Top 7 Tips for the Ambitious Cinematographer

A good cinematographer does its job – and that’s it! However, an ambitious cinematographer would want to improve, repeatedly, until he or she feels like the amount of possessed knowledge is enough for taking even the most complicated tasks of filmmaking.

Many times, you hear people that are close to you telling you that you should just practice, practice, and then practice again. That’s not the answer if you want to be as good as you want to be.

Therefore, today, we have prepared for you this essay on art in which we’ll divulge seven of the best tips for the ambitious cinematographer. Let’s get it started!

Switch Roles with the Other Members

As a cinematographer, you must understand that everyone you are working with contributes equally to the product. If you feel like you are the most important person on set, then you should try and switch roles with some other members of your team.

You will soon conclude that you have no idea how certain things are done and that you need a lot of help in the filmmaking process – you can’t do everything!

Shoot, Shoot, and Shoot Again

Production is not the only time when a cinematographer should start shooting. If he or she wants to improve, then every opportune moment must be taken advantage of. Out for a morning run? Have a small backpack and your camera in it and whenever you notice something you’d like on film, just go ahead and start filming.

You don’t have to wait for better lighting or until you buy that neat camera you’ve always wanted – learn to handle things on your own and adapt yourself to the situation you are in when filming out of a sudden, rather than adapting the environment to fit your needs.

Start Photography

You may think that, in a film, a scene is harder to make and holds much more of the story of a character than a photo. However, this is entirely wrong.

A scene is made up of multiple shots and hundreds of frames, whereas a photo is just one frame. That frame must contain all the information required to make up a story, and then actually tell that story, and actually contain every element that’s needed in order for the viewer to understand it perfectly.

Starting photography will help you manage your shots way better – as you will learn how to put meaning in every single one of them.

Visual References

You don’t have to take over one hundred shots just because they don’t look the way you want them to look. This will tire the entire team and the quality of the subsequent shots will only worsen.

Instead, way before starting to film, pull out your trusty storyboard and visualize your shots. You can also create mood boards so that, when you are filming, you, the crew, and the actors know everything about that scene.

Know Everything about Cameras and Lenses

Naturally, you must know the equipment you are working with – moreover, you must have an extensive knowledge of different types of cameras and lenses. This is because certain cameras might not fit your cinematographic style, and the same goes for lenses.

If you truly want your end product to feel like it’s your work and send out the feelings you wanted it to send, then it’s time for you to start experimenting with everything you can get your hands on.

At the end of the day, or weeks, you will have a list of cameras and lenses that you liked the most – and that you will probably plan on using in your project.

Scouting with Your Camera

Before the actual production of your project begins, you should take your camera and go find the locations that fit best for your film. Also, finding the location that looks perfect is not enough.

You’ll have to consider some other factors that could either make your work easier or harder. You should check the power options of the locations, as well as the weather and noise pollution.

Moreover, having your camera with you and taking photos of the locations will help the other members of your team know what to expect before starting production. You could also bring a DSLR with you, as well as some lenses so that you can find out which compositions and focal lenses are fit for the locations you come across.

Follow Your Ideas – But Listen to Others as Well

Change is good – and being able to change certain parts of the production process is important. If, for example, one of your scenes just doesn’t go the way you want it to, you don’t have to keep on trying until it reaches your vision.

Be flexible, listen to different opinions, and adapt yourself to the various situations that you might encounter on set. After all, one little change in a movie can change it completely and make it a better one.


If you are an ambitious cinematographer or just someone that has come to read our article to find out more about what makes a cinematographer good, then we hope our article has helped you – even a bit!

Of course, getting to be the very best requires a lot of hard work and training – but there are hundreds of fun and entertaining ways through which you can get there.