A Small Step or a Giant Leap?

This week, after a little planning and more than a little help from Mrs Sale, I took a step further to realising my dream of becoming a professional landscape photographer. But I would not have been able to make that step without the support that I have received from the people that watch my YouTube channel.

The River Brathay near Elterwater

Monday 9th March 2020

I had a 1-2-1 this morning with Stephen “Ratty” Cross.

We spent the morning at Tarn Hows, Coniston Water and Kelly Hall Tarn.

Stephen is a passionate nature photographer. Although he has many years of experience I was still able to help him refine his in camera workflow. This allowed him to capture some strong images despite the less than favourable conditions.

Stephen Cross on the jetty at Coniston Water
Stephen on the jetty on Coniston Water. It was a bit of a black and white long exposure day, so that is exactly what we did.

Tuesday 10th

After 2 weeks when I have been very busy with workshops and 1-2-1s it was almost a relief to have a day in the office.

I spent most of today catching up with emails.

In other news the Photography Show has been postponed due to the Corona Virus. Probably just as well as I have a mountain of work to get through.

Wednesday 11th

Another day in the office. Spent most of it responding to comments on my most recent videos.

I also took a look at my YouTube statistics.

Since the start of the year I have been producing 2 videos a week.

I was surprised to find that despite a 24% increase in views for the first quarter this year (and we still have 3 weeks left) revenue is actually down 2%.

I think that this just goes to show that YouTube is probably not a viable income stream for me at the moment.

Thursday 12th

Finally found some time to spend uploading the images that have been submitted in response to the video that I did about 52 Assignments: Landscape Photography.

Jules and I spent some time reviewing the submissions. It was interesting to see how different people tackled each of the submissions.

If you’d like to see the images check out this post about the 52 Assignments.

Friday 13th

My one and only opportunity to get out and shoot this week.

I headed to Elterwater to prepare for a 1-2-1 that I have in a few days time.

The River Brathay is a glaring omission from my portfolio, probably because despite there being huge scope I have yet to figure out my preferred composition.

It was a glorious morning with clear skies so I spent my time exploring a few compositions with the aim of finding ‘the one’.

The River Brathay near Elterwater
I have finally identified my preferred composition for the River Brathay. I will now put together a plan to revisit when conditions are more favourable.

Saturday 14th

Finally, with the help of Mrs Sale, I have been able to confirm the venue and date for my first photography exhibition.

I decided that I want to test the water and so have chosen a single date as a trial run.

I am hoping that picking a prime location in a popular village at the beginning of the summer holidays will help to draw a few people in.

My Lake District landscape photography exhibition
I shall be hosting my first photography exhibition on Wednesday 29th July at the Grasmere R.A.O.B Club. I am hoping to announce further dates in the near future.

My first exhibition would not have been possible without the support of the people that watch my YouTube videos. Their kind donations have funded the purchase of the frames that I need for the exhibition.

If you would like to support my exhibition please visit my ko-fi page.

Sunday 15th

I spent the day in the office working on my 6 month update video.

I cannot quite believe that it has been 6 months since I left my old job to follow my dream of becoming a landscape photographer.

This week it feels like I have taken a big step to turning that dream into a reality.

I am both excited and nervous about my first exhibition. This is a big step for me and something that I have been dreaming about for a long time.

The realisation that my income from YouTube has fallen despite doubling the amount of videos that I have been producing is disappointing. Perhaps my time would be better spent elsewhere?

But pulling back from YouTube will be hard. After all, without the support of the people that watch my videos I would not be hosting my first exhibition.


25 thoughts on “A Small Step or a Giant Leap?”

  1. Chris, great news about your 1st exhibition hope every thing exceeds all expectations. You have come along way in the past 6 months, shame about the drop off in You tube, with all that is going on in the world at the moment that might be just for a short period, fingers crossed for you.

    1. Hi Ross, I was very excited about my first exhibition. Unfortunately that has been eclipsed in the last few days by the escalation of the global coronavirus pandemic. All of a sudden there seems to be far more important things to worry about.

