Arts & Entertainment, Design & Style

Using a Camera That Reflects Your Voice

Tyler Mitchell

Lesson time 10:29 min

Tyler breaks down how to take photos with a film camera and explains why he considers himself part of the “post-DSLR” generation.

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

Topics include: Cuba · Shooting With Film · Camera Basics


[MUSIC PLAYING] - Cameras are like paintbrushes. It's-- it's about a personal choice. Every single paint brush has a different texture, a different quality. You don't need expensive kit or gear to make beautiful photography. Whatever you can get your hands on, I would suggest to try. For my early work, the camera that I used was a camera that I borrowed from my friend. He had saved up quite a bit of money to get an early digital SLR camera. And so that's what I used. That's what I learned on, and then from there I kept growing and figuring out what, you know, paintbrush or camera worked for me personally. In terms of finding the camera you like for you, mainly I find that the one that is nearest and dearest is-- like even your phone is going to be the most fun to work with. Your model gets to be a different kind of person, I think. They get to be a little more relaxed. They get to be a little more at ease. Because we're so used to seeing people kind of taking images on their phones. I think people tense up and act a different way when you have a huge machine in front of your face or you have a huge kind of camera. People have these preconceived notions of bigger camera, bigger machine, better image or more serious photographer, but it's nice to lean into just having your phone. And if your subject or someone thinks that you're not serious about it, that can be quite a freeing thing because then you don't have to also take anything too seriously. I personally like analog cameras. I like the kind of humanistic round colors that they produce. I like the process that they bring, which is less tied to immediate response. Digital cameras also have their advantages that film cameras don't. And so I would suggest playing with as many tools or paintbrushes as you have accessible to you and figuring out what you like and don't like about any of them. [MUSIC PLAYING] Shooting with a film camera, it allows you to be in more in the moment. You can't immediately see what you're shooting right after. You obviously have to develop it, and then you find out what the pictures look like. So I think it creates in the process of making the picture a more human and direct connection with the subject if you're photographing people. And there's also the nice element of surprise when you get the pictures back. So I like it for those reasons. And I think digital obviously has its advantages in that you can see what you're shooting immediately after. But I like shooting on film for that process with the subject that I'm working with. For me, shooting on analog is actually easier in a lot of ways than digital. You're not bogged down with lots of wires and cables and confusion and settings and screens. It's you set the camera with the same image-making principles as any other camera, and then you shoot away. The nice part is also being a little less worried about what you're shooting in the moment of this call and response of ...

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.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

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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