Cinematographers

The cinematographers are the professionals in charge of the technical and artistic aspects involved in the shooting and development of the film, i.e. movie photography. The cinematographer, often referred to as the director of photography, acts as the film director’s main visual collaborator. During the early days of motion pictures, it was often the director who doubled up as the cinematographer. But with advancements in photography techniques and artificial lightning, the art of cinematography demanded the services of a separate dedicated specialist. The cinematographer’s job is a highly responsible one. In the preproduction stage, the director and the cinematographer discuss the overall vision for film, before embarking on a scene by scene discussion. He then determines the requirements for each scene, arranges for the required equipment and coordinates with other crew members to begin the production stage. At this stage he works closely with the director and guides his crew to ensure that each scene is shot to match the director’s vision. He has to decide the combination of cameras, the camera setups, and lighting arrangements. They also need to ensure that everything is kept within the photography budget. Browse the biographies listed below to explore the life and works of various world famous cinematographers and learn about their lives through their timelines and information about their personal and professional lives.
More From Cinematographers

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Cinematographers

 1 Steve-O

Steve-O.
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 13, 1974
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wimbledon, London

British-born American comedian and TV personality, Steve-O, gained international fame with his performance stunts in the TV series Jackass. Following a nomadic childhood, he graduated from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College and began his career as a clown. He eventually started appearing on TV shows and became popular.

 2 Robert Downey Sr.

Robert Downey Sr..
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 24, 1936
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: USA

Robert Downey Sr. was an American actor and filmmaker. He is best remembered for making satirical films, such as Putney Swope that influenced and inspired the Counterculture of the 1960s. He is also credited with shaping the film career of his son Robert John Downey Jr.

Recommended Lists:

 3 Alton Brown

Alton Brown.
4
Famous As: TV Personality, Celebrity Chef, Author
Birthdate: July 30, 1962
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Alton Brown soared to fame as the creator of the Food Network culinary show Good Eats. He has also hosted shows such as Iron Chef America and Feasting on Asphalt. He has authored several bestselling cookbooks. He also created two culinary shows on YouTube during the COVID-19 lockdown.

 4 Daniel Moder

Daniel Moder.
4
Famous As: Cinematographer
Birthdate: January 31, 1969
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California
Daniel Moder, husband of legendary actor Julia Roberts, is best known for his Emmy-nominated cinematography in the TV drama The Normal Heart. He is also known for his camera work and cinematography in the films Secret in Their Eyes, Spider-Man 3, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and The Mexican.
Recommended Lists:

 5 Gwen Verdon

Gwen Verdon.
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 13, 1925
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Culver City, California, United States
Died: October 18, 2000

Four-time Tony-winning actor Gwen Verdon is remembered for her SAG-nominated performance in Marvin’s Room. She was known for her signature red hair and her love for cats. She was nominated for Emmys for the series Magnum, P.I., Dream On, and Homicide: Life on the Street. She inspired the series Fosse/Verdon.

 6 Todd Fisher

Todd Fisher
4
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: February 24, 1958
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA

Todd Fisher is an American cinematographer, director, producer, and actor. The son of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, Todd played a major role in carrying on the legacy of his parents by serving important positions in the Debbie Reynolds Hotel & Casino and Debbie Reynolds Management Company, Inc. In 2013, he became the CEO of the Hollywood Motion Picture Museum.

Recommended Lists:

 7 Jim Hanks

Jim Hanks
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 15, 1961
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Shasta County, California, USA

Jim Hanks is an American filmmaker and actor. Jim is best known for substituting voice roles for his brother Tom Hanks and acting as the latter's body double in many of his films, including Forrest Gump. Tom has credited Jim for creating the mannerisms of Forrest Gump as he had based the mannerisms on the simpleton mannerisms created by Jim. 

You May Like

 8 Roger Deakins

Roger Deakins.
4
Famous As: Cinematographer
Birthdate: May 24, 1949
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Torquay

English cinematographer Roger Deakins is known for his collaborations with ace directors such as Sam Mendes and the Coen brothers. He gained fame with his Academy Award-winning cinematography in the films 1917 and Blade Runner 2049, and his work on The Shawshank Redemption and A Beautiful Mind.

