Frequently Asked Questions


What is the SOC?
The Society of Camera Operators (SOC) advances the art, craft, and creative contributions of the camera operator. The SOC is an internationally recognized professional honorary society. The core activities of the Society are the annual SOC Awards, publishing the Society’s magazine Camera Operator, and our charitable commitment to The Vision Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. We serve the SOC membership through our commitment to advancing the role of the camera operator by providing education, supporting the development of technology and production methods, and honoring the members who have served before us.

How did the SOC begin?
In 1979, thirteen camera operators banded together with the goal of advancing the position of the working camera operator in the motion picture and television industries. They drew up a constitution and by-laws and the Society of Operating Cameramen was born with the motto: “We See It First!” This was the first step toward bringing a higher understanding and respect for all craftspeople in the industry. Incorporated in 1981 in California as a nonprofit organization, the SOC has since changed its name to The Society of Camera Operators.

Why does SOC support the Vision Center Children’s Hospital Los Angeles?
The Society of Camera Operators was moved by a story that Mary Marta, the Past President, Bob Marta’s wife, told about a boy in Tijuana with a serious eye problem.  “As operating cameramen, SIGHT is most important. In 1983, we were seeking a worthy charity to which we could contribute. We found Dr. A Linn Murphree at the Eye Care Clinic (now the Vision Center) at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles involved with soft contact lens research as it would apply to partially sighted infants. After visiting Dr. Murphree’s clinic, we knew that this is where our motivating energies would concentrate…in the gift of sight.” – Gil Haimson, one of SOC’s founding fathers. After the SOC reached out to Dr. Murphree, he operated on the boy, saving the child’s eye.

How do I make a tax-deductible contribution to the SOC/Vision Center?
There is a secure online donation option available on the SOC website to donate to our charity, Vision Center Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Support VCCHLA

How can I find out if a camera operator is an SOC member?
The membership roster is posted on the SOC website and updated as new members are added.

View Roster


How much are the SOC membership dues?
For memberships renewing, SOC membership rates for one calendar year are $175 for Active Members, $115 for Associate Members, and $35 for Educator and Student members. All prices are listed on the membership page and must be paid in U.S. dollars.

What is the difference between Active and Associate membership?
Active Members are able to demonstrate significant accomplishment as a camera operator with noteworthy credits in their area of concentration and   can provide credits demonstrating their experience as a camera operator for a period of five years or more with operating being a significant part of their primary professional effort. Only Active Members may use the SOC post-nominal initials after their name for camera operating screen credits. Associate membership is available to those who do not meet the criteria for active membership, but share mutual interests with camera operators or are engaged in any technical area. This would include directors of photography, directors, camera assistants, technical directors, technical specialists and so forth. Both memberships receive the same benefits with the exception that only the Active Members may vote and use the SOC post-nominal initials.

What are the benefits of being an SOC member?
Active Members have full voting privileges and the authority to request SOC be added to their operating credit on any project. Note: Using the SOC initials after your name is limited to camera operating screen credits only. When credited as the director or director of photography, the SOC initials MAY NOT be used.

  • Subscription to the Society’s print and digital quarterly magazine: Camera Operator
  • Access to all meetings, seminars, workshops and, general membership meetings (twice annually), and Society functions
  • Membership Newsletter
  • Listing on the SOC.Org website and published in Camera Operator magazine
  • Opportunity to make editorial content contributions to the Camera Operator magazine
  • Involvement on any of the Society’s standing committees (per the committee requirements)

Are my SOC membership dues tax-deductible?
Dues and subscriptions paid to SOC are NOT considered charitable contributions for federal tax purposes. However, they may be deducted as ordinary and necessary business expenses. Members should consult their tax advisors for further guidance. Note that a charitable gift made at the time of renewal (a gift separate from and in addition to your membership dues) IS tax deductible.

Can I add SOC to the end of my name?
Using the SOC initials after your name is strictly for the use of Active Members only, and use is limited to camera operating screen credits only. When credited as the director or director of photography, the SOC initials MAY NOT be used.

Can I submit an application to join SOC online?
No, but you can download an application for emailing, faxing, or mailing to the SOC. Click here for applications.

