How to find a qualified cameraman

Apr 27, 2015 7:51:00 AM

Ambient Skies Productions Blog

Posted by Trenton Massey

To find a qualified cameraman that can handle a specific project... one might have to look in a few different places before they have found the right match...

You don't see a slew of "cameraman for hire" classified ads jumping out at you on the daily... and if you did, it'd probably be best to ignore that kind of desperate, unprofessional approach. If you have been searching and getting nowhere... try these four suggestions below...


Contact a local Film and TV Production Association

Depending on if you're a traveling production company looking for local operators or if you are a producer looking for a cameraman to assist a production in your same town... To help find local camera operators in the area you are shooting, search out the local production association for that city, state, or country. Most places will have one, even if productions are minimal. Opting out for a qualified local operator will save you money on travel expenses. Don't ever settle for a local operator if you are not convinced that they can handle the job... At that point, it makes more sense to pay for an operator to fly out... either way, this is a legitimate solution to finding camera operators. The APA, or Arizona Production Association is a great resource along with other resources listed here for Video Production Phoenix



Search the credits of projects you like

Some online videos post their credits in the description box below the video... other credits to specific videos can be found elsewhere like and This is one way to secure the exact look or style that you wish to see in your project. Once you have found the credit... the next step is figuring out a way to contact this person and seeing if they are interested in the job. Contacting them may be difficult, but in today's world, if you have a name... it shouldn't be a problem. This approach links you to the exact candidate you are looking for and doesn't leave the execution of your project up to chance. 



Contact a Guild or a Union

A number of countries have Guilds or Unions for their entertainment industry and in some cases are split into two different entities like the Writers Guild of America. There are also International Guilds and Unions whose members are also for hire anywhere in the world. For camera operators, you would want to contact SMPTE The Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers or ICG The International Cinematographers Guild. You do run into more red tape when using Guilds or Unions to hire Camera Operators, but it's only to rightfully protect the needs of the operator. Point being... you better have your ducks in a row before contacting them to avoid wasting time and possibly... a hefty fine. Typically a cameramen hired from a Guild or Union comes with valuable resources and industry knowledge.



Contact a Production Company


Any working production company that outsources jobs to independent contractors, undoubtedly, has a list of the contractors and their contact information somewhere on file. You can either call the company and beg them to help you for free... which probably won't happen... Or you can hire the production company to coordinate a camera operator for your shoot. This might cost a little more for the coordinating fee, but you will have your camera operator and will be ready for production. This solution also helps find qualified camera operators that may not be easily found online.

One solution might prove to be better than the other, but all of the solutions above will help you find a qualified cameraman for your next shoot. Always consider the project you are working on and the level of skill you need your cameraman to possess before hiring... because what might be considered "qualified" on some projects... might not be on others. 



Topics: Corporate Video Production, Music Video Production, motion picture production, Camera crew, company video production