After working as camera operator on a number of films for Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, he made his debut as director of photography on The End of the River in 1947 one of their projects as producers. After The End of the River Chris operated for Jack Cardiff on The Red Shoes. He didin't mind taking a step back because he wanted to work on the film. Following this he went back to being director of photography. He went on to photograph most of Powell and Pressburger's 1950s films, including The Small Back Room, The Elusive Pimpernel, The Tales of Hoffmann, Oh... Rosalinda!!, Ill Met by Moonlight and The Battle of the River Plate.
His expertise in colour cinematography made him a popular choice for British films of the 1950s, and he made a number of successful comedies, including Genevieve (1953), The Captain's Table (1958) and Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (1965). He worked on a variety of projects, such as The Spanish Gardener (1956), the 1960 war classic, Sink the Bismarck!, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), and Billy Wilder's The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970).
He was nominated for several BAFTA Awards for Best British Cinematography, including a win in 1966 for Stanley Donen's film Arabesque.His autobiography "Are they really so awful?"was published by Janus Publishing Company (ISBN 1-85756-193-7)in March 1995.