The cinematographer or director of photography (sometimes shortened to DP or DOP) is the person responsible for the recording of a film, television production, music video or other live action piece. The cinematographer is the chief of the camera and light crews working on such projects and would normally be responsible for making artistic and technical decisions related to the image and for selecting the camera, film stock, lenses, filters, etc. The study and practice of this field is referred to as cinematography .
The cinematographer is a subordinate of the director, tasked with capturing a scene in accordance with the directors' vision. Relations between the cinematographer and director vary. In some instances, the director will allow the cinematographer complete independence, while in others, the director allows little to none, even going so far as to specify exact camera placement and lens selection. Such a level of involvement is less common when the director and cinematographer have become comfortable with each other. The director will typically convey to the cinematographer what is wanted from a scene visually and allow the cinematographer latitude in achieving that effect.
The scenes recorded by the cinematographer are passed to the film editor for editing.
In the infancy of motion pictures, the cinematographer was usually also the director and the person physically handling the camera. As the art form and technology evolved, a separation between director and camera operator emerged. With the advent of artificial lighting and faster (more light-sensitive) film stocks, in addition to technological advancements in optics, the technical aspects of cinematography necessitated a specialist in that area.
Cinematography was key during the silent movie era; with no sound apart from background music and no dialogue, the films depended on lighting, acting, and set.
The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) was formed in 1919 in Hollywood, and was the first trade society of cinematographers. Similar societies were formed in other countries. For example, the British Society of Cinematographers (BSC). Their aims include the recognition of the cinematographer's contribution to the art and science of motion picture making. 
There are a number of national associations of cinematographers that represent members (irrespective of their official titles) and are dedicated to the advancement of cinematography, including:
The A.S.C. defines cinematography as:
A creative and interpretive process that culminates in the authorship of an original work of art rather than the simple recording of a physical event. Cinematography is not a subcategory of photography. Rather, photography is but one craft that the cinematographer uses in addition to other physical, organizational, managerial, interpretive and image-manipulating techniques to effect one coherent process. 
The Academy Award for Best Cinematography is an Academy Award awarded each year to a cinematographer for work on one particular motion picture.
A number of American cinematographers have become directors, including Reed Morano who lensed Frozen River and Beyoncé's Lemonade before winning an Emmy for directing The Handmaid's Tale . Barry Sonnenfeld, originally the Coen brothers' DP; Jan de Bont, cinematographer on films such as Die Hard and Basic Instinct , directed Speed and Twister . Nicolas Roeg, cinematographer on films such as The Caretaker (1963) and The Masque of the Red Death (1964), directed Don't Look Now (1973) and The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976). Ellen Kuras, ASC photographed Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind as well as a number of Spike Lee films such as Summer of Sam and He Got Game before directing episodes of Legion and Ozark. In 2014, Wally Pfister, cinematographer on Christopher Nolan's three Batman films, made his directorial debut with Transcendence, whilst British cinematographers Jack Cardiff and Freddie Francis regularly moved between the two positions.
Cinematography is the art of motion picture photography.
Andrew Lesnie ACS ASC was an Australian cinematographer. He was best known as the cinematographer for The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001–2003) and its prequel The Hobbit trilogy (2012–2014), both directed by New Zealand director Peter Jackson. He received the Academy Award for Best Cinematography for his work on The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in 2002.
The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), founded in Hollywood in 1919, is a cultural, educational, and professional organization that is neither a labor union nor a guild. The society was organized to advance the science and art of cinematography and gather a wide range of cinematographers to discuss techniques and ideas and to advocate for motion pictures as a type of art form. Currently, the president of the ASC is Stephen Lighthill.
Robert L. Surtees was an American cinematographer who won three Academy Awards for the films King Solomon's Mines, The Bad and the Beautiful and the 1959 version of Ben-Hur. Surtees worked at various studios, including Universal, UFA, Warner Brothers, and MGM, lighting for notable directors Howard Hawks, Mike Nichols, and William Wyler, gaining him a reputation as one of the most versatile cinematographers of his time.
Wong Tung Jim, A.S.C. (Chinese: 黃宗霑; August 28, 1899 – July 12, 1976), known professionally as James Wong Howe (Houghto), was a Chinese-born American cinematographer who worked on over 130 films. During the 1930s and 1940s, he was one of the most sought after cinematographers in Hollywood due to his innovative filming techniques. Howe was known as a master of the use of shadow and one of the first to use deep-focus cinematography, in which both foreground and distant planes remain in focus.
