Updated on Oct 7, 2022 07:27 IST
Ritika Srivastava

Ritika SrivastavaAssociate Senior Executive, Editorial

Cinematography is the art of photographing and telling a story visually in a film or television presentation. Lighting, framing, composition, camera motion, camera angles, film selection, lens options, depth of field, zoom, focus, colour, exposure, and filtration are all part of cinematography. Here, we will provide you with complete details regarding Cinematography, its courses, eligibility, entrance exams, job profiles and much more. Read on to know more about the courses and how to make a career in the field of Cinematography.

Cinematography Eligibility Criteria

As mentioned above, candidates can pursue Cinematography at UG, PG and other levels as well. A foundation degree is not required to get enrolled in a certificate or diploma programme, but determination and commitment will always take a long way. However, a degree or certificate that demonstrates some experience in the field is usually a plus. A degree in subjects like Mass Communication & Media or Film making and more is relevant to the field.

Cinematography Courses

Candidates interested in having a career in the field of Cinematography can pursue the programme at certification, diploma, dual diploma and degree level. The time duration for the courses can be as short as 3 months and as long as 3 years. Popular courses under the programme are given below:

Cinematography Diploma Courses

Cinematography Dual or Integrated Degree

Cinematography Certificate Courses

PG Diploma in Film, Television & Digital Video Production

BSc in Cinema + Diploma in Cinematography

PG Certificate Course in Electronic Cinematography

PG Diploma Cinematography

BSc in Cinema + Diploma in Direction

Certificate in Cinematography

Diploma in Video Camera & Lighting

B.Sc in Cinema + Diploma in Post Production

Digital Cinematography using RED

NCVTE Master in Diploma in Cinematography

MSc in Cinema + PG Diploma in Acting


NCVTE Diploma in Digital Cinematography

MSc in Cinema + PG Diploma in Direction



MSc in Cinema + PG Diploma in Post Production


Note: Apart from the courses mentioned above, there are various colleges that offer proper degree courses like B.Sc in Film Making, M.Sc in Film Making and more.

Also Read:

Cinematography Colleges

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Cinematography Entrance Exams

Generally, a candidate can directly apply for the programme by visiting the official website of cinematography colleges. But, there are a few entrance exams of a few institutes or colleges through which the admissions are conducted:

Skills Required For Cinematography 

Besides practical experience, there are a host of other skills and qualities that a cinematographer must possess. Some of them are listed below:

  • Networking Skills
  • Technical Expertise esp. Camera and Film production process
  • Flexible Creativity
  • Written and Visual Storytelling
  • Strong Communication Skills
  • Excellent listening skills
  • Team management skills

Cinematography Syllabus

The subjects taught in a Cinematography course vary according to the level of the course. Although the topics mentioned below are broadly covered in almost all the subjects:

Cinematography Syllabus
Cameras for Motion Picture Transfer of Film to Video Tele-Cine Different Types of Film Cameras
Cinema Projection Digital Film Production Shooting through Mirrors Underwater Shooting
Rigging the Camera Demo Reel Introduction to 3D Introduction to CGI
Cinematography Analysis Colour Theory Film History and Theory Film and Digital Laboratory
Optics & Digital Art Media Workshops on Cinematography Batteries for Motion Picture Camera Various Section of Motion Picture Lab
Colour Negative and Intermediate Film Film and Digital Camera Techniques Digital Postproduction Exponometry
Colour Film Printing Colour Correction Sensitometry Films in Motion Pictures
Screening of Films Aerial Photography Various Camera Tests Different Types of Shooting Formats
Web Designing Visual Effects Shooting in Snow Audio and Video Editing

Cinematography Job Profiles & Top Recruiters

Unlike in the past, when the film industry was the only option, cinematographers can now work in TV and web series, film development units, studios, and video businesses. Not only in India, but also worldwide, they have a plethora of work opportunities. Short films, web series, TV shows, documentaries, and other forms of media have also provided opportunities for aspiring cinematographers. Some of the main job profiles are stated below –

Director of Photography: The director of photography collaborates with the film director and is in charge of the visual aspects of the production. Their main responsibilities include deciding on a film's visual style, lighting and composition, and camera angles.

Video Editor: As a film/ video editor, you will be required to manage raw camera footage, sound effects, graphics, and more to create a final film or video. It is a very crucial job in the post-production process, and the quality and timeliness of the final output will be dependent on your abilities and work.