  2. Great to see you realising your dream, it would be a pity if you stopped your YouTube videos entirely. I just wish your exhibition was on any other day in July as it’s my Stepsons Birthday on the 29th, as he’ll be 20 he may decide to do something with his girlfriend allowing me to still visit your exhibition and visit Grasmere, a place I’ve never been and would love to practice some Landscape Photography around there. I mainly shoot Street but do a little Landscape here and there, it’s something I’d like to do more of.

    1. Hi Brian, I won’t stop producing YouTube videos entirely. In fact, following the escalation of the coronavirus pandemic it doesn’t look like I will have much else to do.

  3. Hello Chris. I am happy to hear that you will soon have your first exhibition. I wish you the best of luck and hope that you will find many people who are willing to pay the right price for your art. Regarding YouTube earnings, do I see that you haven’t linked your gear? Now that I am in quarantine, I have time to watch videos. I have planned to look again from the beginning.

    Have a nice week

    Greetings from Norway

    1. Hi Jörg – sorry to hear you are in quarantine. I have been lucky so far and am still allowed out so long as I keep away from others. Regarding linking my gear, I used to but never made any money out of it.

  4. Hello Chris
    Great to hear that you have arranged your first exhibition. Hope it a great success and first of many.
    All being well I will try to get down for the day.



  5. Congratulations on your first exhibition. A nerve wracking experience as I am aware and you are no doubt facing it with some trepidation, but just think of the satisfaction when it comes to fruition. I wish you every success.

    1. Thanks Rob, yeah I am very nervous about it. Thankfully, because of the huge support that I have had from the people that watch my videos at least there is no financial risk associated with it. If it doesn’t go well the only thing that I would have lost is my time.

  6. Chris, have faith. I’m convinced that your exhibition will be a success. On the other hand, I think your educational youtube videos more than contribute to your fame as a photographer and photography teacher. So please continue with Youtube. It’s part of your future success.
    Kind greetings from Belgium

    1. Hi Rene! YouTube is hugely important to me with regard to building my brand as a photographer. However, in the long run I don’t know if I can justify spending as much time producing videos as I do at time moment. Anyway, in light of the coronavirus I will continue as before in the hope that I can provide a little distraction to those unable to get out with their cameras.

  7. Chris, keep up with the YouTube, but don’t count on it. Think of it as an advertisement. If your not already doing it , look into affiliate programs on Amazon and elsewhere. You have the viewers, see if you can get those viewers to go to affiliate stores. Just another source of income to add to what your already doing.

    1. Thanks Jason – I have tried Amazon affiliates but never made anything from it. I have other plans to generate an income but might will probably have to reduce the amount of time I spend on YouTube to accommodate them.

  8. Chris – managing the ebb and flow of running a business I’m sure must be challenging. Despite the decrease in income, I would argue that YT is still an important element of your overall business strategy. I’m glad to see that your long-awaited exhibition is coming to fruition. Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

    1. You are right Miguel, YouTube is important to my business. I just don’t think I am seeing the return for the effort of producing 2 videos a week. Once the coronavirus has settled down and things return to normal I will have to make the decision if I should return to producing 1 video a week.

  9. It certainly would be shame to pull out of YouTube entirely, maybe once every two weeks is sufficient?

    I’ve never seen the platform as an income stream, but it’s certainly good to create awareness and build brand.

    Glad to see you’re doing so much, and wishing you success with you exhibition. I will do my best to come up, but right now travel isn’t on the cards for a while.

    – Simon

    1. Sound advice as usual mate. But with the coronavirus pandemic I now have more time on my hands than I know what to do with so I guess I will leave things as they are for a while.

  10. Chris, I agree with you, pull back to YouTube 1x per week. For additional sales opps find something you can hawk for under $10 – which seems to be a magic benchmark I’ve noticed on other photog sites. I’m thinking more detailed/indepth instructions on topics, i.e. focus stacking onsite through processing, the how-to secrets via a webinar for X amount of money. There’s so much on YouTube, find your niche and develop it. I think presets and brushes are oversaturated now so I’d stay away from those. Workshops may take a hit depending on how bad the coming recession is/is not.

    1. Thanks Trey – there seem to be so many ways to make a living, the tricky part is deciding what to attempt first! Thanks for your suggestions, I really appreciate it.

  11. Cracking news about your first exhibition i’m sure it will go down really well. i may even try and get their myself.

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