I really fell into a rabbit hole with Youtube this year after not really paying much attention to it before. What I found was a great diversity of interesting voices and people and a place (unlike blogs where you really can’t compete anymore with the big sites for attention) where I still think an individual can stand out and make a difference. Here are a few of my favorites right now:
- Craft and Vision (David duChemin): David is a long-time NGO and humanitarian photographer who’s also been doing a lot more landscape and nature work in the last few years, and has had a long term interest in teaching photography in his books and workshops. His focus is on composition and technique as opposed to gear, and he’s written and talked about it extensively through his published books, his niche publishing house Craft and Vision, and his Vision is Better video podcast. I know that when I moved beyond my “rule of thirds” vision of photography and started thinking there was more to it than that, I ran into his work (specifically, Within the Frame) and I’ve been a huge fan of his writing ever since, and his writing has been transformative to my photography in ways I can never really hope to fully explain. He’s a former preacher and also a former stand-up comic, and both of those show through in his videos, which often sound a lot more like a sermon than a lecture (in a good way).
- The Art of Photography (Ted Forbes): Forbes is a classic photography vlogger who’s been doing this a long time. To my mind he’s the one on this list that’s most active in building and interacting with an active audience; among other things he does photo challenges where he gets his audience to submit photos on specific challenge topics and then he curates and discusses the best submissions. The topics are very tightly aligned to photography but range widely: he recently went on-site with a photo lab to document making palladium prints, which is a really nerdy (and fascinating to this ex wet lab nerd) but in the archives is a fascinating series of videos on compositional techniques, which lean heavily on his art background and his work in museums. This is the best community channel I’ve found (by a fair bit) and if not the best teaching channel, close to it, but it’s a lot more as well, and he makes it fun, casual and interesting.
- Kim Grant: Grant is fairly new to my Youtube subscriptions but her videos are really growing on me. Another U.K. based landscape photographer who’s been shooting a lot around Scotland, she’s fairly new to the Youtube game, but she has a very interesting way of talking about how and why she photographs that I find very attractive and as a nice counterpoint to the more technical side of the craft. If you look, you’ll see she’s the only female in my list, which bothers me a lot, but I’ve been looking for good female nature photographers on Youtube who publish regularly and not finding much (suggestions encouraged! And it’s different in the travel photography side of things where there’s a lot more of the “come see me in a bikini, this week I’m in Bali” crowd. Which is fine, but not what I’m looking for).
- Thomas Heaton: Heaton is a British landscape photographer and his channel has a strong aspect of the nuts and bolts of good landscape photography, but also talks a lot about what it means to be and what it takes to succeed at being a landscape photographer. It’s in a way a very low key channel because that’s his personality, but he would be the one person I’d point at if someone told me they wanted to become a pro landscape photographer and what do they need to learn.
- Ben Horne: If you had told me a year ago one of my favorite pieces of content would be someone who shoots film, and does it on an 8×10 camera, I’d never have believed you. But I’ve really come to like Horne’s videos because he brings a very different mental view of photography. His take on composition of landscapes is fascinating and he teaches both from a technical and from a philosophical aspect, and I find I’ve been really seeing my landscapes differently since I’ve started listening to him on the topic.
- Chase Jarvis: If I had to define Jarvis, I’d probably do so by describing him as a master of the personal brand. That’s a big unfair, though; he’s a high profile action photographer who’s built a large following around his talking with people about how to succeed at life. He’s also the co-founder of the Creativelive.com online educational company, which offers online instruction on photography and other topics aimed at people interested in expanding their skills and going out on their own successfully.
- Brian Matiash: Brian is a photographer who covers a number of styles. He’s recently rebooted his video work, but I remember him from his days when he worked at On1 and later Google, and so when I ran across his stuff on Youtube I checked it out. He’s putting his channel together with a focus on being a teacher of photography, and he’s doing some interesting material about that; I especially like his new Redux series, which is something I had been considering doing as well.
- Peter McKinnon: What’s up, everybody? McKinnon is an absolute phenomenon, having just cracked 1.5 million followers, but there’s a reason for that: he creates a solid channel of interesting content about photography and videography with a lot of solid technical teaching and a lot of fun, all built around a very interesting and outgoing personality.
- DLSR Video Shooter (Caleb Pike): The one gear channel I want to mention, because Caleb does a really good job of teaching you how to use this stuff and helping you find the bits and pieces you need without ever talking down at you. I’ve ended up buying a number of things for my video work based on his recommendations and he hasn’t been wrong yet.