Çağla Çağlar

A still from the music video for Minstrel's song Back to Where You've Never Been, showing a man in a suit lying on a grassy landscape next to a body of water. Shot on a Canon EOS C500 Mark II by Canon Ambassador Çağla Çağlar.

A still from the music video for Minstrel's song Back to Where You've Never Been, shot on a Canon EOS C500 Mark II. "At the request of the artist, the clip deals with the subject of a man who lost his wife, meeting her in the world of dreams and understanding her," explains filmmaker Çağla Çağlar. "We created a parallel fiction between the forest area and the house." © Çağla Çağlar

"I was interested in creating fictional worlds and wanted to show that through the human body," says Çağla Çağlar, who first picked up a camera at the age of 15, inspired by her grandfather who was a professional photographer.

While she was getting to grips with her camera and its functions, Çağla focused predominantly on landscapes and still life before moving onto portraits of people, which she immediately fell in love with. When she turned 18, Çağla enrolled at the Istanbul Topkapi University (then known as the Plato Vocational School) to study photography and videography. "Learning the theory of photography and film was very useful to me," she recalls. "I learnt the history of art, which expanded my horizons, and I learnt the technical aspects of my trade in applied lessons."

Çağla's first job in the industry was as an Assistant Director on a television sitcom, Sen Harikasın, which aired on a national channel in Turkey. She continued to work in TV and on commercial sets for 10 years alongside working as a photographer, shooting simple but emotive portraits and posters for theatre productions. Once established in the industry, Çağla began writing, producing and directing her own short films – the first being Minval, which aired in 2016.

As for the work that she's most proud of, Çağla says it's the music video she created for artist Minstrel's song, Back to Where You've Never Been. "I love taking photos in a series because it gives me a chance to show my cinematic perspective," she says. "This is the piece that satisfies me most in terms of composition and cinematic quality."

A black and white headshot of Canon Ambassador Çağla Çağlar.
Location: Istanbul, Turkey

Specialist areas: Music videos, short films

Favourite kit: Canon EOS C500 Mark II
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM
The music video for Deniz Bayoğlu's song Strong, directed and shot by Canon Ambassador Çağla Çağlar on a Canon EOS C70.

Çağla's most recent work includes collaborating with artists that she can develop a good working relationship with on music videos, such as for Deniz Bayoğlu's song Strong, shot on a Canon EOS C70 (above). She also makes short films that deal with psychological topics presented through a central character.

A black and white still from Canon Ambassador Çağla Çağlar's first short film Minval, shot on a Canon EOS 7D, showing two people sitting at a table in a desert landscape.

A still from Çağla's first short film Minval, shot on a Canon EOS 7D. "It's about the main character questioning happiness and realising, with the answers he receives, that happiness cannot be permanent," explains Çağla. "It was shot in a clay pit in Istanbul using only an EOS 7D." © Çağla Çağlar

A still from the music video for Hakan Kalgıdım's song Dökünce Gül Dikenlerini, showing two men in suits appearing to arm wrestle in an empty room. Shot on a Canon EOS C500 Mark II by Canon Ambassador Çağla Çağlar.

A still from the music video for Hakan Kalgıdım's song Dökünce Gül Dikenlerini, shot on a Canon EOS C500 Mark II. "We decided that we could convey the spirit of the song better with choreography," says Çağla. "We shot it in a mystical empty building." © Çağla Çağlar

With experience in all aspects of photography and cinematography, Çağla prefers to take on projects where she has full creative control. By understanding the entire process, she is able to create powerful fictional worlds that draw audiences in. "I have been interested in cinema for as long as I can remember," she says. "The biggest advice I can give to those like me is to not give up."

What inspires your work?

"I take inspiration from everything that affects my emotional state – music, movies, where I live, weather conditions. I compose emotional states and events through the human body, and prefer simple but effective visuals."

How do you tailor your approach to tell stories in a way that reflects your style?

"I choose my lens according to the subject I will shoot. I generally prefer wide or medium lenses because telephoto lenses narrow my field too much. I prefer soft tones, so I avoid creating scenes with too much contrast, and when shooting externally, I adapt my settings to create a consistent aesthetic."

How does your approach differ between each piece of work you make?

"I usually write and direct short films myself, which makes me freer. I can express my own feelings in my own language. When I'm shooting commercial projects, such as music videos, all decisions are made by a group of people. The artist will share with me what they feel about the music they make, and I make something that I hope aligns with their thoughts. I love my work, but I feel the most free when I'm working on personal projects."

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

"It makes me happy to know that my work is valued. It encourages me to have my photographs exhibited, and to have my films watched and appreciated. Knowing that people appreciate my work is an important motivator for me, as I think it must be for any artist."

One thing I know

Çağla Çağlar

"There is nothing that can't be achieved when you work systematically. This industry has taught me to be patient and to work hard. There are many things that can dissuade artists from continuing, such as financial instability or the feeling that your voice isn't being heard, but if you can protect yourself mentally and carry on regardless, you will eventually reach your goals."

Instagram: @caglacaglarr

Vimeo: @caglacaglar

Çağla Çağlar's kitbag

The key kit that the pros use to take their photographs

Canon Ambassador Çağla Çağlar's kitbag containing a Canon camera, lenses and accessories.


Canon EOS C500 Mark II

A 5.9K full-frame sensor packed into a compact and reliable Cinema EOS body. "Currently, the EOS C500 Mark II is the camera I use most for my clips," says Çağla.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Uncompromising image quality from a camera body that's built to stand the test of time. "I started with a Canon EOS 400D and progressed to the Canon EOS 7D, but now shoot all my stills on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV," says Çağla.


Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM

A premium quality ultra-wide zoom lens for when you need to capture the whole scene. "35mm is my favourite focal length, but sometimes I need to go wider, so this zoom lens is a great tool," says Çağla.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

A professional L-series lens, perfect for shooting in low light or when you need extreme depth of field control. "I like being able to shoot what I see, so I like to work with 50mm primes," says Çağla.

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