List of Top 100 photography Youtube channels of 2017

May 21, 2017

As previously often stated, I'm a big fan of Youtube, and I love photography, so you 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 over 2 years now, so I do have some knowledge about which channels are popular, and what they're all about. This post is the second edition of the list, I have published the first one in December 2016. Let us see how much has the situation changed in a little bit less than half a year. Read on, and see the list of 2017.


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 (such as Sony, Nikon, Canon etc), and software developers (such as Adobe, DxO).

The list of Top 100 Photography Youtube channels

Here is the list of Top 100 channels as of May 21st 2017, these are the total numbers since each channel was established (all time total):

You can see that Digital Rev TV is still the all time top English language photography channel due to its success from 2011 and 2016, when the hosts Kaiman Wong and Lok Cheung became Youtube superstars, and were carrying the channel. Now that they've left the company and are producing content for their own channels, Digital Rev TV is kind of dead. In 2017 the channel only published 1 new video, however they removed 3 old ones. I'm not sure what's going on, but it seems right now the growth of that channel is only based on their legacy content, so it's only a question of time before they're overtaken. Number two by views remains Fro Knows Photo, but his growth is becoming slower and slower compared to others (are people tired of his same old routine?). In fact the first 8 channels have not lost or gained any positions since my previous list was published in December 2016. Actually the Top 20 channels have not changed much with one exception: The Angry Photographer is rising strongly, and will most likely be in the Top 10 by the end of the year, overtaking channels like The Camera Store and FStoppers, two professional channels that have a whole team of people behind them. A very notable channel rise has also been observed with Peter McKinnon, who shot up incredibly in this period. His video views grew over 500% since December 2016. His channel was so small in December 2016, that he didn't make it in the top 70, now he's number 27 and has over 17 million views. If he continues this way, I expect him to be in the Top 10 by the end of the year. A few channels disappeared, however: Notably the street photography channel  by Chuck Jines, who abandoned his old hobbt, and is now openly promoting alt-right and white supremacist propaganda (on his new Youtube Channel and Twitter). Jeff Mack, number 35 in 2016, was removed by Google for reasons unknown to me. If you click on his old link, it says: This account has been terminated due to multiple or severe violations of YouTube's policy against spam, deceptive practices, and misleading content or other Terms of Service violations.

The Angry Photographer (left) and Peter McKinnon (right).

The list of Top 50 fastest growing Photography Youtube channels (Dec 2016 - May 2017)

Let us now only look at the period of the past 6 months, that is the period between when my last list was published (Dec 28th, 2016) and today's list (May 21st, 2017). I have subtracted the 2016 numbers from the 2017 numbers and got the difference for this period. What we can observe here is that despite only one video published, Digital Rev TV continues to get the most views based on their huge library of popular videos in the past. However the duo Tony & Chelsea Northrup and the Canadian photographer Peter McKinnon have growi almost as fast, challenging Digital Rev TV's number one spot in terms of pure growth in this period. They'll definitely overtake them in this regard by the end of the year. Another strongly growing channel is The Angry Photographer, at this rate almost catching up with Fro Knows Photo, the #2 all time largest Youtube Photography channel. Former Digital Rev TV star Kaiman Wong is growing strongly as well, so is the one-man vlog The Art of Photography. Sony promoter Jason Lanier had some good traction as well due to the launch of the A9, and the backing of Sony marketing, who is sponsoring him. I'm also considering to remove him from the list, since I'm not sure whether he's still producing own content or just posting what Sony tells him to post.

Top 100 channels by subscribers

Jessica Kobeissi (left) and Kaiman Wong (right).

This is the list of Top 50 Youtubers ranked by the number of subscribers they had since the establishment of the channel (all time total). Digital Rev TV is still way ahead with nearly 1.8 million subscribers. In fact, the top 4 hasn't changed, however Peter McKinnon has had an incredible growth (+479,000 subscribers), becoming the all time number 5 in just 6 months (he wasn't even in the top 50 before). Kaiman Wong had the second fastest subscriber growth in the past 6 months (+123,000 subscribers), followed by Tony & Chelsea Northrup (+110,000 subscribers) and Jessica Kobeissi (+89,000 subscribers).


It's obvious that Youtube Photography channels are getting increasingly popular, and just like 2016, I believe 2017 will be an equally great year. I expect channels like Tony & Chelsea Northrup, Peter McKinnon, The Angry Photographer, Matt Granger, Fro Knows Photo, and Kaiman Wong to continue growing strongly, and I intend to publish a new list in the beginning of 2018, so that we can see if I was right. One trend that I am observing is that channels that are mainly promoting mirrorless or a mirrorless brand (like Sony, Olympus, etc), are increasingly growing at a lesser pace, while the channels that focus more on photography tips and the art of photography, are gaining momentum. The mirrorless hype is definitely over in 2017, after the launch of great DSLRs such as the D5/D500/D7500 from Nikon, and the 1D-X/5D mk 4/80D from Canon, and the prospect of even better more advanced models in 2017 during Nikon's centennial. It's definitely a great time to be alive and interested in photography, the choices are almost unlimited today. I will continue to watch and analyze the development of these Youtube reviewers, so subscribe to my blog for future updates. It could be that I have forgotten someone, you may tweet me the link and I will add it.


Sony backed Youtuber Jason Lanier has recently been caught saying some nasty things on a live stream about his self-chosen rival Ken Wheeler a.k.a. The Angry Photographer. He made fun of Ken's looks (called him Jabba The Hut), and suggested he was mentally challenged (he connected him with a character from the movie The Deliverance), because he disputed one of Ken's claims about flash sync. Ken made a brilliantly calm and rational response, exposing Lanier as a liar. Lanier has deleted his video afterwards. You can watch the 5min video by clicking on the image, or clicking the link below. I guess even photography Youtube channels cannot live without some drama, huh?

Watch the video here!

1 comment:

  1. I think you had to go with the average of views per video and not the total views, because there are channels with more videos than others, for example froknowsphoto has a lot of views but it also has over 2000 videos published, also, you should leave innactive channels outside of the list, digitalrev has been innactive for a good number of months now.