For those of you who don't know who Tony and Chelsea Northrup are, a brief tutorial:
Tony Northrup grew up in a suburb town outside of Austin. He made his reputation writing books about technical subjects like programming and quasi-engineering. Then he switched his focus to photography. His wife, Chelsea, is also a photographer. They put a channel together on YouTube over a decade ago which specialized in general camera and lens reviews with an occasional "how to" video tossed in.
They've been very successful with their channel and have well over a million and a half subscribers!
I find them to be extremely traditional photographers. They loved DSLRs. Tony loved preaching about "the death of the micro four thirds format." He also likes drones. When they actively practice photographing as a business they have a very different approach than the team at VSL.
Where we aim our business solely at commercial clients and large corporate clients most of their work seems to have been for brides, graduating seniors, families and retail portraiture in general. Their point of view about the cameras they review revolves around how well the cameras work in fulfilling those kinds of jobs. Will the camera focus quickly on a bride walking down the aisle? Will the fill flash work well for a beach location family photo? How much of the background can I drop out of focus with XXX lens?
Tony is opinionated but who am I to talk?
For the most part they do their YouTube channel very well and the appeal to people who are just finding their footing with digital photography are very well served by most of T&C's content.
I'm referencing this particular video because it speaks to an angst and a frustration that I hear from dozens and dozens of working or formerly working photographers. And the discontent amongst traditional photographers is accelerating month by month.
Watch the video and you'll understand that Tony is seeing camera sales drop (which directly impacts the profits of video content based on affiliate rewards), a general focus of potential clients moving away from high production value, a general shift from high quality skills to the style of "authenticity" in photos. Even a switch from horizontal to vertical video production. And, again, the competition from cellphone wielding former potential customers...
In short, the universe of photography is shifting right under his feet and he is depressed, anxious, frustrated and resigned to watching his technical skills and deep knowledge become irrelevant. In a nutshell he's voicing what every traditional photography who has worked in the retail photography (weddings, portraits, babies, seniors) sector feels right now. Almost a hopeless resignation that he must radically change, accept less, or be left behind.
Chelsea, in this video, plays up the optimistic counterpoint to Tony's angst. I found it worth watching for both the pessimism and the optimism. The bleak outlook and the silver lining.
The telling 15 seconds is when Tony complains about the rapid decline of income from actual photography jobs to which Chelsea reminds him that the revenue from their YouTube channel and their tutorials is higher than he was ever able to bill when he was just doing photography. An interesting bit of give and take. And some grudging acceptance.
Watch it if you want to know why so many older photographers are prickly and depressive.
I get exactly what he's saying. I count myself lucky to be able to keep working consistently for corporate clients but if I had been plying my trade as a wedding photographer I would be counting the days until retirement.
If you are a hobbyist this video may not interest you at all. But it seems forthright and honest.
I don't have anything negative to say about T&C. They are sensible, generous with their content and I never recall them getting nasty with disagreeable commenters or competitors. But they do represent a sector of the photography industry that is quite different from mine.
It's not critical viewing but I found it....poignant. Your thoughts?
From a different photographer thirteen years ago: https://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/2009/12/good-riddance-to-2009-heres-to-fun.html