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Cinematographer Resume: Examples and Tips

Cinematographers are responsible for capturing visuals on a film, TV or video production, managing lighting, framing, composition and camera motion. To succeed as a cinematographer, you should possess creative and strong visual innovation abilities, as well as a firm understanding of shot composition and camera equipment.

To make a cinematographer resume that pops as much as a good camera shot, use our resume examples and tips below.

Top 4 Characteristics of a Best in Class Cinematographer Resume

  1. Summary In a few concise sentences, highlight your best industry-specific skills, experience level and achievements. For example: “Seasoned cinematographer well-versed with over 7 years’ experience in animated and live-action film content.” You should also mention your specialized abilities, such as using HD cameras.
  2. Skills Determine the skills you should feature by reviewing the job description. Include a mix of technical skills (e.g., shooting interview segments, or filming using green-screen setups) along with interpersonal skills that demonstrate your ability to bring a director’s vision to life, such as implementing feedback for positive outcomes, a collaborative spirit, and smooth communication skills.
  3. Work history Focus on your achievements in previous roles rather than standard tasks, and show how you’ve deployed your skills to achieve success. For example, “Shot award-winning short film using a combination of 16mm and 4K video”). Make sure you paint a well-rounded portrait of yourself by highlighting different roles you’ve played, whether it’s managing scene set-ups and crews, or working in tandem with a director to realize a creative vision.
  4. Education List your degrees or professional credentials related to multimedia, photography or filmography. You should also mention any prominent projects you contributed to as part of your education.

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Use these three professionally-designed templates to create a resume that makes the right visual statement:

Acclaimed

This template is divided into two columns, clearly separating section headings from content, creating a polished effect that goes beyond the standard black-and-white resume.

Bold

This template lays out your credentials in a neat and clutter-free manner, while also adding a splash of color to the job applicant’s name to make it stand out.

Fresh

This template uses a strong header and font to make a statement. The section headings are placed in the margins to make your document easily scannable.

For more free designs you can use to craft your resume, visit our resume templates page.

Do’s and Don’ts for Creating Your Resume

  • DO include non-technical skills Traits such as a keen eye for detail, organizational skills and an artistic sensibility are fundamental to the role of a cinematographer. Look through the job description to pinpoint these types of soft skills, and make sure they’re addressed in your skills section.
  • DON’T use first-person pronouns Resume conventions don’t call for using first-person language to describe yourself and your achievements. Instead, use strong verbs to describe your achievements, and accentuate how you’re in charge of them. For example: “Managed shoots and edits for high-quality video,” or “Deployed innovative camera techniques on award-winning short film.”
  • DO tailor your resume for each job No film or video gig is exactly the same as another, and the same should go for your resume. Create different versions of your resume for individual jobs, scanning each job description to identify specific requirements each employer is looking for, and adjusting your resume accordingly. This might involve highlighting different sets of skills or work experience, depending on what the job demands. For example, a position with an independent video production will call for more hands-on involvement in pre or post-production processes, compared to a high-budget film.
  • DON’T make your resume too long One page is the standard for most resumes, so instead of overloading your resume with too much information, make sure all your details are relevant to the job in question. Limit your work history section to the past 10 years, and instead of listing all responsibilities for previous jobs, focus on the recognitions you’ve received (e.g., an award for a particular film you participated in), as well as a healthy variety of accomplishments that show the range of your abilities.
  • DO list all relevant internships, projects and collaborations  Independent projects and contributions to the work of other artists adds credibility to your portfolio — add them to your work history section, or create a section called “Projects” to highlight them.
  • DON’T forget to proofread All the best shot prep goes for naught if there’s even a slight lighting error or speck of dust in the lens. Prove you have the right attention to detail by applying it to your resume. Check your document for typos, spelling errors and grammar mistakes before submitting, and make sure you haven’t missed out on including the right array of skills and work experiences that address the job you’re applying to. Also look for a trusted, reliable contact to read your resume for you — a second pair of eyes can often catch mistakes.

Cinematographer Resume FAQs

1. What skills should you emphasize for a cinematographer position?

In addition to keywords from the job description that you will integrate throughout the resume, consider including some of the following skills:

Technical skills:Non-technical skills:
Knowledge of creative lighting techniquesCreativity
Creating animation and motion graphics for enhancing videoDecision making
Location selectionProblem-solving
Knowledge of latest cameras and camera formatsVisualization abilities
Proficient with video and audio editing software like Adobe PremiereCommunication skills
Repair and fix broken audio/video footageFlexibility
Scene composition understandingMultitasking
Practical application of videography rulesTime management
Make unique and innovative scene set-upsEfficiency
Equipment handlingLeadership skills
Willing to work long hoursTeamwork
Technical skills:
Knowledge of creative lighting techniques
Creating animation and motion graphics for enhancing video
Location selection
Knowledge of latest cameras and camera formats
Proficient with video and audio editing software like Adobe Premiere
Repair and fix broken audio/video footage
Scene composition understanding
Practical application of videography rules
Make unique and innovative scene set-ups
Equipment handling
Willing to work long hours
Non-technical skills:
Creativity
Decision making
Problem-solving
Visualization abilities
Communication skills
Flexibility
Multitasking
Time management
Efficiency
Leadership skills
Teamwork

2. How should you format your resume?

To write a resume for a cinematographer, a combination format is the most suitable. List your skills along with a chronological list of your work history which includes notable credits. Recruiters give priority to hands-on experience in the entertainment industry. If you have the experience, highlight your work history section on the resume to showcase tangible work. If you are a first-time job seeker, focus on clearly listing out your skills, connecting them with the ones mentioned in the job description.

3. What are some examples of training and certifications that fit a cinematographer’s resume?

Institutes like the New York Film Academy and American Film Institute provide opportunities for students of cinema background to get professional cinematography certifications. Courses and workshops in documentary filming, photography, editing and creative post-production can help distinguish your resume from others. Emphasize relevant training and workshops in your education section, such as certification in Multimedia Management from the American Films Institute.

4. How should you craft your resume if you’re looking to take the next step forward in your career?

To move up the ladder in the entertainment industry, build your resume around the following:

  • Proficiency in framing, blocking, film lighting and script interpreting with an artistic vision.
  • Completed an advanced course in various types of scene compositions.
  • Gained on-set experience of managing equipment and crew. Activities such as setting up the scene and procuring equipment for the shoot help improve overall understanding.

5. How should you incorporate keywords in the resume?

Thoroughly go through the job description and make notes of important phrases and requirements such as “handle equipment,” “edit footage” and “creating graphics.” Include these keywords in your resume without overcrowding them. Scatter the relevant information and specific keywords across sections.

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