Thursday, 25th April 2019


Directors of photography are key heads of department in both television and film productions. Usually requested by the director and producer, directors of photography are responsible for giving a film its visual signature and style, working with lighting, framing and camera movement. A director of photography should be able to study a script and realise the visual aspect and photographic heart of a film.

One of the main roles of the director of photography, working in film or television, is to oversee the lighting during filming, creating different shots and scenes. They have technical expertise of working with cameras and lighting, and know how to achieve certain effects using light and shade. Working closely with gaffers, grips and camera operators, directors of photography decide on how best to obtain the desired style of the film.

The work of a director of photography is highly skilled so a vast knowledge of equipment and techniques is desirable. Directors of photography can be very particular about the appearance of a scene, with the need to achieve a specific vision. It is therefore important to know how to delegate and work well with the other members of a team.

Typical duties of a director of photography include:

  • Testing special lenses, filters or film stocks
  • Ordering lighting equipment and preparing before a shoot
  • Checking and maintaining the upkeep of the equipment
  • Liaising with teams and ensuring that results are in keeping with the desired style
  • Attending post-production and viewings with the director
  • Checking all relevant health and safety requirements for the workplace

Hours of work can be long and strenuous, much like the process of becoming a director of photography. Yet with enough experience and dedication, the rewards can be great.