An Interview with Urban Photographer Antonio Barnes

Jarquita met model turned photographer Antonio Barnes about four years ago on Mississippi State University’s campus during a model open call. Barnes is a senior Computer Engineering major and has found a new love, photography. His work has since been featured on some of Instagram’s most well-known pages showcasing his take on urban style photography. After meeting up with Barnes a few weeks ago, he stated, “I’ve always considered myself on the urban side, but as I work and progress, I hope to expand.”

“When I want to capture the moment or the emotion that’s being expressed within a photo, I try to get my model in a state to where the energy and emotion is apparent in the photo. When I have a good idea that I want to bring to life, I always want the photos to speak and tell what the idea clearly is,” says Antonio.

In our interview, Antonio talks about his newfound passion for photography, photographers and celebrities he would love to collaborate with, and he even shared his best five tips of what makes a great photo. Check out our Q&A session below.

Jarquita Brown: How did you get your start in photography? What inspired or motivated you to pick up a camera?

Antonio Barnes: I actually gained my interest in photography just by gaining a huge interest in Instagram when it was first developed. I would always use my sister’s camera or a smart phone to capture some dope images just to post on Instagram. I always had this joy in taking pictures just for the fun of it. I didn’t purchase my own camera until my sophomore year of college. I told myself that I should, so I did. Photographers that I’ve worked with while in college or outside of college inspired me to start my own journey in photography.

JB: What camera do you use and why?

AB: When it comes to cameras, you must know what you’re looking for and you must have the money for a good one. I started off with a Nikon DSLR D3300, and I still use it as my main camera today. I use it because it’s the perfect beginner camera for me, and it allows me to use my eyes effectively to capture my ideas. At some point, once I save up enough money, I will purchase a brand new high-end camera so that I can improve the quality of my images.


JB: How would you describe your style as a photographer?

AB: I would describe my style as “free.” As in there is no set style for me. I’m at a point where I’m still trying new things and figuring out what works best for me. I will say that a lot of the time, I’m shooting some type of urban photography that consists of dope looks and ideas.

JB: I love looking at your series of images now and your images from when you first started. What are some things you are doing differently now from when you first began photography?

AB: In the beginning, I would just shoot around just to see if I could capture something that looked good. Now, I think out ideas beforehand and see the images in my head before even having to shoot. It’s as if my mind and my creative eye have progressed and allowed me to picture something dope and think it all the way through, which leads to successful, dope shoots. I can just look at my first series of photos and compare them with my recent series of photos and see how much progress I’ve made.

Antonio shares five personal tips that make for a great photo:

  1. Make sure you see the photo in your head first.
  2. Make sure your lightening is just right. Bad lightening can ruin an idea.
  3. Make sure your model/muse is very relaxed to where you can feel the energy of the image just from looking at the model/muse in the image.
  4. Don’t overdo your editing on the image. Make sure the edit is clean and crisp. Add your own signature filters to it to make it stand out.
  5. Be confident in your own work!

JB: Who are some photographers you are inspired by? Who are a few photographers you will love to collaborate with? Are there any celebrities you would love to shoot?

AB: One of my favorite photographers that I follow is Rolexx. She is Bryson Tiller’s photographer. Her work shows me how dope I can be when it comes to doing urban photography. I even DM’d her one day asking about what route to take when beginning photography, and she DM’d me back with advice. That meant a lot to me. Right now, I would love to collaborate with two photographers that I met in Starkville, Chauncey and Jeffery Daniel. They’re both dope and have really creative minds.

The three celebrities that I would love to shoot with would be Bryson Tiller, Travis Scott, and SZA. Shooting with Tiller would be crazy just because he’s my favorite artist, plus he has an urban style. Scott would be made wild because he’s always hyped and just always full of energy at his shows. SZA would give me this chilled and vibed out type of feel. She’s just a really chilled and talented woman.

JB: Last question, what advice would you give to aspiring photographers looking to get started?

AB: My advice is to simply go for it! The hardest step is telling yourself “I’m going to do this,” and actually going out doing shoots. Once you decide that you want to do photography, don’t stop shooting. Always keep working and progressing with every shoot, and always be confident in yourself and in your work.

Follow @imagesbybarnes on Instagram



Leave a Reply