It is often said that the secret to any great film or television show or even a documentary or advertisement film is good photography. Good camera work is what makes a show move up from average to great. Even a well-directed film or television program can come out as a boring affair if it is not creatively shot. Similarly, a moderately directed film or TV Show can become a big hit due to the creative touch of a cameraperson. The camera is one of the most important elements of an audio-visual program because it gives the program a certain look. It is a perfect combination of art and technique.

Camera operators record images, set up equipment, plan shots, and sort technical and lighting issues.

What does a TV or film camera operator do?

Camera operators record moving images for film, television, commercials, music videos or corporate productions. They operate film or digital video cameras, usually under instruction from the director or director of photography. On a typical job, you'll:

  • set up and position camera equipment
  • choose the most suitable lenses and camera angles
  • plan and rehearse shots
  • follow a camera script and take cues from the director, or floor manager if in a TV studio
  • solve any practical or technical problems
  • work closely with other technical departments, such as lighting and sound

You may be the only camera operator and use a portable single camera, or you could be part of a TV studio camera team. On feature films and TV drama productions, you'll be part of a larger crew with a specific role. This might be:

  • second assistant camera (clapper loader) – loading and unloading film, counting the takes, and helping the camera crew
  • first assistant camera (focus puller) – judging and adjusting the focus on each shot
  • grip – building and operating cranes and pulleys needed to move a camera during shooting

You'll normally specialize in either film or television work, as the equipment and techniques can differ. However, with the growth in digital cameras and HD technology, it’s becoming easier for camera professionals to work across all formats.

What do I need to do to become a TV or film, camera operator?

Employers will be more interested in your technical skills and practical experience than academic qualifications. In practice, many camera operators take a college or uni course to develop their camera skills before looking for work.

It may give you an advantage if you can find a course that offers practical experience and possibly a work placement. You can also get practical experience and build up your contacts through:

  • community film projects
  • working for a camera equipment hire company
  • finding work experience as a runner or camera assistant with a production company

Where could I be working?

You could work anywhere from studios to outside locations, in all weather conditions. You may have to work at heights on cranes or scaffolding.

Location work could be anywhere in the world. News camera jobs may involve working under difficult or dangerous conditions, for example in war zones.

Colleges and Universities Offering Certificates in Photography and Audio Visual(Photography) in Kenya

Africa Film and Television Talent Training Institute, Nairobi

Course Name: Certificate in Photography
Course Study Duration: 6 Months 

VisualDo Institute of Photography, Nairobi

Course Name: Beginner photography course.

Light and The Photographer
Exposure Triangle & White Balance
Focus, Composition & DOF
Photographic Light Source
On Camera Flash Photography
Portrait Photography
ND Filters, UV Filters, Colour Filters
Photo Editing: Adobe Photoshop
Photography Project
Cameras, Lenses & Equipments
Camera Controls & Settings

Course Duration: 2 months

Fees: Ksh. 35,000

- Non-refundable application fee Ksh 2000.
- Application form (Can be filled at our admission office or at our website online).
- 1 Passport size photo
- High School Leaving Certificate or Letter of recommendation.
- Pay all the term school fees or atleast 60%.
- Copy of National Identity Card or Birth Certificate.

Course Name: Advanced Photography


Histograms, Stops & Light
RAW vs JPEG, Sensors & Resolution
Reflectors & Light Modifiers
Landscape Photography
Sports Photography
Advance Techniques and Tricks
Photo Editing: Adobe Lightroom
Off Camera Flash Photography
Photo Editing: Photoshop
Wedding Photography
Studio Photography
Wildlife Photography
Starting a Photography Business
Photobooks & Mounting

Course Duration: 2 Months

Fees: Ksh. 55,000 

Africa Digital Media Institute, Nairobi

Duration: Full-time day – 1 Semester

Tuition fee: Ksh 93,000 (EA) & Ksh 111,000 (International) per term

Course outline:
-Introduction to Photography
-Visual Literacy – Storytelling
-Composing and Design
-Adobe Photoshop
-Studio Light / Lightroom

Kenya Polytechnic University College, Nairobi 

Admission requirements
-Candidates must have attained a D+ in KCSE or its equivalent
Course duration
-1 year
Mode of study
-full time 

Milestone Institute of Professional Studies, Thika 

Exam body: (Internal)

Requirements: (Open)

Duration: 3 months

Fee per term: 17,000

Kenya Institute of Professional Studies, Nairobi 

Duration :3 months
Exam body :KIPS
Duration :3 months
Entry requirement: KCSE Certificate 

Wates Music Concept, Kitengela 

Our studios equipped for photography and Audio production practical exercise 

  • Digix Computer Centre, Langata
  • Talanta Institute, Nairobi
  • Ora Digital Marketing Training, Westlands
  • Africa College of Social Work, Nairobi
  • Moi Institute of Technology, Rongo
  • East African Media Institute, Nairobi
  • Uzuri Institute of Technology and Development, Thika
  • Eldoret Splendid College of Computer Training, Eldoret

Universities Offering Certificate in Photography and Audio Visual(Photography) 

Technical University of Kenya , Nairobi 

Admission requirements
-KCSE C- and above
-2 years
Mode of study
-full time
Geoffrey Nevine — IT Services and IT Consulting

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