Cinematographer Job Description, Key Duties and Responsibilities

By | July 15, 2023
Cinematographer Job Description
Cinematographers may be required to travel to various locations for filming.

This post provides in-depth information on the cinematographer job description, to help you understand the work they do.

It highlights the key duties, tasks, and responsibilities that commonly make up the cinematographer work description.

This article also presents the major requirements that you may be asked to fulfill to be considered for the cinematographer role.

Please, read on:

What Does a Cinematographer Do?

The cinematographer job description entails virtually every aspect of the filmmaking process, including working on independent, low-budget productions.

It also involves preparing production sketches and ideas to present to the director in visual form before beginning filming.

The cinematographer supervises the final editing process at the studio or in post-production to ensure that all shots are properly aligned for optimal video quality.

An important part of their job is to ensure that prints are not too dark and all advertisements have been removed.

A cinematographer is also in charge of setting up a presentation for the director or other members of the crew on the day before filming begins.

They are also responsible for ensuring that all equipment, props, and actors are prepared on set before shooting begins.

Like other crew members, the cinematographer must be able to work independently and creatively without constant supervision from someone over their shoulder as they work.

As a cinematographer, you have to set up shots on a set or location with other crew members to create the look of a film.

Meeting with the director and actors to discuss the different shots that need to be filmed on set, or setting up lighting orders for those actors after the day’s filming, is also one of their duties.

Cinematographers are sometimes expected to travel to various locations for filming.

A cinematographer for digital films use technology to create images that look natural and realistic, as well as able to provide good lighting and design on set without assistance from the director or other crew members.

More on Cinematographer Job Description

They schedule and order film stock, camera equipment and supplies or other equipment needed for filming in coordination with the production manager or film producer.

Furthermore, cinematographers check in with other crew members on set to update them on their plans for filming each scene or sequence.

They attend preproduction meetings with the director and other members of the crew to discuss the story line and plot of the film, as well as shooting locations.

It is also their duty to prepare materials for a script meeting, such as charts that accompany certain shots, or plot maps and diagrams.

They produce effects to enhance a scene with visual effects equipment during filming.

Cinematographer Job Description Sample/Example/Template

The cinematographer job description consists of the following duties, tasks, and responsibilities:

  • Prepares for the shoot
  • Sets up the shot(s) through planning and coordination with director, camera operator and other members of crew
  • Monitors the shot(s) through use of a monitor or viewfinder when live action is being recorded simultaneously
  • Stores and organizes footage from an attempt to see if it meets quality standards or work out any problems
  • Reviews and marks footage, cuts or edits during post production
  • Works with the film editor to make sure the shots filmed will fit into the final movie
  • Looks at the script and decides with the director how to execute it photographically
  • Sets up lights and other technical equipment required for the shot(s), using standard lighting instruments and types of lighting gels or filters
  • Works closely with director, actors, and other crew to create settings for effective shots or sequences
  • Advises the director on camera angles and lighting
  • Sets up the camera to record sound or film in various situations (e.g. nature, a city street)
  • Sets up cameras and other media equipment for shooting sound or television productions
  • Advises the director on when to make a call sheet or notify the production company of the dates, times, and locations of the shoot
  • Uses lighting instruments to achieve desired results (e.g. enhance facial features)
  • Repositions the camera or camera angle to get perfect angle and perspective
  • Reviews footage and decides whether shots can be used, or whether they need to be re-shot
  • Writes a shot list of all the shots needed for filming of a scene (e.g. individual angles, cutaways and close ups)
  • Decides on lighting and other special effects required for scenes (e.g. rain, snow).

Cinematographer Job Description for Resume

If you are making a new resume or CV as someone who has worked previously as a cinematographer or are currently working in that role, you can express that work experience in the Professional Experience section of your resume by applying the above cinematographer job description example.

You can highlight the cinematographer duties and responsibilities from the job description sample above in your resume’s Professional Experience section, to show that you have been successful working as a cinematographer.

This piece of information in your resume can greatly help to influence the recruiter/employer to hire you, especially if the cinematographer work experience is important to succeeding on the new job.

Cinematographer Job Requirements: Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities for Career Success

If you are seeking to work as a cinematographer, here are major requirements employers/recruiters may want you to fulfill to be hired:

  • Must use previous experience to gain knowledge of lighting, camera angles and special effects
  • Ability to stay within the budget set forth by the Production Company or studio (e.g. hiring people without a script or without proper funds)
  • Must follow the laws and regulations according to the countries and states where they are working
  • Ability to work as part of a team in order to meet deadlines
  • Must be able to communicate effectively with other members of crew in order to achieve the best results
  • Willingness to work in remote locations and adverse weather conditions
  • Ability to learn new technologies as they become available
  • Must be able to work under pressure and on a tight schedule
  • Ability to deal with stress and have good time management skills
  • Must be willing to take on new challenges related to the job (e.g. learn how to use a new tool or software)
  • Comfortable working with actors, directors and producers during directing of a film or television production
  • Ability to communicate effectively with them, give them ideas on how they can be enhanced, and allow them to focus on their performances.

Cinematographer Salary

According to, the average cinematographer salary in the United States is $50980 as of March 29, 2022, with a compensation range generally from $44,335 to $58,570.


This post is beneficial to individuals interested in the cinematographer career; they can boost their knowledge of what cinematographers do from the content on this page.

It is also useful to recruiters/employers needing to hire competent individuals for the cinematographer role.

They can create a detailed job description for the position for use in their hiring process by applying the cinematographer job description example above.