Arts & Entertainment, Design & Style

Building Confidence as an Artist

Tyler Mitchell

Lesson time 03:54 min

Tyler details strategies for working through self-doubt—and staying inspired and productive as an artist.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Building Confidence as an Artist


[MUSIC PLAYING] I think you have to push through doubt by making more pictures. You know, you have to push through doubt by making more pictures, even if it's of the rug or the ceiling. I would say take a picture of your ceiling every single morning. And I'm serious. Like, if it's not your ceiling, take a picture of your floor every morning. Take a picture of the tree outside your house every morning. Taking more pictures will make you better at more pictures. And that is the truth. That's just the simple truth. And if you're not taking pictures, daydream about taking pictures. And you've got to have that kind of love for it. Me personally, again, I very much, if I'm not taking pictures, then I'm working on ideas for pictures. I work very much in more of a filmmaking kind of format and then I gather-- I fixate on an idea. I gather crews. I gather an idea. I gather a location. Then I go out and make my idea happen. So any time I'm not making pictures, I'm usually focusing on an idea to make a new picture. There truly are no rules around how to accept praise, how to accept criticism. Remember your core beliefs. Remember the spine of who you are. When people say something positive or negative, if it deviates from that spine, then it might not be for you. If they have some real insights into how you can improve things, then listen with an open mind. But I would say that when it comes to any feedback about your work, take it with a grain of salt. Consider who you are. Remember who you are and move accordingly. I hope that you'll take away from this class that there are no rules to this. There are no rules to anything regarding creative, being creative, being an artist, being a photographer. The main thing is that learning through these principles, hearing my story, hearing other people's story, understanding how people work could give you some insight into how you work. But what works for you might not work for me. And what works for me might not work for you. So that would be my takeaway. Doing things like this MasterClass are, to me, a part of my art practice. Sharing my story, sharing how I make what I make, even at my young age, is super critical to me. Democratizing and opening up these pathways to information is super important to the way we live now. And for me, yeah, I have a history of sharing with kids, you know, across New York, across the world. Whether that's mentoring in Brooklyn or whether that's lecturing at NYU or at Harvard, it's always been important for me to impart some of just my story for other people. It's crucial. It's crucial to the way we live now. And it's crucial to hopefully showing other young people and young artists and just creatively interested people that it is possible. Parting words I would give to students are that the main thing about any of this photography stuff is that there's no rules to it. There's no hard and fast rights. There's no hard and fast wrongs. The main thing ...

About the Instructor

A revolutionary talent, Tyler Mitchell made history as the first Black photographer to shoot an American Vogue cover, work that is part of the Smithsonian’s permanent collection. Now he’s sharing his process with you. Discover how to create and compose striking portraits, work with natural light and shadow, and tell a compelling story through your photos—even if the only equipment you have is your phone.

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Tyler Mitchell

History-making photographer Tyler Mitchell teaches you his artistic process for creating compelling images with any kind of camera.

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