As I sit and ponder the freaky year of 2020, I'm both happy with what I've achieved and with my advancement as a photographer, but also sad that the pandemic changed what was suppose to be my most traveled year of photography yet!
I always like to look at both sides of events, and with 2020, I have to admit, it's possible my YouTube channel could have been completely different if not for covid, and perhaps not as successful. While I don' t have a barometer to measure the results of my YouTube channel in regards to success/failure, I do feel like my channel was a personal success.
In actual numbers, since I jump-started my channel using the Ricoh GR III with my 'Review for Long Exposure and Night Photography' video on May 5, 2020, I've posted an additional 41 videos, with a total of 80,000 views, 7,000 watch hours, and over 1,100 subscribers. I'm averaging over 100 new subscribers per month.
The goal is to earn an income from the YouTube channel, but achieving that goal takes a plan that I've yet to devise. I'm not sure if it will/should/could include photography workshops (given the new environment of social distancing), online educational tools (not organized enough to do or promote seminars/lessons), merchandise (still haven't sold a single Stealth Photographer Coffee mug!), books (street is one of most difficult to feature - could try tips/technique book), or the least likely possibility, waiting for YouTube viewership earnings.
This means having enough viewers that youtube pays me when people click on ads, etc. However, it requires hundreds of thousands of clicks, and my channel is not at that level yet, though I have surpassed the required viewer hours and subscribers to monetize my channel.
The dilemma there is do I inconvenience viewers with ads popping up, or keep it ad-free and a smoother viewing experience for viewers?
I'm leaning toward not monetizing my channel for the time-being, hoping that I can find other avenues to generate youtube income.
I will continue my goal of weekly street photography videos, but would like to add an official Vlog this year as well. The Vlog would be a second video each week that does not focus on street photography. While this gives me an opportunity to feature something other than street, it also obligates me to feature something other than street - a dual-edged sword.
I won't obligate myself to two videos every week, but that is the goal. Regardless of any financial reward that I can pull out of these videos, which is likely little to nothing, it will keep my mind moving forward in the photography field, and force me to experience new adventure, which I'm usually very grateful to have done.
The biggest obstacle in my way is getting started when the weather is at it's absolute coldest in Indiana - January. We have been blessed with a mild winter so far, and I'm hoping that continues throughout the rest of the winter months.
I'm no fan of cold weather, snow or ice. I hold out hope that in my older years, I won't be stressing with snow shoveling, and shivering in general, but will be in a warm climate, enjoying the sun and warm temperatures year-round.
I'm also not big on new year resolutions. I do believe in goals, but also in flexibility, as I'm not a creature of habit when it comes to life's goals and entertainment, and personal interests. I like to keep moving forward and sometimes it means abandoning previous goals or ideas for updated, new goals and experiences.
My two main goals for 2021 are to extend my street photography beyond Indianapolis and start visiting other cities, and shoot more rural and adventure photography/videos.
Again, this will get me out of the house and shooting, other than the handful of real estate agents that use me occasionally when they have a large home for sale that they need interior photos for.
It's important to get outside and shoot to experience new situations. Adding travel to it makes it even more attractive for me. Let's keep expectations moderate for 2021 after a most unusual 2020, and just keep the goal of getting out of Indiana, and do it without wearing a mask!