Monday 24th August 2020
After spending the weekend in Cornwall with my mum we had a long drive back home.
I got into the car feeling quite stressed. I have a lot to get done this week.
Helen and I talked things through and it became obvious that I just didn’t have time for YouTube this week.
It felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
I spent most of today writing my webinar about black and white photography. I am really pleased how it has come together.
I really enjoy the webinars. They are a great opportunity to actually chat to some of the people that watch my videos.
I’ve been thinking for some time that I would like to create more opportunities for photographers to come together and to share their experiences.
Today was my wedding anniversary. We’ve been married for 14 years.
We decided to celebrate in style by having lunch at L’Enclume, Simon Rogan’s 2 Michelin starred restaurant in Cartmel.
It was the first time we have eaten out since the start of the coronavirus crisis.
This week is the last of my first year as a full-time photographer. It is time to reflect on the last 12 months and to make fresh plans for the year ahead.
Largely I have been satisfied with the progress that I have made this year, often under difficult circumstances. However, one area that I am not happy with has been my growth on social media.
Platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are essential for marketing my business. But despite a promising start last autumn progress has been slow ever since.
The main problem has been that I have been spending too much time producing the wrong sort of content. I also haven’t been using my time efficiently.
In the last 4 months views on my YouTube channel have fallen by a 1/3. This is a clear indication that the videos I have been producing have not been hitting the mark. I need to start thinking more strategically.
After much consideration I have made a couple of tough decisions. Both are designed to give myself more time to properly plan and research my videos.
The first is to drop down to producing 1 video a week. The hope is that producing 1 good video per week as opposed to 2 mediocre videos will help me to reach more people.
The second is to invest less time in responding to comments. If my channel grows to the size that I need it to be I’m not going able to keep up any way. Better to accept that now and make better use of my time.
This evening’s webinar seemed to be very well received. I certainly enjoyed myself. Webinars have been the surprise success for me this year.
My approach has been simple.
I produce monthly ‘talks’ covering a broad range of subjects that are designed to solve very specific problems.
Create a photography website for free. Find the best locations in the Lake District. Take better black and white photographs.
These talks are free to attend but at the end I ask people to buy me a coffee via my Ko-fi page if they have enjoyed them or found them useful.
In a very short space of time these webinars have become my third biggest earner, overtaking Skype mentoring, YouTube ad revenue and print sales.
I think the key to their success has been to make myself as accessible as possible. It makes a real difference to be able to meet people face-to-face (so to speak) and to answer their questions directly.
With my new strategy in mind I spent most of the day planning my next video.
I have always find it easier to craft my message when writing. So from now on there will be a blog post to accompany each video.
Buy figuring out exactly what I want to say in advance I hope so save time when it comes to filming.
It has been a week since I was last out with the camera so I was keen to take some photographs today.
During the summer I have spent a lot of time at St John’s in the Vale trying to take advantage of the sun rising in the gap between Blencathra and Clough Head. As the year progresses the sun is rising further and further to the south I decided to hear to Tewet Tarn for one last time this year.
I have been working on a shot from a small hill set back from the tarn. There are some rocks that I can use as foreground interest whilst keeping the tarn and Blencathra in the background.
When I had finished at the tarn I went off in search of a tree that I had heard about. Apparently it grows out of the side of the hill and can be used in a shot with Blencathra.
When I eventually found it I decided to practise what I had been preaching in this week’s webinar and switched to black and white.
When I got home I decided to film next week’s video.
One of the other changes that I am going to make to my channel is that I am going to stop filming on location.
Filming myself is so distracting. I often feel that I only have half my mind on my photography. I have finally decided after much to’ing and fro’ing that it is time to separate the two.
One of the exciting things about this decision is that I can tackle subjects just too complex to attempt to cover on location.
Unusually the weather over the bank holiday weekend is expected to be fine.
So I took the opportunity to head out for another shoot this morning, this time on Orrest Head over looking Windermere.
As well as my business this week I have also been reviewing my photography. Again I have made some big strides over the past 12 months.
However, my long lens landscapes need some work.
I was hoping that from Orrest Head I could shot the view across Windermere towards the Coniston Fells in the distant.
This meant that I would be shooting towards the west and, as was to be expected, all the interest appeared to be behind me.