Career As A Cinematographer

5 mins readComment
Ritika Srivastava
Associate Senior Executive, Editorial
Updated on Dec 29, 2022 22:15 IST

Cinematographers are responsible for filming a video, movie or a short film. To become a good cinematographer it is very important to have knowledge of camera and technology. Candidates can know more about the career as a cinematographer in the article given below.

Career as a cinematographer

Cinematographers are also known as directors of photography. A cinematographer is responsible for filming a video, movie or short film. He/she is in charge of how the lighting, props, actors, and everything that appears on the screen should look. Usually a cinematographer has to work closely with the director and set designer. He/she harnesses digital technology and the latest developments in filming equipment to improve the way movies are captured. With the introduction of autonomous drones, Ultra HD 3D technology and VR, the Indian film industry has changed drastically. Cinematographers work in the television, documentary and advertising industry. In the case of larger productions, several cinematographers work on a single project simultaneously. Read on to know more about the courses and how to make a career in the field of Cinematography.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Cinematographer

Cinematographers help decide how the picture should look on the screen, the angles from which the scene should be shot, and the lighting and set design. Cinematographers do not work alone, but have a team that works with lighting technicians, set designers and directors. As a cinematographer, you have to be ready to work odd hours. You may have to work early morning or late night depending upon the requirements of the project. Apart from this, a cinematographer also has to travel a lot in connection with the work. To become a well-established cinematographer, you have to slowly climb the career ladder. You have to start from the bottom and work your way up to the top. Most cinematographers start out as assistant technicians and work under established cinematographers to gain the necessary experience and skills. Only then do they start working independently. An experienced and well established Cinematographer in India working on freelance basis.

Skills Required For Cinematography 

Candidates can ensure their success by working hard, practicing their skills and learning from other successful cinematographers. Success in this field also depends on how you apply your skills and theoretical knowledge in the field. There are a host of skills and qualities that a cinematographer must possess. Some of them are listed below:

  • Artistic and technical knowledge and skill
  • Knowledge of computers, as well as other technology in the field and how to use them
  • Good communication skills
  • Written and Visual Storytelling
  • Team management skills
  • Adequate training and experience
  • Understand how different equipment works, what advantages they offer, and other related aspects
  • A keen eye for detail

How To Become A Cinematographer

To pursue graduation in Cinematography, a candidate must have scored a minimum of 60% in 10+2 in any stream. At UG level, candidates can pursue BA or BSc in Cinematography. Candidates can opt for MA/MSc/MFTech courses at PG level after completing graduation with at least 50% marks. To take admission in some institutes one has to qualify the entrance test.
Apart from UG or PG courses, candidates can also pursue certificate or diploma courses from reputed institutes to expand their knowledge. Working under another cinematographer or practicing your skills is a good way to ensure your success in this field.

Courses in Cinematography

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

BSc 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 BSc in Film Making, MSc in Film Making and more.

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:

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.

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About the Author
Ritika Srivastava
Associate Senior Executive, Editorial

Ritika has about six years of editorial experience in digital and print media. She has a special interest in education and current affairs. In her spare time, she enjoys travelling and reading.


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