Advice with Annie
(October '22 Issue: The Creative Process)
Written by Annie Zygmunt
"I want to start a YouTube/Twitch channel but I don't know where to start"
Starting something new can be a fun yet sometimes stressful situation.
Whether it's as simple as beginning to read a book you've been wanting to read for months, or a new hobby you want to start. Many people also think you need to spend thousands in order to get started for a new hobby, but in many cases that's just not true.
Let's take knitting for example. You don't need the most expensive, luxurious needles, hooks, and yarns to get started. You can start off with things you find in local shops like Poundland and Tesco. After all, if you decide you don't like the new hobby, and want to leave it be, you don't want to have all the expensive items go to waste (I speak from experience on the knitting subject…)
It's the same with hobbies like YouTube and Twitch (take it from me!)
When I started my own YouTube channel, I was 16 and filming on whatever was the most affordable Samsung in 2015. Granted, now I'm filming YouTube videos on my Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, which doesn't seem like much of an upgrade but it truly is; because it's not just about physical equipment. Back in 2016, I was using some free version of an editing software that left a watermark. Nowadays, I'm using KineMaster (paid version) and have improved my editing skills. In fact, if you go to my first ever video on my channel and compare it to my latest, you'll be able to see that you don't need a fancy camera that is going to cost the same as your rent. At least not in the beginning.
The same goes for Twitch:
I started out by using a really old Chrome book, before investing in an Xbox One and a camera for the Xbox streams.
There are a few skills you may need to improve for videos and streams, but many of them you will build with time. Those include things like audio control, camera positioning, social skills (i.e. being able to talk to the camera as if there was an audience even if there isn't, but also as in using social media to promote), editing if needed, and a few more you may encounter along the way.
So let's back up to the question and answer in quick, short bullet points:
• Don't spend a fortune on equipment if you're just starting out.
• Do your research (on the topic and equipment)
• Learn as many skills as possible before you start, then the rest as you go
• Promote, socialise, and make friends in the community (such as joining Discord groups for Twitch!)
• Go out there and start!
"I'm doing a photography course at university but don't know what I can do with that degree after university to keep myself up financially"
The job market isn't the best at this moment for people doing creative arts subjects. I say this being someone who is working as a waitress after having graduated with a Creative Writing degree last year.
However, don't lose hope. There are plenty of things you can do in the meantime. Here's the best advice I can think of in your situation:
Get a part time job in a sector that is in need of workers, such as retail and hospitality. This way you are still able to earn money and financially support yourself from the start. It might not be a cloud 9 moment to work in retail, especially if your dream is to be a full-time photographer, but it'll provide you with a stable income for the time being while you branch out.
It may also be a good idea to save up some of that money. Of course, take into account the more important things such as rent, bills, food, clothing etc. However, you can also put some money away for upgrades later on.
Use your university-learned social skills to promote your services. Start with building your portfolio (if you haven't already) by asking family, friends, or even small businesses for photoshoot opportunities; it's probably best to do this either by offering free or discounted services, especially if you don't have much of a portfolio to share with them. The climb up the business ladder is hard, but it begins with the first step. Remember that everyone has to start somewhere, so don't get discouraged if you don't make a massive revenue straight after university.
Be sure to keep both a paper and digital portfolio. One in a folder (as backup), and one on either a blog or social media such as Instagram. Using the latter can also help you build an audience, create a following, and eventually get outside clients.
Do you remember step one? The upgrades!
After having made a decent portfolio (especially online), it might be time to spread the word a bit more. Using some money you began to put away, think about the next steps for your photography business. Print business cards with your business name, photography services examples, contact details, and place of residence. Have those close by at all times. If you ever happen to mention your photography, swiftly pull one of these cards out and hand it over. Spread the word, while making sure the person doesn't forget your business name, because it'll be on paper!
Similarly, you can invest in online ads, which may be a bit cheaper than billboards. You can still use social media to spread the word too. Apps such as YouTube and TikTok make for great, free promotion services. You can make short and fun ads, while jumping on most recent trends for a better chance of being discovered.
For an example, check out the Details Magazine TikTok @magazine.details