TTV Technique – "Through The Viewfinder"

Here is how I shot the images from the previous two posts.  It is a technique called “Through The Viewfinder” or TTV for short.


My friend and fellow shooter, Kevin Abeyta (pictured above), came over the other day and picked up an old camera I had laying around as decoration and asked if I had seen the TTV work people were doing with these old cameras.  I had no idea what he was talking about.  He told me to search for it on Flickr.  That search turned up a ton of hits.

So you take an old twin lens camera that can be found for a few bucks at flea markets, thrift stores, ebay, etc. and shoot the viewfinder of the camera.

TTV by Zack Arias

This would work a lot better if I had a macro lens.  This was shot with my 35mm f2.  Then you can just crop out the rest of the frame….

TTV by Atlanta Headshot Photographer Zack Arias  

This is the set up with the ghetto Lego box put around the camera and lens to cut out light falling in the viewfinder…

TTV photography by Zack Arias - Atlanta editorial photographer 

Like I said, I am late to the game. Check out this Flickr group. There are currently more than 3,000 members who have contributed over 21,000 TTV images into this particular pool.

Check out this variation of TTV.

There you have it. Look for these old camera that have a good amount of mold and fungus and crap in the viewfinder to add texture to the images.

Cheers, Zack


  • Shawn said on April 11, 2008

    i love the juxtaposition of the D3 with the cardboard rig!

  • erin antognoli said on April 11, 2008

    this is really neat, zack! i never thought to try this. i have a ton of these old cameras that i pretty much just use for decoration… now i have a new project to try.

    though i feel a little dirty thinking about using anything other than my holga…

  • april freakin chompunuchtanin said on April 13, 2008

  • melissa said on April 14, 2008

    heh you should bring it to detroit :) I’ve been really enjoying my ttv work lately. a quick fix when I want film but don’t have the time to deal with it!

  • Bob Decker said on April 14, 2008

    Now I have something new to do with my camera collection! Thanks man!!!;)

  • Christopher Grisanti said on April 15, 2008

    Thanks for sharing. Love the technique. That image of your kids is timeless, man!

  • Levi Webb said on July 16, 2008

    That is a great technique for sure, cheers for sharing and for setting my next mission.

  • JC Sullivan said on December 2, 2008

    So, maybe now I will pick-up one of ’em TLRs – thanks to you and your buddy.

  • Jeff Gaines said on May 28, 2009

    This is brilliant.

  • Chucko said on June 3, 2010

    Great! Now another way to waste my time :) Got a couple of old war horses chomping at the bits to try this out.

    They’re not really that rusty, this was photoshopped to get that look. Can’t wait to try this through that little view camera’s tilt and shift.

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