Everyone dabbles in taking photos and making videos these days, but what if you wanted to take it seriously? Do you need to quit your job and enroll in art or film school?
While that might be a fine way to spend a few years accumulating student debt, it turns out the world is full of talented creatives who freely share their knowledge online via YouTube photography and videography lessons.
1. Potato Jet
Gene Nagata’s channel is inexplicably known as Potato Jet, but the real purpose of his channel is the exploration of cinematography and the camera technology behind it. If you need to learn about cameras from consumer to professional units, this is the channel for you.
In his YouTube photography and videography lessons, Gene can explain complex technical concepts in a way that just about anyone can understand. If you want to learn how a pro does the job of cinematic video creation, Potato Jet is one of the most open dudes on YouTube.
He’s created content about almost every aspect of the job and there’s no way you’ll come out of watching his videos without a much deeper knowledge of the methods and technologies that cinematographers use. He also has unprecedented access to high-grade equipment that costs thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
2. Ben Claremont
There are many niches in the photography and videography world and Ben Claremont has certainly found his. Ben is widely recognized as an expert and pioneer in the world of 360-degree content.
That includes spherical photos, spherical videos, the business model of 360-content, the camera technologies and every other aspect of this burgeoning market you can imagine.
3. Daniel Shiffer
Have you ever seen those super-creative commercials for breakfast cereal or coffee beans? They look pretty expensive to make right? They probably use computer graphics.
Daniel Schiffer has developed his own methods of creating professional commercials without computer graphics or massive budgets. Using nothing more than creative sets and a DSLR camera, Daniel has carved out a niche for himself that no one else can match. There is so much to learn both about how he built his video production from the ground up and the actual technical and artistic details of his work.
Daniel is open about sharing his knowledge. In our opinion, he’s one of the most inspirational creative YouTubers out there. His channel filled with YouTube videography lessons is perfect to help fire the imagination of those who want to get into marketing cinematography as a solo act or with a small team.
4. Peter McKinnon
Peter McKinnon started off as a vlogger on YouTube, but this talented photographer quickly gained fame for his tutorial content. If you want to learn about the art of filmmaking, photography and visual storytelling, this is the channel to watch. Peter’s unique style and personality have endeared him to millions of subscribers, but there’s genuine educational value to his content.
There’s plenty of direct teaching going on here, with product reviews and discussions of specific techniques and approaches. However, the true value of Peter’s content is implicit. Just by watching the videos he puts out you can learn a lot about how to tell a story using nothing but editing and framing. The way that McKinnon builds visual narratives is both special and attainable if you’re attentive enough to understand what he’s doing.
Though he probably doesn’t need it as much anymore, Peter is also a great resource for indie filmmakers who need to figure out how to get those amazing cinematic shots on a budget or at least how to fake it in post-production!
5. Jared Polin
A high-energy and laugh-out-loud funny channel, FroKnowsPhoto is also one of the best educational resources for photographers on the web. Jared Polin is both an incredibly knowledgeable photographer and a talented host.
On this channel you’ll learn not just about the art of photography, but also about your gear. Jared does fantastic walkthroughs of popular cameras, taking you through every setting. He’ll explain what each menu entry does and even give you tips about which settings are optimal.
In his YouTube photography lessons, Jared covers every aspect of photography, but for our money it’s his deep understanding of gear and which tools work best for each job that makes this channel priceless.
6. Drone Film Guide
Camera drones are quickly becoming a standard part of any photographer or videographer’s toolkit. They’re affordable, have amazing video quality and bring aerial photography into the realm of possibility for almost everyone.
That being said, you still need to know how best to use a drone to elevate your project, which is where Drone Film Guide comes into the picture. Both their YouTube photography channel and website are packed with useful information for both beginners and more advanced drone pilots.
If you’ve been struggling to get the shots or execute the vision that you have for your drone, this is the first place we’d recommend you go to find ideas and solutions.
7. No Film School
The name is probably a major give away, but No Film School is a massive online resource for anyone who wants to make film. This includes reviews of cinematic gear as well as practical advice on every aspect of filmmaking from writing screenplays to the names of various cinematic shots and how to achieve them.
It features interviews and content from many different professionals that work in every aspect of making film. We can’t think of any other YouTube videography channel that covers the length and breadth of filmmaking topics that No Film School does, so it’s an essential bookmark.
The only real criticism is that the sheer volume of YouTube videography lessons can be bewildering. So it’s best to go in with specific questions you need answers for.
8. Matti Haapojha
Matti is one of the most prominent filmmaking YouTubers out there and part of the same inner circle of creative as Peter McKinnon. Matti’s YouTube channel has a lot of gear reviews, daily vlogs and lifestyle elements.
However, there are over 200 tutorial videos on the channel, all neatly collected in one playlist. Not that his other content cannot be educational.
Matti has a very unique outlook on both the creative and business side of working in film, which is one of the things that makes him stand out from other creators. While his personality and outlook won’t appeal to everyone, if you click with his particular vibe then there’s a lot to learn here.
The rise of affordable equipment and platforms like YouTube have opened up the creator space like never before. Most of the people who create the YouTube photography and videography lessons we’ve highlighted above were people just like you. They had an aspiration to become full-time creative professionals, but there’s no standard road map to reach those goals.
The great thing about how easy it is to share experiences and knowledge these days is that you don’t have to learn all the lessons they did the hard way. We can build on what they’ve done and learn entirely new lessons for another generation of creative people to build on. The future of photography and film seems bright, thanks to the shoulders of giants that rising talents stand on.