Director of Photography: Tom Kinstle

Posted by Samantha George




Director of Photography


Tom Kinstle

“The DP is responsible for making sure that vision comes to life visually through lighting & composition, and doing it with consistency and efficiency.” -Tom Kinstle

On some projects, you’ll get to be apart of a shoot where you have complete creative control. Other times, you won’t have much say at all except for what the director tells you, and then it’s your job to make that happen. But, no matter where you’re getting direction from, as a Director of Photography, it’s your job to guide the production visually.  Just check out what our “EXPOSED” crew member of the week, Director of Photography Tom Kinstle, has to say about it!

“Aside from being the head of the camera and lighting departments, the DP plays an essential role in helping the director develop the visual style and tone of the film that works the best for the story being told.” – Tom Kinstle

Tom and director Megan St. John had been wanting to do a project together for quite some time. When Megan had an idea for a 70’s heist film, Tom jumped at the opportunity to get involved. Before the Strongroom started, Kinstle spent a lot of his time filming music videos & commercial work, so this gave him an opportunity to work on a narrative piece.

“One of the most challenging aspects of being a DP, especially on a lower budget project, is knowing how to look at obstacles that arise and quickly problem solve while maintaining the directors vision and doing so in a cool and collected manner.” – Tom Kinstle

To become a successful DP, it’s not only about having the knowledge of what looks good visually, but also being adaptable to situations as they arise. Whether it’s last minute changes from the director, problems encountered on set, or budgetary restrictions.

“Being able to communicate [both] the directors vision & your own to your crew effectively and…in a collaborative manner is important to leading a team in a way that makes them feel integral to the finished piece…” – Tom Kinstle

What makes this particular film interesting is the amount of work put into it from him & his team, and what little preparation time they had. From start to finish, the film took about two months to storyboard, find props, buy wardrobe, find location, and eventually shoot (which, Kinstle admits took about 48 hours). Not to mention, the cinematography itself is something to behold.

“I think people misunderstand that good cinematography isn’t necessarily the most “beautiful” looking cinematography but instead enhances the story being told. Sometimes that story is gritty and ugly and the cinematography needs to reflect that.” – Tom Kinstle

Thank you Tom Kinstle for helping create such a wonderful short film for our viewers this week. If you would like to hire Tom for your next project, please connect with him using the ABOUT ME button over his photo!

Thank you for watching this week’s Exposing the Crew “EXPOSED” indie project!



(We just want to do our part in supporting the indie community!)

We’ll See You All Next Tuesday,

Samantha George (Producer, JJack Productions)