Choose a new chapter
About ClassZone  |  eServices  |  Web Research Guide  |  Contact Us  |  Online Store
ClassZone Home
McDougal Littell Home
Algebra 1
Home > Algebra 1 > Chapter 1 > Career & Applications > Director of Photography
Return to book index Chapter 1 : Connections to Algebra
Director of Photography

Director of Photography

A director of photography for a motion picture works closely with the film's director and producer to help create the visual feel of the film, choosing the type of filming equipment and film used, and the composition of the scene being filmed, using a wide variety of sophisticated equipment to capture images on film or video. The equipment can vary depending on the nature of the assignment. For example, local television and cable broadcasts typically use video cameras while entertainment productions commonly use motion picture cameras.

In addition to film and video, photographers also use cameras to capture still images. By carefully choosing appropriate lighting, lenses, filters and camera settings, a photographer can exercise a great deal of control over the image-creation process. Most photographers specialize in portrait, commercial, or news photography.

Education and Training

Some colleges offer programs of study in art, film, and media which provide education and instruction in relevant topics, as well as opportunities to gain actual work experience as an intern. For example, if you study filmaking as an art major, you may make a film as part of your coursework. Art majors may also have the opportunity to take multiple courses that provide exposure to technical aspects of photography and other media.

Director of Photography

Career Path: To be a director of photography for a motion picture requires a variety of film-industry related experience. A director of photography may have worked his or her way towards this position by acquiring experience in camera operation and related visual effects. This type of experience may be gained in a variety of media-related jobs such as those of a photographer, television, video, or film camera operator, film or video editor, or a cinematographer.


In the U.S., photographers may need the following education and training:

Career Path: The field of photography is very competitive. Because of this, many people gain experience through entry-level jobs. For example, some might set up lights or help monitor and run equipment. Others may assist more senior members of a photography staff with a variety of routine tasks. Eventually, as experience is gained, positions of greater responsibility may present themselves.

  • many photographers receive post-secondary education at colleges and universities or photographic institutes

On the Job

Gaining experience in media-related fields often requires the flexibility to work varied hours under diverse conditions. Since making a motion picture can be a long and detailed process, the ability to work well in cooperation with others is a plus. Those employed in media-related projects may be required to work with tight deadlines in fast-paced and possibly stressful working conditions.

Many photographers are self-employed. Much of their business comes from the recommendations of previous clients. Self-employed photographers may experience long and irregular hours. They may also need to be available to work on short notice.

Math on the Job

Those who work in visual media benefit from a solid understanding of scale and proportion. Photographers and other workers who are directly responsible for film, video footage, or photographic images also must be technically proficient, especially with the increased use of computer technology. Photographers that print their own photographs must apply a variety of math skills to the production process.

Related Careers

  • A cinematographer uses skill with lighting, cameras and other related technical equipment to create the desired mood-setting appearance of a film.
  • camera operator
  • photographer

You can get more information about an art-related career from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. .