Camera Operators


Camera Operators


Camera operators use motion picture cameras and equipment to photograph subjects or material for movies, television programs, or commercials. They may use 35-millimeter or 16-millimeter cameras or camcorders and a variety of films, lenses, tripods, and filters in their work. Many camera operators today use digital cameras, which provide the operator with a greater range of camera angles. Camera operators' instructions often come from cinematographers or directors of photography. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, as of May 2...

Quick Facts


Median Salary



Employment Prospects



Minimum Education Level

Some Postsecondary Training



On-the-job training





Personality Traits



Self-employed camera operators typically work on a project-by-project basis and may have periods of unemployment between jobs. Those working on movies may be paid per-day, and their role in the creation of the movie may last anywhere from several weeks to several months. Camera operators who are salaried employees of a television network, for example, have steady, year-round employment. Because...

Work Environment

Camera operators work indoors and outdoors. Most work for motion picture studios or in television broadcasting. During filming, a camera operator may spend several weeks or months on location in another city or country. Most often camera operators live and work in their home cities and work during regular business hours. Hours can be erratic, however, if the film includes scenes that must be sh...


Employment for camera operators is expected to grow faster than the average for all careers through 2028, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. If the economy continues to grow, the use of visual images may increase more in areas such as communication, education, entertainment, marketing, and research and development. More businesses may make use of video training films and public relation...