Photography and cinematography are different fields of art, but use similar base aspects like lighting, angles, lenses and textures for visual story-telling. Where a photographer uses camera technology to produce compelling still images, a cinematographer uses film cameras that can create and reproduce interlocking images to create impactful motion pictures.
A cinematographer can easily transition into becoming a successful photographer, while the latter has to overcome a steep learning curve to become an accomplished cinematographer.
Nonetheless, many professional photographers were able to hurdle such challenges, and became award-winning cinematography professionals in the motion picture industry. More so now that the digital single lens reflex (DSLR) )technology has revolutionized photography cameras through the addition of video camera mechanisms.
Ryszard Lenczewski Polish Cinematographer Shares First Experience as a Photographer-Turned-Cinematographer
Multi-awarded Polish cinematographer Ryszard Lenczewski, is a classic example of a photographer who advanced to the field of cinematography through a painstaking process but with great success. In his more than four decades of working as a cinematographer, Mr. Lenczewski had garnered countless nominations and won local and international awards.
In his long and successful career in the movie industry, Mr. Lenczewski attributes much of his triumphs to his basic training as a photographer. Citing his first cinematographic work “Ida,” the award-winning Polish artist said that he shot about 3,000 still images when he scouted for locations.
The photographs became important tools in communicating and collaborating with the director, which he said became the bases for “Ida’s” storyboard and in the division of the movie scenes. He describes this as a classic representation of how photographs also serve as building blocks in creating a movie.
However, inasmuch as actors move and cameras roll much of the time, Mr. Lenczewski said that as a cinematographer, one has to work with a different mindset. Once the moment has been created, it requires skill to capture the scene in an instant. Unlike in a typical photo shoot, working as a cinematographer requires dealing with large groups, which at times can be complex and at the same time, low-budgeted.
Noam Kroll Shares Important Pointers When Transitioning from Photography to Cinematography
Noam Kroll, LA-based award-winning filmmaker and founder/owner of Creative Rebellion production company, shares learning experiences that enabled him to acquire diverse filmmaking skills, which include cinematography. .
In an article, he focused on two common issues with which photographers striving to become cinematographers tend to grapple: stabilization and lighting.
Most photographers are inclined to use stabilization tools like a tripod, when capturing images at slower shutter speeds just to eliminate motion blur. Many realize that once they start shooting videos, they are inclined to encounter problems when shooting handheld. If this is the root of their struggles, Mr. Kroll gives advice about investing in a stabilization device like a shoulder cage, rig or glider when shooting handheld.
When it comes to lighting, what he recommends is for photographers to study the different effects of lighting using strobes, LEDS or fluorescent when shooting videos and compare them to the effects of using conventional film lights. He cites as example the flickering effects of strobe lights, which in still photography does not result into a real issue. In filmmaking however, continuous lighting by way of LED, fluorescent or strobe can produce flickering effects that can terribly affect the quality of film footage.
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