How to become a director of photography
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- a college course
- working towards this role
- specialist courses run by private training providers
You can do a foundation degree, higher national diploma, degree or postgraduate qualification in a relevant subject. Examples include:
- film making or film studies
You'll usually need:
- a foundation diploma in art and design
- 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
You can take a college course to develop your camera skills before looking for work. Relevant courses include:
- Level 2 Diploma In Creative Media Production and Technology
- Level 3 Diploma in Film and Television Production
- Level 3 Diploma in Photography
It may give you an advantage if you can find a course that offers practical experience and possibly a work placement.
You'll usually need:
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and a creative subject
You could work your way up from being a:
- camera operator trainee
- lighting trainee
It's also helpful to have experience of working as an assistant director. You'll need a lot of experience before you can move on to become a director of photography.
You can improve your prospects by developing specialist filming skills like aerial, night-time or underwater photography.
It'll help if you can get paid or unpaid experience with:
- community film productions
- amateur or student film projects
- independent film production companies or camera equipment suppliers
You may be able to get training through one of the new entrant training schemes that broadcasters and film bodies offer, for example:
You could also take short courses in camera operation run by film schools, regional screen agencies and private training providers.
Get as much experience as you can of taking still and moving images. Build a portfolio of your work and use online media channels to promote yourself.
Follow video making companies and other film makers' social media accounts for advice and work experience opportunities. Look out for local film festivals and opportunities to network with other creatives.
Professional and industry bodies
You could join an organisation like the British Society of Cinematographers for industry news and latest developments in camera techniques and technology.
You can get more advice about working as a director of photography from ScreenSkills.
You can also find out more about working in the creative industries from Discover Creative Careers.