Recently I was watching a short film titled "Black Hole". In the credits following I came across one "Purva Desai" being credited under D.O.P (i.e. Director of Photography), only to be followed by two other people being credited as Cinematographers.

My question is,

Is there any real difference between Director of Photography and Cinematographer or are they just two fancy terms for someone who "paints with light" (as Roger Deakins once said)? If so, what is it?

  • Here's my take on it (though it might just be me): 'DP' is a more official job description used on the set. But 'cinematographer' is used in conversations, articles and reviews that discuss the persons and their art and vision (plus in these cases, not everyone would understand what DP means outside of Hollywood anyway, and 'director of photography' is too long and clunky).
    – Walt
    Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 17:29

1 Answer 1


It seems they are interchangeable.

Discussion over ay Cinematography.com: Cinematographer Vs DP

Also, from mubi.com:

Yes, it’s generally a regional thing. I might be wrong, but it seems DP is more British/European and Cinematographer is the term more used in the States.

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