Recommended Lists:

 9 Gaspar Noé

Gaspar Noé
4
Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: December 27, 1963
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Buenos Aires, Argentina

 10 Ed Begley Jr.

Ed Begley Jr.
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 16, 1949
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

American actor and environmentalist, Ed Begley Jr., is perhaps best known for playing the role of Dr. Victor Ehrlich on the NBC medical drama series St. Elsewhere. Equally at home on big screen, he has worked in numerous feature films, also appearing in award-winning mockumentaries like Reboot Camp.  An environmentalist since 1970, he has authored several books on the subject.

 11 Cary Joji Fukunaga

Cary Joji Fukunaga
4
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: July 10, 1977
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Oakland, California, USA

Cary Joji Fukunaga is an American TV director and filmmaker. In 2014, Fukunaga became the first director of Asian origin to earn a Primetime Emmy Award under the Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series category; he won the award for directing the first season of the popular crime drama television series, True Detective.

 12 Damon Herriman

Damon Herriman
4
Famous As: Actor, Cinematographer, Screenwriter, Film director, Film producer
Birthdate: March 31, 1970
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Adelaide

 13 Tony Curran

Tony Curran
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 13, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

 14 Caleb Deschanel

Caleb Deschanel
4
Famous As: Cinematographer, Film director
Birthdate: September 21, 1944
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Philadelphia

Caleb Deschanel is an American film and television director and cinematographer. In 2000, he won the American Society of Cinematographers Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography for his work in the epic historical revisionist war film, The Patriot. Deschanel has also played an important role in shaping the careers of his daughters, Zooey and Emily Deschanel.

 15 Sam Taylor-Johnson

Sam Taylor-Johnson
4
Famous As: Filmmaker
Birthdate: March 4, 1967
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London, England, UK
Sam Taylor-Johnson, a British filmmaker and photographer, belongs to the Young British Artists group. Her notable works include Nowhere Boy, Fifty Shades of Grey, and Love You More. Her film Nowhere Boy was screened at 53rd annual London Film Festival as its closing presentation in 2009. She is known for directing the famous film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey.

 16 James Wong Howe

James Wong Howe.
4
Famous As: Cinematographer
Birthdate: August 28, 1899
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Taishan, Guangdong, China
Died: July 12, 1976
Chinese-American James Wong Howe Known, known as The Poet of the Camera, had aspired to be a boxer but then earned his living as a bellboy and a cleaner, before stepping into cinematography. The Oscar-winning cinematographer used innovative techniques with the camera, such as roller-skating to film fighting scenes.

 17 Robert Osborne

Robert Osborne
4
Famous As: Actor, Television actor, Biographer, Film actor, Historian, Journalist, Screenwriter, Cinematographer, Film producer
Birthdate: May 3, 1932
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Colfax
Died: March 6, 2017

Best known for his over two-decade-long stint as a Turner Classic Movies host, Robert Osborne also gained fame for his penning The Official History of the Academy Awards and the National Film Book Award-winning 50 Golden Years of Oscar. A qualified journalist, he also wrote columns for The Hollywood Reporter.

 18 Zhang Yimou

Zhang Yimou
3
Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: April 14, 1950
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Xi'an, Shaanxi, China

Part of the Chinese Fifth Generation of filmmakers, Zhang Yimou is best known for his Academy Award-nominated films Ju Dou, Raise the Red Lantern, and Hero. His most expensive film, The Great Wall, was, however, a box-office failure. He also directed part of the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony.

Recommended Lists:

 19 Adam Wingard

Adam Wingard
3
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: December 3, 1982
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA

Adam Wingard is an American filmmaker. A multi-talented personality, Wingard has worked as a director, editor, screenwriter, actor, cinematographer, and composer on several projects. Adam Wingard is best known for directing the 2007 horror film Pop Skull, which won the Best Feature Film award and the Jury award at the Indianapolis International Film Festival and Boston Underground Film Festival respectively.

 20 Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino.
0
Famous As: Fimmaker
Birthdate: March 27, 1963
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Popular film director, screenwriter, and producer, Quentin Tarantino, first rose to fame as an independent filmmaker in the early 1990s. His films are known for their nonlinear story-lines and neo-noir elements and have garnered both critical and commercial success. He is the winner of two Academy Awards and has been called "the single most influential director of his generation."

