What is Cinematography in Film?

What is cinematography in film? As a film person you may have an idea. It is no longer be very unfamiliar to the reader. Film students or film scholars know more or less about core responsibilities of a cinematographer because they study or do research about this.

In this essay, I will just elaborate this familiar topic with intuitive examples. I hope reader will get a complete idea about cinematography in the world of film industry. So let’s begin with a precise written portraying of cinematography first of all.


Taking pictures in a film, making an action scene exciting and thrilling, creating meaning with all story telling tools and finally making a film looks aesthetic- DOP/ Cinematographer of a film does all of these jobs. The all tasks that a cinematographer accomplish in a film is collectively called cinematography.

Cinematography is the art and craft of making motion pictures by capturing a story visually. It consists of all on-screen visual elements, including lighting, framing, composition, camera motion, camera angles, film selection, lens choices, depth of field, zoom, focus, color, exposure, and filtration.

Conditions of Good Cinematography

Cinematography is something which has to be studied deeply before going for the job. It is the heart and soul of a film. A good cinematographer/DOP can rewrite the destiny of a film as it brings out the visual effect of the film. There are some factors that good cinematographers do in their film. For instance,


The first and foremost condition of good cinematography is to be subjective. That means that if the story is told, it keeps pace with the story. Suppose a horror story is being told and the camera is telling a story of laughter. In this case, cinematographer could not maintain subjectivity. If it is a horror film, then the camera angle, movement, use of light & color and all other story telling tools should be used according to the mood of the story. That is to say, A good cinematographer will sit the equipment in such way that its usage can bring out the ghostly environment.


An excellent cinematographer not only improves the film quality but also brings out the power of great visual storytelling. Sometimes in films, scenes don’t even require dialogues to convey messages. Signature of a talented director of photography is what makes the films outstanding and unique by their creativity. Above all, he does it through setting good framing as well as its composition.

Use of Lighting

A good cinematographer must need to know perfectly the use of lighting. He has to play with light and shadow according to the mood of film. No matter it is day or night! A skilled and smart DOP can create any environment when needed. He knows how to create daytime environments at night and night time environments during a day. However, It becomes possible when cinematographers know the use of lighting accurately.

Proper Visualization

Before a film ever makes it to the screen, it’s first a script. But for that script to become a film, it requires the transformation of those descriptions into motion pictures. That’s where cinematography becomes essential to the film making process. A good cinematographer sees the visual before making it. If the visual is not in his head, he/she will not able to depict it on screen properly. Consequently, good cinematography includes proper visualization.

Set the Focus

Good cinematography refers the clear focus of the film. Part of a cinematographer’s job is to play with focus to assert different aspects of the story. For example, a good cinematographer has to know well where to focus and where not. He has to have a clear idea about key focused subject and out of focus objects in a frame.

Why Cinematography in Film is Important?

Cinematography in film is an art. It is not about to show off one’s skill. It is a technique of hiding own self. For the sake of the story, the cinematographer works to captivate the audience with the illusion of the story behind the camera. Cinematography sets the overall look and mood of a film’s visual narrative.

Each visual element that appears on screen and the entire the mise-en-scène of a frame is dependent on cinematographer. They can serve and enhance the plot and so it is important in film making. Producers spend the majority of their budget to ensure qualitative cinematography. As a result, the film looks incredible on the big screen and makes the film profitable.

Last Words

The eye behind the camera always has to work harder. At the end of the day impression left by the pictures and movements captured by cinematographers. Cinematographer is that person who operate camera by using the maximum of their abilities which remain in the hearts of film fans forever. An expert DOP helps in learning more about cinematography from real life experience of professionals who have mastered the art of cinematography.