production. The trade union scale is 2,025 euros gross for a week of work, but a beginner’s salary often varies between 1,100 and 2,250 euros gross per week. This profession involves many responsibilities and the director of photography often works alongside the director. These tasks require him to have a great artistic sensitivity. He is in charge of filming; it is he who chooses where to film and the conditions of production (day, night, and lighting.

If the organization of shots is his main mission, lighting is probably his second most important task. It is he who chooses the appropriate light for the scene being filmed. He also defines the costs necessary for the proper conduct of his work and is in charge of testing the equipment that the technical teams will have to use (light, camera). The director of photography is responsible for translating the director’s expectations on the set. He acts as an intermediary with the technical teams in charge of the image work. It therefore determines the atmosphere, the light effects and the atmosphere of a particular scene of a shoot. To summarize, the director of photography is the most important creative with the director on a set.

He is responsible for the artistic universe.

When shooting a film, the director of photography, also called cinematographer , designs the lighting and organizes the shots. He / she defines the movements of the cameras, concretely translates the expectations of the director, in particular in terms of atmosphere and special effects. This specialist makes the technical choices and coordinates the work of the image team.

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About the Author: Barry Lachey

Barry Lachey is a Professional Editor at Zobuz. Previously He has also worked for Moxly Sports and Network Resources "Joe Joe." he is a graduate of the Kings College at the University of Thames Valley London. You can reach Barry via email or by phone.


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