 21 Emmanuel Lubezki

Emmanuel Lubezki
3
Famous As: Cinematographer
Birthdate: November 30, 1964
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mexico City, Mexico

 22 Louis Malle

Louis Malle
3
Famous As: Screenwriter, Film producer, Film director, Camera operator, Cinematographer, Actor
Birthdate: October 30, 1932
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Thumeries
Died: November 23, 1995

Louis Malle was a French film director, screenwriter, and producer best known for his film Le Monde du silence, which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1957. He was also the recipient of two Golden Lion awards, one of the only four directors to have achieved this feat. He was active in both French cinema and Hollywood.

 23 Travis Knight

Travis Knight
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 14, 1967
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Reading, Pennsylvania, United States

Travis Knight is a film producer, director, and animator. He is best known for working as the lead animator for the stop-motion animation studio, Laika. In 2013, he won the Annie Award for his work in the film ParaNorman. Knight also directed Kubo and the Two Strings, which won the Best Animated Film award at the British Academy Film Awards.

 24 Gareth Edwards

Gareth Edwards
4
Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: June 1, 1975
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England

 25 Costa Ronin

Costa Ronin
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 3, 1979
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kaliningrad, Russian SFSR RSFSR, Soviet Union USSR (now Russia)

Costa Ronin is a Russian-born New Zealand cinematographer and actor. He is best known for his appearances in international projects like Red Dog, East West 101, The Americans, and Homeland. In addition to being a cinematographer and actor, Costa Ronin is also a passionate motorcyclist.

 26 Mr. Pete

Mr. Pete
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 30, 1980
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Mr. Pete is an American pornographic director and actor. Over the course of his career, Mr. Pete has won many prestigious adult industry awards, such as AVN Awards, Urban X Award, XRCO Award, and XBIZ Award. In 2014, he was inducted into the AVN Hall of Fame.

 27 Russ Meyer

Russ Meyer.
3
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: March 21, 1922
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: San Leandro, California
Died: September 18, 2004

Russ Meyer was an American film producer, director, screenwriter, editor, and cinematographer. He is best remembered for directing a series of popular sexploitation films, such as Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens and Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! After his death, the majority of his estate and money went to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, as per his will.

 28 Martin Kenzie

Martin Kenzie.
3
Famous As: Cinematographer
Birthdate: April 29, 1956
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cambridge
Died: July 16, 2012

 29 Alexandra Pelosi

Alexandra Pelosi
4
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: October 5, 1970
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States

Alexandra Pelosi is an American documentary filmmaker, journalist, and writer. Many of her documentary films including Journeys with George, which she made from her recordings of George W. Bush's presidential campaign, have earned her critical acclaim. Alexandra Pelosi has also contributed immensely to NBC News where she worked as a field producer for a decade.

 30 Matt Ross

Matt Ross.
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 3, 1970
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Greenwich, Connecticut, United States
Matt Ross is an American actor, screenwriter, and director. He is best known for directing a comedy-drama film titled Captain Fantastic which earned him the Un Certain Regard Prize at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. As an actor, he is known for his portrayal of Eddie Scott in the historical drama film Good Night, and Good Luck.

 31 Barry Sonnenfeld

Barry Sonnenfeld.
3
Famous As: Filmmaker
Birthdate: April 1, 1953
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

Barry Sonnenfeld is an American television director and filmmaker. After starting his career working on pornographic films, Sonnenfeld went on to direct popular films, such as the Men in Black trilogy, Get Shorty, and Wild Wild West. He is also credited with directing a couple of episodes of Pushing Daisies, for which he won the Primetime Emmy Award.

 32 Janusz Kamiński

Janusz Kamiński
3
Famous As: Cinematographer
Birthdate: June 27, 1959
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ziebice, Poland

 33 David Lean

David Lean.
3
Famous As: Film Director, Producer & Screenwater
Birthdate: March 25, 1908
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Croydon, Surrey, England
Died: April 16, 1991

 34 John Asher

John Asher
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 13, 1971
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA

John Asher is an American film director, actor, and screenwriter. He is best known for his portrayal of Gary on the popular TV series, Weird Science which was based on the 1985 film of the same name. A multi-talented personality, John Asher has also worked as a writer and cinematographer.