Cinematographer: The camera and lighting team are overseen by a cinematographer, also known as a Director of Photography. They're the ones in charge of the look, colour, lighting, and framing of each and every shot in a movie.

Other than the profiles mentioned above, a cinematographer can also work as a Cameraman, Videographer or as Freelancer, working independently for various projects.

Candidates can work with various production houses like Yashraj Films, Dharma Productions, Balaji Telefilms, India Today, Doordarshan etc.

Read More:

FAQs on Cinematography

Q. Is the role of a Director similar to that of a Cinematographer?

A. No. While the director is in charge of the camera, the cinematographer is in charge of making it happen. Exposure — the technique of altering camera settings to achieve the intended look of an image — is one of the most important issues for cinematographers.

Q. Which are the popular colleges/ universities offering Cinematographer courses?

A. Some of the popular Screenplay Writing colleges in India are – Xavier Institute of Communications, BVBFTS , Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT), Asian Academy of Film & Television, and many more.

Q. Is a career in Cinematography a good choice?

A. It differs from one individual to the other, depending on one's choices and interests. It is true, though, that the more experience you have with this topic, the better it is. The field is both fascinating and exciting to work in. It is all about your perspective towards filmmaking and the process involved in it.

Q. What is the average Cinematographer salary in India?

A. As per payscale.com, a cinematographer starts with an average salary of Rs. 3,60,004 per year. However, as you grow and gain experience, the salary package increases exponentially. In addition, most Cinematographers also earn bonuses, as per their performance and work.

Q. Is Cinematography a right field choice for me?

A. For this role, one must have experience esp. in the camera department. With this; technical skills and in-depth knowledge of lighting and filmmaking is also important. The ability to make creative decisions and organisational skills are a must too. If you have all of this, then this is the field for you.

Q. What are the basic roles and responsibilities of a Cinematographer?

A. They are also known as the Director of Photography (DP or DOP) and plays the most senior and important roles in a movie/ TV production. Their major role is to deliver the director’s vision and create the look and feel of the movie, through lighting, set-up, and camera operation.

Q. Which are the top and most important elements in Cinematography?

A.  The topmost elements are – Lighting, Shot size, Camera focus, Shot composition, camera placement and movement.

Q. Who are the top most cinematographer in India?

A. Some of the well-known cinematographers in the industry are Swapnil S.Sonawane, widely known for his work in Sacred Games (India’s first Netflix original), Anil Mehta known for movies like Kal Ho Na Ho (2003), Highway (2014) to name few.

Q. What job opportunities are available as a cinematographer?

A. Candidates who want to enter this field can start by joining a business as an assistant dimension cinematographer. After gaining proper experience, one can then work at a senior level.

Q. Which are the basic and major topics covered under the Cinematography course at all levels?

A. The major topics that are common at all the levels are listed below:
  • Film screening, shooting, appreciation
  • About Cameras, types, angle and it's functioning
  • Lighting, its basics and techniques
  • Introduction to lenses

Q. What is the standard time duration of a Cinematography course in India?

A. In India, the duration of the Cinematography course can vary between 3 months to 3 years, depending on the level of the programme.

Popular Cinematography Colleges in India

Following are the most popular Cinematography Colleges in India. Learn more about these Cinematography colleges (Courses, Reviews, Answers & more) by downloading the Brochure.
1 Course
50 K

#8 Shiksha Collections

1 Course
16.52 K
1 Course
64 K
5.67 L

#28 Shiksha Collections

9.75 L
1 Course
74.98 K

#24 Shiksha Collections

Popular Private Cinematography Colleges in India

1 Course
4.58 L
2.75 LPA
15 K
1 Course
1 Course
50 K

#8 Shiksha Collections

1 Course
16.52 K
1 Course
64 K

Most Popular Courses

Following are the most popular Cinematography courses, based on alumni reviews. Explore these reviews to choose the best course in Cinematography.

Popular Cinematography UG Courses in India

Following are the most popular Cinematography UG Courses . You can explore the top Colleges offering these UG Courses by clicking the links below.

UG Courses

Popular Cinematography PG Courses in India

Following are the most popular Cinematography PG Courses . You can explore the top Colleges offering these PG Courses by clicking the links below.

PG Courses


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