So, I have a day off work midweek and thought it was going to be an ideal day to go out and take some photographs. The Gower is much quieter on the weekdays, especially in winter. I didn't mind that it was going to be cold, I can dress for that, but it was forecast dry, and that for me is the important thing. What I hadn't bargained on was the lack of light, and what was available was flat, dull and boring, so ended up, in the car, parked, over looking a bay, thinking about my favourite channels on YouTube.
A number of years ago I was in a relationship with a lady that had two teenage daughters. For the life of me, I couldn't understand why they would sit indoors watching youtube when they could be in the garden and have inspirational and fascinating conversations with us adults.
OK, I said that tongue in cheek. I do fully understand that teenagers need their own space. And in fairness, they would spend time with us. Normally as a prelude to asking for money. In fact, we enjoyed these encounters, watching as they built up to the big question.
But I really couldn't understand the draw of this youtube thing.
One day, having a conversation with my partner over dinner, I was talking about trying to find out something about a photographic technique that I hadn't used for years and couldn't fully remember how it was achieved. One of the girls piped up and said: "Look it up on youtube. "To which I replied (Because I'm dead funny) "Why, does Justin Timberlake know a lot about photography?". As she left, she said, "you may be surprised grasshopper" (she thinks she's dead funny - stealing one of my overused responses).
Later that night I gave it a try. I've been hooked on youtube ever since.
Like most of the internet, not all of the information is correct. Just because it's on the internet doesn't mean its right. But what is also true is that there is a wealth of experience out there that we can now share. Just don't take everything for granted.
There are any number of photographers with youtube channels, and I watch way too many of them when I should be working. You will find the ones you like, but I've included my top 15... I couldn't get it down to a top ten and thought that I'd been very good at keeping it to so few. Starting with number 22, I work my way down to number 1, my favourite of them all, and I've included a random video of their's for you to get a taster, if you've not watched them before.
Originally this started as a list of 15. But as I was driving home, I kept remembering others.. So the list grew and I know that I'll kick myself for forgetting some. Truth be told, I dont think there is a photography channel that I don't watch.
Number 22 is only so low because I've just discovered him and not watched all of his videos yet. Adam Gibbs from Canada produces great videos with superb production value. Softly spoken he is easy to watch and chats away like a friend.
Gareth Danks my next pick. Gareth is very enthusiastic and a great photographer. The video below was filmed on the Gower (Langland Bay) so he gets an extra brownie point.
At 20 I have a stock and travel photographer, Julian Elliott. Julian is predominantly shooting for the travel industry but is always interesting to watch if like me, stock photography is an area of intere
Damien Waters is at 19. Damien has a lovely, relaxed way about him. Vlogs his days out with his camera, is informative and doesn't take himself to seriously. The sort of photographer that you'd love to sit down over a cup of coffee and pick their brains.
When we get to number 18 its a Welshman, Jason Jones. Jason chats throughout the vlog and not only takes superb photographs but talks us through his thought process as he searches out a composition.
At 17 I have a superb photographer, Julian Baird. Julian has just passed a fantastic milestone on youtube of a million minutes watched. no small achievement. A great content creator and story teller. Julian shoots with a Nikon D850, and he knows how to use it.
Simon Booth is up next at 16. Simon is a great photography vlogger but his 3 part series from Norway called "A DREAM REALISED" is exceptional. It makes you want to book a ticket on the next plane. Try to watch them together, just make yourself a cup of coffee and put your feet up.
A photography vlogger with a GoPro stuck on his head is number 15. Evan Ranft. Evan, a pro photographer from Atlanta has a unique tutorial style. He straps a GoPro to his head so that we see his process form his perspective. It sounds strange but it works
In at number 14 (I sound like a DJ) is Kim Grant. Now with Kim, there isn't a huge amount of photography, and she certainly doesn't try to teach. She is simply a photographer, out on her photography walks and chatting away with endless enthusiasm. I wish I could be as enthusiastic as her; she's even happy when its raining and always sees the bright side in any given situation. Based in Scotland, she is obviously very proud of her country and when you see some of the locations that she visits its hard to disagree.
Number 13 on the list is Chris Sale. Chris is fairly new to YouTube and I'm looking forward to watching the channel grow. Very much a vlog style with some interesting views on photography.
Up next is Nigel Danson is number 12. Nigel is a great photographer and has a very relaxed quiet style of presentation. A landscape photographer again, Nigel also shares some of his Lightroom and workflow techniques.
At number 11 is Mike Browne. Mike runs photography courses and that seems to be his main area of business. Luckily for us he has shared some of his teachings here on YouTube.
Next, at number 10, is Nick Page. Nick is from the USA and talks with ease about photography. Very much a vlog style channel.
Brendan Van Son is number 9. Brendon is a travel photography vlogger. He works full time at this and sells his photographs to commercial clients and uploads them to stock photography sites. He gives interesting insights into how he makes money with photography as he travels and shares some of his thought processes as he takes some of his images. Brendon is full of energy.
Number 8 is a lad from up north (UK), Gary Gough. Gary is a well-respected photographer who runs courses and has a studio in West Yorkshire. Gary also has a wedding, portrait, and commercial photography business. Gary uploads on a regular basis.
At 7 is First Man Photography, who is actually Adam Karnacz. Adam is an expert at water drop photography and produces a number of tutorials on general photography. Some from his office and some out on location. Adam has a wealth of knowledge and shares it in an easy to understand way.
At 6, but number one on the funny scale is James Popsys. James is a photographer who produces surreal images and does it very well. He vlogs about gear, photography, well... its hard to explain about James, not sure his mother could either.. but he's very funny and entertaining. He vlogs about photography and makes you laugh... That's why he's so high on my list.
So kicking off the top 5 is Tony and Chelsea Northrup. Tony is a lovely bloke, and if you want to know anything technical, he is your go-to guy. Not a geek exactly, well actually he is, he is full of information. If that's not your thing it's still worth watching the channel because Chelsea is rather lovely and has a dry sense of humor that keeps the channel light while keeping Tony in check. They also have a live broadcast each week.
Back to the UK for number 4 with Simon Baxter. Often upstaged by his dog, Simon is the go-to guy to learn and get inspiration for woodland photography. Simon tells us that he is an introvert, so I'm very grateful that he exposes himself through YouTube. The production value of his videos is excellent.
Number 3 is not just a photographer. Sean Tucker also shares his experiences and philosophies. Some videos are photography, some are Lightroom and Photoshop based, and some are verbal essays. He is a well-educated guy that has a lovely way of putting his thoughts across to the viewer. Sean drags you into his world, and youre happy to go.
Thomas Heaton is so high at number 2 that he may well get vertigo. To my mind, doesn't matter what type of photography you're into, Thomas has to be right up there with the best. Although don't ask him to do street photography, it's painful to watch. Predominantly he is a landscape and wildlife photographer who while I would say "a yellow leaf" he would describe as a golden medallion. Yes, he's that enthusiastic.
Yes, of course, It's Peter McKinnon. Peter has taken photography vlogging to a whole new level. He's the Casey Neistat of photography. The videos are produced to an extremely high standard, so much so that YouTubers away from photography are scrambling to be in his inner circle. Not afraid to use what is available to him, to make the video and more importantly, the image, Peter McKinnon has dragged this old boy into the modern era of cinematography and photography.