Do you want to make movies as part of a production team? Is your passion shooting videos and taking pictures?

Animated GIF showing the words LIGHTS CAMERA ACTION.

Are you creative? Do you have a good eye for photography, and love recording videos?

If your answer is yes, an exciting career as a camera operator might be your future career path!

Flaticon Icon

What Do Camera Operators Actually Do?

Image of a steadicam operator shooting a scene with a woman posing on a wrecked airplane.

A camera operator is a media professional who:

  • operates the camera and captures the footage for films, TV programs, news, and other video content.

  • works with directors, cinematographers, and many other crew members to set the shot, film it and create the best visual story of the script.

  • may also work with drone operators, drone pilots, and dolly grips.

Camera operators are also known as:

  • Cameraman/Camerawoman/Cameraperson

  • Professional video camera operator

  • Video camera operator

  • Television camera operator

  • Studio camera operator

  • Steadicam operator

  • Electronic news gathering operator

  • Cinematographer

Wondering If You Have What It Takes?

Meme with a Game of Thrones character saying

As a camera operator, you should have:

  • An artistic eye

  • A technical mind to know well your camera and all film equipment

  • Excellent hand-to-eye coordination

  • Creativity to set unique shots and capture exclusive footage

  • Aptitude to follow instructions of directors, cinematographers, choreographers, and other creative personnel

  • Physical fitness to carry all heavy filming equipment

  • Ability to focus and block out distractions

  • Patience

  • Work well with others in a busy studio or a film location environment


How would you describe a good camera operator? Select all that apply.

How Do I Become a Camera Operator?

Image with a cameraman pointing a camera at a woman sitting on the roof of a building.

Do I need a degree?

Not really! There are no essential educational requirements for camera operators. However, a film school diploma will give a camera operator formal qualifications, and open more doors. Check local schools and community colleges offering Film and Broadcasting degrees and certifications.

⚡Guess who has the potential to become a successful Camera Operator!

Flaticon Icon

Ray wants to find full-time employment and a steady job.

Flaticon Icon

Robert likes to build robots in his garage with his father.

Flaticon Icon

Carol is interested in photography and likes to work with people.

Flaticon Icon

Marley uses a GoPro camera to take videos of her riding a dirt bike for her TikTok channel.


Who has the best chance to become a camera operator? Select all that apply.

Will It Pay The Bills?

it's a competitive field and salaries vary significantly depending on the location, employer, and your experience.

Flaticon Icon In the US, the average salary for a camera operator is USD$30k - USD$121k.

Flaticon Icon In Canada, the average salary for a camera operator is C$30k - C$102k.

Flaticon Icon In the UK, a camera operator's annual earnings will range from £20k - £63k.

Is Being A Camera Operator A Good Career?

GIF of thumbs up or like icon

Pros of the job:

  • Interesting and creative job

  • Collaboration with other creative people

  • Rewarding results

  • Can pay well

  • May lead to other opportunities in film and TV

GIF of thumbs down or dislike icon

Cons of the job:

  • Potential for extended periods without work between projects

  • Overtime work to meet deadlines

  • Possibly work in uncomfortable conditions or in dangerous locations

Flaticon Icon

Bob Gorelick, a famous cinematographer who worked on movies like Stranger Things, Pulp Fiction, and The Dark Knight remarked:

It’s not like it’s a good career or a bad career. If it’s what you want to do and you’re really passionate about it, do it.

GIF from the show Stranger Things showing a character running away from apocalyptic destruction  behind her.

Take Action

GIF of singer Michael Buble nodding and pointing with the words

If you think it’s the right path for you, there are many ways to get your foot in the door:


Your feedback matters to us.

This Byte helped me better understand the topic.

Get support to take action on this Byte