We frequently attribute a film’s award-winning style to its director. However, every significant shot is the responsibility of the director of photography (DP). The director of photography creates the visual elements of a film utilizing both a creative vision and technical ability.

They are responsible for all facets of photographing with a camera, including the camera itself, shooting positions and movements, film and lens selections, lighting, framing, color, and filters.

In partnership with production personnel and the director, the director of photography conceptualizes and creates the aesthetic of a film. Occasionally, they design the tone, color, lighting, special effects, and mood of the film using mood boards or look books.

A Director of Photography’s Duties

During pre-production, the DP often participates in site scouting, script analysis to develop a shot list and storyboard, determining what equipment is required, hiring their crew, and choosing the heads of the departments they are in charge of.

During production, the director of photography (DP) directs the camera and lighting crews, instructing them on composition and movement and analyzing each day’s raw footage. Not only do they have the largest crew on set, but they also maintain constant communication with the production designer and director to ensure that everyone adheres to the same aesthetic. In addition, they will be there during rehearsals to adjust the camera in response to a gesture, action, or change in blocking.

In post-production, the director is in charge of the editing process. On occasion, the DP may be called to offer guidance on color grading or assist with take selection. The director of photography provides reports to the director. They supervise the camera operator, the first and second assistant cameras, gaffers, electricians, and grips.

Cinematographer vs Photographic Director

A “cinematographer” is a person who is skilled at using and manipulating a camera to generate the desired visual approach or effect. The phrases director of photography and cinematographer are often used interchangeably. The director of photography (DP) is the most senior member of the cinematography department and is in charge of supervising employees and equipment on the set. Every shot is created in collaboration with the director by the DP, who is both a technician and an artist. To learn more, please contact us.