YouTube channels that have helped me progress

One of the things that I’ve found really helpful in the past year as I’ve been learning the ropes about photography are photography YouTube channels. These have been invaluable for me in terms of getting me to think about my photography more, particularly in terms of composition and technique. Something I have been keen to do since taking a Shaw Academy basic photography course is to keep progressing and learning, vlogs have been really helpful in this process. (I’ve also become a regular buyer of Digital Camera magazine, but there’s something about vlogs that I find particularly helpful.)

Given I’ve found these vlogs useful (and given I’m trying to get back into the habit of blogging!), I thought I’d share a list of the vlogs I’ve subscribed to. Do let me know in the comments if there are others you have found useful!


1.     The Art of Photography – This is the first vlog that I subscribed to on YouTube…albeit in a weird way. I’d subscribed to the channel via iTunes as a podcast and, after a while, thought it was a bit weird it was rarely update and yet Ted often talked about stuff that seemed to have happened previously that I was completely unaware of. Eventually I twigged that what I should subscribe to is his YouTube channel, and it has been an invaluable source of information. Ted’s channel is exceptionally well produced (many times looking like a professional documentary, particularly when out in the field) and his passion and enthusiasm are infectious.  He’s got me thinking a lot about composition as well as about ensuring that I never lose sight of the love of photography, that I don’t fall into it being a routine or something that causes anxiety. As part of his channel, Ted also does a series of interviews with respected photographers. I admit I’ve not really checked into these yet, but it’s something I intend to start doing as I feel engaging with the styles and approaches of respected professionals can only aid my development. If you haven’t already, I’d definitely recommend checking out Ted’s channel.


2.     Nigel Danson – Nigel is a landscape photographer, one that not long ago gave up his career to be a professional. As someone interested in landscape photography myself, I have found Nigel’s videos to be essential to my development and understanding of great landscape photography (although I have a way to go until I get close to his quality!). Nigel covers everything from his spectacular field trips (he even uses a drone to produce his films which produces breath-taking results) to tips about equipment. I’ve got to admit, I often watch his videos with awe and a degree of nervousness (I’m scared of heights and often his ‘standing on the edge of a mountain looking down’ viewpoints fill me with dread…and cause me to doubt the extent to which I can take great landscapes). But I have learnt a lot about style, technique and composition from his films and, like Ted, his enthusiasm and passion can’t help but make you want to go out and experiment.


3.     Jamie Windsor – Jamie has a very different style to Ted and Nigel, but he is no less passionate and engaging. Jamie takes a rather relaxed, offbeat look at photography, primarily focusing on techniques rather than kit. He also produces some challenging videos that really encourage you to critically reflect on your photography (eg “Why BAD Photographers THINK They’re Good”, “You’re NOT as TALENTED as you think” and “Why WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY is BORING (and how to change that)”). I particularly enjoyed his video on approaching strangers for portraits (something that he, as I am, was very nervous and reticent about doing), it gave me plenty to think about in terms of how I would approach street portraiture (although I’ve still not done it yet!). If you want something a bit more informal, yet still inspiring, I’d definitely recommend Jamie’s channel.


4.     Mike Browne – Mike is someone I think of as the kind of traditional idea of a photographer (although that doesn’t mean his photography is old fashioned by any stretch). Mike shoots his videos in a very professional way, but they still have the feel of someone who isn’t a polished performer, which is great, it feels much more natural than some other photography channels. Mike makes mistakes, he sometimes writes notes that he refers to during his videos, but none of this detracts from the videos he makes, if anything it enhances them. He recently ran a chat on growing confidence (I missed it but caught up on the chat afterwards) and it really got me thinking about my own photography, my own issues with confidence and some of the ways I need to think about overcoming my fears and taking my photography on a level. Mike’s revelations about his own fears and lack of confidence certainly helped to make him appear a much more natural presenter than some others you find online. And, well, that’s quite refreshing when polished performance is seen as an essential component of a good video, when the reality is that good information makes a good video.

Anyway, they’re the main channels I follow, what about you? Are there great photography channels on YouTube that you find useful? Do you have a channel, or thinking of starting one? I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments below!