There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a cinematographer. For example, did you know that they make an average of $34.73 an hour? That's $72,245 a year! Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 11% and produce 7,900 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Cinematographer Do

There are certain skills that many cinematographers have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed communication skills, computer skills and hand-eye coordination.

How To Become a Cinematographer

If you're interested in becoming a cinematographer, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 73.3% of cinematographers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 5.7% of cinematographers have master's degrees. Even though most cinematographers have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Cinematographer Career Paths

Average Salary for a Cinematographer

Cinematographers in America make an average salary of $72,245 per year or $35 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $118,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $43,000 per year.
Average Cinematographer Salary
$72,245 Yearly
$34.73 hourly
$43,000
10 %
$72,000
Median
$118,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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How To Become a Cinematographer
How To Become a Cinematographer Career Overview

States With The Most Cinematographer Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active cinematographer jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where cinematographers earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Cinematographer Jobs By State

RankStateNumber of JobsAverage Salary
1New York13$120,561
2California11$92,490
3Texas6$79,297
4Arizona6$65,152
5Pennsylvania5$73,221
6Virginia5$64,814
7Massachusetts4$94,218
8Utah4$77,147
9Illinois4$70,896
10Florida4$54,813
11Ohio3$73,376
12Wisconsin3$68,460
13Colorado3$66,561
14Washington2$83,994
15Minnesota2$69,949
16Missouri2$63,585
17Georgia2$50,723
18Oregon1$83,788
19New Jersey1$84,058
20Maryland1$78,300
21Nevada1$67,026
22Nebraska1$65,353
23Indiana1$62,172
24North Carolina1$58,885
25Tennessee1$51,129
26Alaska0$100,112
27Michigan0$96,825
28New Hampshire0$94,336
29Vermont0$91,428
30Connecticut0$90,427
31New Mexico0$83,587
32Montana0$82,815
33North Dakota0$80,577
34Maine0$81,339
35Arkansas0$75,894
36Rhode Island0$76,120
37Idaho0$75,067
38South Dakota0$72,151
39West Virginia0$71,215
40Iowa0$67,744
41Kentucky0$65,512
42Delaware0$65,960
43Wyoming0$64,100
44Louisiana0$63,967
45Hawaii0$66,757
46South Carolina0$63,190
47Mississippi0$61,996
48Kansas0$62,274
49Alabama0$55,431
50Oklahoma0$50,567

Cinematographer Education

Cinematographer Majors

Cinematographer Degrees

Bachelors

73.3 %

Associate

12.8 %

Masters

5.7 %

Top Colleges for Cinematographers

1. Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,740
Enrollment
5,567

2. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

3. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

4. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

5. Texas State University

San Marcos, TX • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,280
Enrollment
34,187

6. Minnesota State University - Mankato

Mankato, MN • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,184
Enrollment
11,675

7. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

8. American University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition
$48,459
Enrollment
7,485

9. Loyola Marymount University

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$48,522
Enrollment
6,557

10. Brigham Young University

Provo, UT • Private

In-State Tuition
$5,620
Enrollment
31,441

Top Skills For a Cinematographer

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 15.2% of cinematographers listed video production on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and computer skills are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Cinematographer Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Cinematographer templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Cinematographer resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Cinematographer Demographics

Cinematographer Gender Distribution

Male
Male
85%
Female
Female
15%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among cinematographers, 14.7% of them are women, while 85.3% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among cinematographers is White, which makes up 64.7% of all cinematographers.

  • The most common foreign language among cinematographers is Spanish at 43.6%.

Work Experience Programs For Cinematographers

Virtual work experience programs replicate work at top companies and help you gain the skills to be successful when applying and working there. In only a few hours, learn the relevant tools necessary to complete a typical work day at that company. Virtual work experience programs are 100% free, open-access, and self-paced. No experience or application is required!

Product Design Program

Company: Accenture North America

Cost: Free

Duration: 4 hours

Online Courses For Cinematographer That You May Like

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Photography Beginners: DSLR Photography Camera Settings
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Photography settings - learn how to get the most from your DSLR camera and improve your photography!...

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Shoot better video by learning the video production techniques used by Hollywood filmmakers. And get paid to do it!...

Photography - The Nikon D3400 DSLR Camera user course
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Master your Nikon D3400 DSLR and shoot great pictures and videos...

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Top Cinematographer Employers

Most Common Employers For Cinematographer

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1Showtime Networks$148,169$71.242
2Intel$106,111$51.012
3Maryland Institute College of Art$83,275$40.042
4Major League Soccer$82,803$39.812
5Orca Systems$77,161$37.101
6Sun Journal$76,673$36.861
7Charles Ryan Associates$73,736$35.451
8National Geographic$67,427$32.422
9Sony New Media Solutions$65,436$31.461
10Arrow Industries$64,411$30.972