 35 Nicolas Roeg

Nicolas Roeg
3
Famous As: Film director, Cinematographer
Birthdate: August 15, 1928
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London

 36 Lynne Ramsay

Lynne Ramsay
3
Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter, Cinematographer, Film producer
Birthdate: December 5, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Glasgow

 37 Eleanor Coppola

Eleanor Coppola
3
Famous As: Film director, Actor, Screenwriter
Birthdate: May 4, 1936
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Los Angeles

Eleanor Coppola is an American artist, documentary filmmaker, and writer. The wife of Francis Ford Coppola, Eleanor has often been credited for the success of her husband. Eleanor Coppola is also credited with founding an organization called Circle of Memory which aims at commemorating loved ones. She also manages the Rubicon Estate Winery which is owned by her family.

 38 Hoyte van Hoytema

Hoyte van Hoytema
3
Famous As: Cinematographer, Artist
Birthdate: October 4, 1971
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Horgen

 39 Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Rainer Werner Fassbinder
3
Famous As: Film maker
Birthdate: May 31, 1945
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bad Wörishofen, Germany
Died: June 10, 1982

Rainer Werner Fassbinder was a German actor, filmmaker, and playwright. He grew up in the aftermath of World War II and had a tough childhood. He sought solace by watching films and took acting lessons. He began his career in theater and eventually entered films as well. He is considered a prominent figure of the New German Cinema movement. 

 40 Patrick McDermott

Patrick McDermott
3
Famous As: Cameraman
Birthdate: September 18, 1957
Sun Sign: Virgo

Patrick McDermott was an American cameraman who has been missing since June 30, 2005. McDermott, who was in an on-again, off-again relationship with Olivia Newton-John for nine years, disappeared from a fishing charter boat off the coast of Los Angeles. His disappearance has given rise to many theories, including McDermott faking his own death to start life afresh in Mexico.

 41 Mark Angel

Mark Angel.
3
Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: May 27, 1991
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria

 42 Jeremy Saulnier

Jeremy Saulnier
3
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: June 10, 1976
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: USA

Jeremy Saulnier is an American cinematographer, film director, and screenwriter. He is credited with writing and directing critically acclaimed films, such as Blue Ruin which holds an impressive 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2015, Jeremy Saulnier was honored at the Film Independent Spirit Awards with a John Cassavetes Award nomination.

 43 Louis Le Prince

Louis Le Prince
3
Famous As: Inventor, Film director, Cinematographer
Birthdate: August 28, 1841
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Metz

 44 Lloyd Kaufman

Lloyd Kaufman
3
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: December 30, 1945
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City, United States

Lloyd Kaufman is an American film producer, director, actor, and screenwriter. Kaufman is credited with co-founding Troma Entertainment film studio along with producer Michael Herz. Kaufman is also credited with directing many successful films like Tromeo and Juliet and The Toxic Avenger. As an actor, he played important roles in films, such as The Transfiguration.

 45 Jan de Bont

Jan de Bont
3
Famous As: Film director, Cinematographer, Film producer
Birthdate: October 22, 1943
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Eindhoven

 46 Santosh Sivan

Santosh Sivan
3
Famous As: Cinematographer
Birthdate: February 8, 1964
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Thiruvananthapuram, India

 47 Robert Frank

Robert Frank
3
Famous As: Photographer
Birthdate: November 9, 1924
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Zürich, Switzerland
Died: September 9, 2019

Robert Frank was a Swiss documentary filmmaker and photographer best remembered for his photographic book The Americans which earned him comparisons with the likes of Tocqueville. An acclaimed photographer, Robert Frank won many prestigious awards, such as Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography in 1996 and the Edward MacDowell Medal in 2002.

 48 Maurice Krafft

Maurice Krafft
3
Famous As: Volcanologists
Birthdate: March 25, 1946
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Alsace, French
Died: June 3, 1991

 49 Mack Sennett

Mack Sennett
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 17, 1880
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Richmond, Canada
Died: November 5, 1960

Mack Sennett was a film actor, director, and producer. He specialized in comedy and was known as the 'King of Comedy'. Born in Canada in 1880, he moved to USA as a young man and entered the fledgling film industry as an actor. He found considerable success and went on to open Keystone Studios in Edendale. 

 50 Sean Stone

Sean Stone
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 29, 1984
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

Sean Stone is an actor, filmmaker, and TV host. He gained massive popularity for hosting the RT America show Watching the Hawks with Tyrel Ventura and Tabetha Wallace. The son of an actor father, he was introduced to show business as a child. After establishing himself as an actor, he made his directorial debut with the film Graystone. 

See Also