Can I pay my initiation fees online when applying for membership?
Yes, you can pay your initiation fees on the SOC website. When submitting your application, send a copy of the receipt along with your application.

Pay Initiation Fees

How long does the application process take?
The Board of Governors reviews and votes on all new applications on the fourth Sunday of every month. In some instances, applicants have been tabled for the following month if further information is needed from the applicant or their sponsor.

As a new member, when will I receive my SOC membership card and welcome packet?
Your SOC membership card along with the welcome packet is generally received in the mail 2-3 weeks after your application has been approved. The card is sent to the primary address listed on your application. Renewing members do not receive a membership card each year.

How long is my SOC membership term?
The SOC membership term is one year from September 1st through August 31st. Corporate membership term is one year and begins the month following receipt of application/payment and continue for twelve months.

Why am I receiving an invoice for dues when I just paid to join recently?
All new members pay a one-time-only initiation fee when applying for membership. As a consideration to our new members, we do not ask for dues at the time of joining. All dues are invoiced each year on August 1st and are due by September 1st.

Do I have to supply a sponsor name?
Yes. All Active Member and Associate Member applications must be sponsored by an Active Member in good standing and that individual must sign your application. If you do not have a sponsor, you must include three letters of recommendation from industry professionals (at least one of whom must be a director of photography).  All applications submitted without a sponsor or three letters of recommendation will not be considered, and will be returned immediately.

Who can apply for a SOC Student membership?
SOC student memberships are open to any full-time students. This can be a high school student, undergraduate, graduate student, or doctoral candidate. Most SOC Student Members are studying in the film and media arts, but SOC welcomes any student with an interest in the entertainment community to join.

Who can apply for a SOC Educator membership?
SOC educator memberships are open to full-time faculty members. Most SOC Educator Members are instructing in the film and media arts, but SOC welcomes any educator with an interest in the entertainment community to join.

Does SOC offer a discount when I reach retirement age or have retired due to a disability?
SOC offers a Retired Member category for Active and Associate Members in good standing with dues waived. Retired Active Members will retain voting privileges.

If my membership has lapsed, how can I reactivate it?
If your membership term has lapsed within twelve months, you may reinstate your membership by completing a new application and checking the “Reinstate” box and submit along with current dues and $50 reinstate fee. If the lapse has been longer than twelve months, you must reapply to the Society.

Join SOC

What is my SOC member number?
Your SOC member number may be found below the barcode on your membership card.

How to Request Your SOC Member Number?
Email, include in the subject line: “member number”.

How do I change my contact information with SOC?
Email changes to or mail your changes to PO Box 2006 Toluca Lake, CA 91610. Please allow 3-4 weeks for postal mailings to reflect any changes.

How do I get a receipt for my SOC dues?
Please contact SOC accounting by email at to request a receipt for SOC dues payments.


Can I view Camera Operator magazine online?
Yes – you can view all current and archived Camera Operator magazines online.

Read magazines

What are the differences between the print edition of Camera Operator and the digital edition?
The content is identical. The price for print version is $25 within the US and $35 international for a 1 year quarterly subscription. The digital version is free to subscribe to for a limited time offer. All print subscriptions and membership include free access to the digital edition. A link for downloading the issue is e-mailed to you during the week that the print version is mailed out.

Get your free digital subscription

What should I do if I’m not receiving my Camera Operator magazine or SOC eNewsletter subscription?
If you’re not receiving your subscription to Camera Operator or the SOC eNewsletter, please email

Can I attend an event if I’m not a member?
No. All sanctioned SOC events are for members only though SOC does promote Corporate Member events and some are open to the public.

Does Camera Operator magazine accept unsolicited articles?
Yes. If you are a SOC member and have worked on a noteworthy project or have reviewed new technology utilized by camera operators and would like to submit an article, contact Kate McCallum at or submit by fax to 818-563-9117.

How can I get information about advertising in Camera Operator magazine?
Please contact Jeff Victor, ,847.721.2730 or Kristin Petrovich,, 818.388.2306.

Additional Support
For additional support or to ask questions, please contact SOC Member Services at or via telephone at 818-563-9110 (Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Pacific Time).

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