Hello good people of the English stackexachange,

Non-native English speaker here. I'm looking for a category name for people that use cameras (photo or video), drones, different kind of equipment, to take photos, make movies, or VR or 360° experiences. These include both amateur and professionals.

Photographer (Merriam-Webster: a person who takes photographs especially as a job) or a moviemaker (Merriam-Webster: a person who makes movies) are specific only to a subset of the category I'm looking for.

I have considered:

  • media creators. According to Wikipedia: Media (the singular form of which is medium) is the collective communication outlets or tools that are used to store and deliver information or data. It is either associated with communication media, or the specialized mass media communication businesses such as: print media and the press, photography, advertising, cinema, broadcasting (radio and television) and publishing. However, the media term is much more broad than what I'm looking for.
  • new media creators. Again, Wikipedia: Common examples of new media include websites such as online newspapers, blogs, or wikis, video games, and social media. Same problem as with media.
  • makers. According to Merriam-Webster: a person who makes something; a company that makes a specified product. However, in the context of the maker culture: The maker culture is a contemporary culture or subculture representing a technology-based extension of DIY culture (Wikipedia), this seems to be misleading.

Bonus question: what would be the name of the category if it would also include music makers?

Thanks for your help!

  • 1
    Well-posed question, solid evidence of personal research, good context. +1. Looking forward to seeing the answers.
    – Dan Bron
    Jun 14, 2016 at 20:01
  • 1
    I'm not sure about your "bonus question". Photographers and filmmakers have very close relationships of equipment and methods... music is utterly separate.
    – Catija
    Jun 14, 2016 at 20:02
  • I don't understand why you've rejected 'photographer'. Photographers can be amateur or professional & use any of the equipment you've listed. (I know one who used tethered hot-air balloons to take aerial photos.)
    – TrevorD
    Jun 14, 2016 at 23:36
  • 1
    @DanBron I'd generally say no. As someone who's worked in the film industry and who's hired a wedding photographer, if you want someone who records video and stills, you need to find someone who uses both terms to describe themselves. Most photographers are not videographers... though it's probably slightly more common to find videographers who will also do photography... but not necessarily implied in the term. Then again, from a "technical standpoint" the person who runs the camera on a set is literally called the "director of photography"... so...
    – Catija
    Jun 15, 2016 at 0:03
  • 1
    + 1 I can't wait for this one. I've done all of the above professionally. Looking for a term for myself to put on my business card has eluded me for years. I've been forced to choose one of the terms for each different kind of contract. (The trade magazine I receive every month is "Photonics."
    – Stan
    Jun 15, 2016 at 16:36

4 Answers 4


The informal lensman (American-English, Oxford Dictionary):

(A professional photographer or cameraman.)

Otherwise there is no formal alternative; you'll just have to combine:


Compound a new word: photovideographer or photo-video-grapher or (photo/video)grapher

If we google some of these options:

"photographer/videographer" 490,000 results

"photo/videographer" 67,000 results

"photovideographer" 2700 results

(note, 'photo' should go before 'video' because a video photographer is actually still just a videographer.)

You could use cinematographer but a cinematographer doesn't physically operate the cameras, he directs others to do that.

You also wanted an option for all of that + audio; for that you could use multimedia producer or multimedia creator, although videography can encapsulate post-production audio editing as well.

  • @V0ight thank you for all the suggestions. How popular is lensman? And would there be any issues with regards to gender neutrality?
    – Palm
    Jun 15, 2016 at 18:06
  • 1
    @Palm It's not a formal job title at all; if you look it up on Linkedin then there are no results. I just wouldn't use it because from the examples I've seen of its use it's mostly used in the context of celebrity photographers.
    – user180089
    Jun 15, 2016 at 18:33
  • Cinematographers do often operate the camera...
    – Catija
    Jun 16, 2016 at 16:50

How about 'visual recording artist'. (Beware that Virtual Reality may not have any basis in real recorded reality.)

  • Unfortunately, this is problematic because "recording" usually connotes a video (or audio) recording, and not a photograph, even though that is, unquestionably, a record. Things which are "recordings" (rather than "records") usually have a temporal, moving, aspect, unlike a photograph, which is a single, frozen, moment of time.
    – Dan Bron
    Jun 14, 2016 at 21:29
  • 'Photon recording artist' would work for both (even if the photons are recorded in parallel).
    – AmI
    Jun 14, 2016 at 22:00

The term Photographer encompasses both motion picture and still picture photography. In the past, the tools of the trade differed considerably. These days, a photographer can switch from still to video (motion) photography with the flip of a switch. In the past, the term Cameraman was generally applied to cinematographers. The term Videographer cropped up to make a distinction between the film and video tools used by a motion photographer to shoot motion pictures. I was educated in both fields and have always considered myself a photographer regardless of whether or not I was shooting still or motion pictures.


Since you are asking for a category, when the credits for a movie roll, this is called Camera Department at Film in Colorado.

Camera Department

Camera Operator – The camera operator physically controls and operates the camera during filming, under the direction of the D.P. (Director of Photography). The camera operator works closely with both A.C.’s as well. The camera operator controls the shot’s framing, and the camera movements as instructed by the director of photography.

Camera Operator (Aerial) – The aerial photographer or camera operator is qualified and equipped to film aboard aerial devices. This usually refers to small airplanes and helicopter filming, but more recently, the use of drone cameras are being widely used as well.

Photographer / Production Stills – This person takes still photographs and essentially documents the behind-the-scenes making of the production. Often, this person photographs images used for marketing purposes such as movie posters and DVD box art.

Videographer – This person creates the video that essentially documents the behind-the-scenes making of the movie. This video isn’t normally used in the final version of the film. It’s only used for the purposes of documentation.

And for your bonus question, your music maker is usually called the music composer.

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