Peter Suschitzky, A.S.C. is a British cinematographer and photographer. Among his most known works as director of photography are The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Empire Strikes Back, and Mars Attacks! and the later films of David Cronenberg. Suschitzky succeeded Mark Irwin as Cronenberg's regular cinematographer when Irwin left during the pre-production of Dead Ringers (1988), and has been the cinematographer for all of Cronenberg's films since, with the exception of Crimes of the Future (2022). He has also collaborated with directors John Boorman, Ken Russell, Bernard Rose, and Tim Burton.
Frederick James Koenekamp, A.S.C. was an American cinematographer. He was the son of cinematographer Hans F. Koenekamp.
Leslie Robert Burks, A.S.C. was an American cinematographer who worked in many different film genres and collaborated several times with Alfred Hitchcock.
The Cinematography Mailing List is a website and collection of mailing lists founded by Geoff Boyle in November 1996. The CML is run on a volunteer basis by professional cinematographers "to promote the free exchange of ideas among fellow professionals, the cinematographer, their camera crew, manufacturers, rental houses and related businesses."
David Russell Boyd, A.S.C. is an American cinematographer and director of television and film known for his role as director of photography for the Fox television series Firefly and the AMC series The Walking Dead. He also worked as cinematographer on the first three episodes of HBO's Deadwood. On the NBC television series Friday Night Lights he served as director of photography on 18 of 22 episodes in the first season and moved up to direct two more. He also directed the film Home Run, which was released in 2013.
John Niel Green, ASC, is an American cinematographer and film director best known for his Oscar-nominated collaborations with actor/director Clint Eastwood, taking over from Eastwood's previous collaborator Bruce Surtees.
Jeffrey Scott Cronenweth, ASC is an American cinematographer based in Los Angeles, California who is known for his role as the director of photography on the David Fincher films Fight Club, The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Gone Girl. He graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts and was invited to join the cinematographers branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2004. He is the son of Jordan Cronenweth, one of the most influential cinematographers in motion picture history.
Thomas Richmond was an American cinematographer who worked in the film industry since the mid-1980s. His first major feature film as cinematographer was Stand and Deliver (1988), and by the time he shot for A Midnight Clear (1992), he had settled into working with different directors with ease. Richmond described his experience, "All my films look different because they're not my visions; they're my reflections of the directors' visions." In 1998, he said he was most proud of his work on Little Odessa (1994), for which he was nominated an Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography. For Right at Your Door (2006), he won the Excellence in Cinematography Award (Dramatic) at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.
Articles related to the field of motion pictures include:
Richard Crudo, A.S.C. is an American cinematographer and director. He is a 6-term past-president of the American Society of Cinematographers.
Edward Cronjager was an American cinematographer whose career spanned from the silent era through the 1950s. He came from a family of cinematographers, with his father, uncle, and brother all working in the film industry behind the camera. His work covered over 100 films and included projects on the small screen towards the end of his career. He filmed in black and white and color mediums, and his work received nominations for seven Academy Awards over three decades, although he never won the statue.
The Great German Society of Cinematographers, was founded in 1980 as a non-profit professional association of German freelance cinematographers and directors of photography and their collaborators.
Valentina Caniglia is an Italian-American cinematographer and director, who has received awards for her work. She is a member of the Italian Society of Cinematographers (AIC) and European Federation of Cinematographers (IMAGO).
Sharon Calahan is an American cinematographer who was director of photography on the Pixar films A Bug's Life (1998), Toy Story 2 (1999), and Finding Nemo (2003), and was lighting director for Ratatouille (2007), Cars 2 (2011), and The Good Dinosaur (2015). She took part in the early rise of computer animated feature filmmaking and the acceptance of that medium as cinematography. Calahan is the first member of the American Society of Cinematographers who was invited to join on the basis of a career entirely in animated film. She was nominated, with Bill Reeves, Eben Ostby, and Rick Sayre, for a 2000 BAFTA Award for Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects for A Bug's Life.
John Arnold (1889–1964) was an American cinematographer. He began his career in 1914, and in the next 15 years, he shot 86 films. He also worked in film administration, directing the cinematography department at MGM, and was president of the American Society of Cinematographers from 1931 through 1937, and again from 1939 to 1941. By 1938, he was regarded as one of the most authoritative experts on cinematography. He invented several pieces of camera equipment and was awarded two Oscars, both Technical Achievement Awards. The first was in 1938 for improvements on the semi-automatic follow focus device used on motion picture cameras, while the second was in 1940 for the development of the MGM mobile camera crane.