In Film, TV or Video production a DOP is not just using a camera; instead he has to adjust the lighting for the scene and is in charge of all other cinematographers and visual aspects on the set.
In his career usual he starts as a lighting cameraman or cinematographer and later he gets accredited to a DOP – Director of Photography.
Some say a cinematographer is the same as a DOP but I cannot agree with that, even most cameramen who call themselves cinematographers are indeed Directors of Photography. But not necessarily you have to be a DOP to call yourself a cinematographer.
The general concept for a cinematographer we think is a cameraman who works only for the film and movie industry - wrong, instead a cinematographer is an experienced lighting cameraman for all kind of professional film, television and video production. A cinematographer can get accredited as such from an association like the ACS- Australian Cinematographers Society or the ASC American Society of Cinematographers and some others.
If you are fully accredited of above societies then you can name yourself, for example Stephan C. ACS or ASC.
This accreditation can only be achieved by filming for at least 8 years (ACS) for professional broadcast or movie productions on a continually basis. The creativity and style of the cameraman (lighting, camera movement and framing etc.) will be judged by professionals form the appropriate society and only with their approvals a cinematographer can be named ACS or ASC.
A DOP is also involved choosing the type of format to use, the type of camera equipment and the lighting style, to complement and enhance the way the Director and Set Designer wish the production to look. He is in charge of most visual components if it comes to motion picture.
He is also involved in post production, especially color grading because initially it is his picture he shot and it cannot be changed without his approval. (kind of COPY RIGHT).
A Director of Photography does crew hire, he helps to select the right cameramen when it comes to hiring a team for the production.