So, Mondays. Let’s make something special out of them. Each Monday I will focus on the recommendation of some photographer, who shares his or her knowledge, helping you (and me) to learn and get better at photography.
I think it’s important to share knowledge. Not only the knowledge you have, but also the knowledge of others. We all learned from someone, and if we can share who we learned from, we can repay a little to that or those person/s.
So without further ado, the first Monday recommends is actually recommending a couple, namely Tony and Chelsea Northrup.
The Northrups have been in the game for some time now. Their YouTube channel was started in January 2007, which means that they are nearing their 12th year on YouTube. And while their YouTube channel isn’t their only platform, it is here that they are the most active, as far as I’m aware. And no wonder, with more than 1.1 million subscribers (in comparison, their Facebook page has “only” a little more than 150.000 followers), there is enough people to share their knowledge and expertise in photography with. And photography is the focus, whether it is about technical specs, mostly done by Tony, how to edit, mostly done by Chelsea, or their weekly podcast which deals with everything photography (history, rumors, evaluating new equipment, etc.).
What I really like about the Northrups, is their approach to the issue, both photography in itself as well as teaching photography. They have a very down to earth approach, while still being critical. They always test the equipment they talk about (there might be rare cases, where this is not the case, but then they inform about it), and Tony is known for testing various rumors rigorously to make sure that they are not only that, rumors, but can be considered facts. One of the most important lessons I have taken with me from Tony’s insistence on details, is the consequences of crop factor, that it isn’t just a matter about the focal length, but that the aperture for example also is influenced by the crop factor. And most importantly, they would never recommend something, just because it’s the newest or “best” according to specs. They consider their viewers/listeners/readers, and try to recommend according to where they are. And this leads me to what I like the most; their flexible attitude to photography. Not in the sense that anything goes, but rather that they care about the details and recommending what is best, but that they also understand – and stress – that it also is about the context and circumstances of the individuals.
Can they be criticized? Maybe, some people at least do just that. One thing which might get your attention pretty fast, when you watch their videos or listen to their podcasts, is the mentioning of Squarespace (or someone else) sponsoring the show/episode. I have seen it mentioned often by others, but personally I don’t feel that it’s a point to criticize as such. Yes, it can be “annoying” to have that commercial break – which it basically is – but the alternative would be to have to pay to view or listen their show. Some might say that they could make it less exposed, such as in the beginning or in the end of their shows, but that’s really an issue Tony and Chelsea probably considers with their sponsor. Exactly what and how much are they paid. And does that sum of money make it possible for them to create that better quality content? If so, I personally won’t have any issue with it.
They are also a business, and this is important to remember. Besides getting paid by sponsors, they also have a shop, where they sell photography books and other merchandise. They live from this, and as such they obviously are interested in earning from it. When you consider this, and consider what you receive from them for free, the advertising they make, whether for themselves or for third party companies, is worth it. Particularly considering that they are not simply promoting whoever wants to pay them, but only companies that it gives sense to promote in the context of photography.
If you want to see what they are about – and I sincerely recommend you to do this – you can find them on a number of platforms:
Their business site can be found on Northrup.photo. Check it out, it’s worth it!
Their YouTube channel is the largest of their platforms, as mentioned previously. Here you will find most, of not all, of their videos published for free viewing.
They also have a Facebook page, Northrup Photography, and even if their YouTube channel is of more value for me, their Facebook page is also great to check out and follow.
You can find their podcast, Picture This! on Soundcloud (but I believe it’s also available on other platforms).
They’re both on Twitter and Instagram, each on their own account. Tony on Twitter, and on Instagram. Chelsea on Twitter, and on Instagram. And they both have an online portfolio of course, in case you would like to see their work. Tony’s portfolio and Chelsea’s portfolio.
To sum up, if you’d like to learn more about photography, from tutorials, over spec and equipment reviews, to the history of photography, I can strongly recommend Tony and Chelsea Northrup.