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Cinematographers and Directors of Photography

Director of Photography—Career Q&A: Professional Advice and Insight

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The cinematographer, also known as the director of photography or DP, is a master of the movie camera and lighting equipment. This professional is instrumental in establishing the mood of a film by putting the narrative aspects of a script into visual form. The cinematographer is responsible for every shot's framing, lighting, color level, and exposure—elements that set the artistic tone of the film. Approximately 29,400 television, video, and motion picture camera operators (a category that includes cinematographers) are employed in the United States.

Salary Range

$25,000 to $100,000

Minimum Education Level

Bachelor's Degree




Faster than the Average
Personality Traits


Hands On


Career Ladder

Assistant Director of Photography

Camera Operator

Assistant Camera Operator

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