List of Top 100 photography Youtube channels of 2016

December 29, 2016


I'm a big fan of Youtube, and I love photography, so you won't be surprised to know that I am subscribed to a lot of channels who's main goal is gear reviews and photography tips. In fact, I'm following several such channels since early 2015, that is almost 2 years now, so I do have some knowledge about which channels are popular, and what they're all about. What inspired my post was this post post by PetaPixel named 13 Photography Channels You Should Follow from August 2016, that was expanded to 23 channels, and created a lot of buzz. Since I'm a very systematic guy, I went further, and searched Youtube for many days to come up with the Top 100 Photography Youtube channels of 2016 in English language.

Criteria

The two most important criteria to land on my list of Top 100 Youtube channels are: The total video views and the channel has to be run in English language. I believe that the number of subscribers is less important than video views, Youtube itself has begun to defocus subscriptions and focusing on recommended videos, as well as trending videos. Video views are the real indicator about how popular a channel is, because they show engagement, and actual content consumption. Clicking subscribe doesn't necessarily mean more than just a click. I've seen a lot of photography channels with high subscriber numbers stagnating, and being way below in video views. One more important thing: I have purposely avoided adding pure Photoshop/Lightroom tutorial channels, because they're mostly about software tips and tricks, very niche and narrow. I have also not added official channels of photography gear and software manufacturers.

The list of Top Photography Youtube channels

Here is the list of Top 100 channels as of December 28th 2016 (you can check all the channels via the provided links):



Conclusions

Digital Rev TV is by far the most popular photography Youtube channel in 2016, it was ahead of anyone else, but recently two of their main hosts (Kai and Lok) left, and opened their own channels, so the growth of Digital Rev TV in 2017 is very questionable. The challengers Fro Knows Photo and Matt Granger, who are currently at the second and third spot might move much closer, and have a chance to narrow the gap, but it will be still difficult to overtake Digital Rev TV in just one year when it comes to video views. Two big underdogs were on the rise this year: The Angry Photographer and The Art Of The Image. They have catapulted themselves into the top 20 this year, both with around 20 million video views, and a very similar way of producing content: Basically sitting in front of a camera and talking, which is what Youtube used to be in the beginning ("back to the roots" approach). Most other channels in the Top 20 have large teams, and pay a lot of attention to video quality. They over-emphasize production value, but the quality of the content is often lacking. A lot of them also closely work with brands, and make money via Amazon affiliate links, so the information they provide has to be taken with a grain of salt. I believe The Angry Photographer will be among Top 10 channels by the end of 2017, while Art of The Image should be in the top 15, provided they continue to make videos at the same pace. The channel that is falling behind recently is Jason Lanier. It used to be in Top 20 a year ago, but just like his favorite camera brand Sony, he's not being able to keep pace with competition, and will continue to slide in 2017. Other channels are simply leapfroging him, most notably The Angry Photographer, the very channel he attacked and ridiculed in the past.

Karma?

In addition, there are some channels that may not be in the top 20, but deserve to be highlighted, because they're offering some great content. These are my top 5 that I want to mention here: Ted Vieira, Zed ProMedia, Steve Perry, and Thomas Heaton, and Darren Miles. I believe most of them will be growing well in 2017, if they continue to deliver such great content like this year, so go and subscribe to them, if you're just starting with photography - you won't regret it. Let's hope 2017 will be a great year for photography content on Youtube. May the best one win next year!

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