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Creating a Decade of YouTube Content

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Creating a Decade of YouTube Content with Gavin Hoey

Gavin Hoey, Kenna Klosterman

Creating a Decade of YouTube Content

Gavin Hoey, Kenna Klosterman

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1. Creating a Decade of YouTube Content with Gavin Hoey


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Creating a Decade of YouTube Content with Gavin Hoey

Mhm. Mhm. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Hello, everyone. And welcome to creative live. Welcome to Creative Live TV. Welcome to our podcast. We are photographers. I'm your host, Ken Klosterman. And we are here live with you every week to bring you our favorite photographers, filmmakers and industry greats from all around the world. In order to connect us, let us not feel alone in our creative journeys and our business journeys in our life journeys. And so if you are tuning in live right now, we always love to get your shout outs in. So let us know where it is that you're tuning in from. If you're watching on creativelive dot com slash t v, you can click on the joint chat icon there. We're checking that first, but we're also seeing what you are saying on social media. Whether that's Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. So get those shadows in, let us know where you're tuning in from. And it's gonna be a great time today because we have Mr Gavin Hoey joining us for the very first time on creative live all the...

way from the U. K. And Gavin Howie. You might best know him from Adirama TV and his own YouTube channel. He has been doing a photography videos and tutorials for probably the longest of maybe anybody. Um, I say that because he was a very early adopter, and he again has grown help grow adirama to one million people following on YouTube. But he is on there every other week creating videos. And if you go and you look at the comments on his videos, he's just beloved by so many people all over the world for his amazing style of teaching. He is also an Olympus Ambassador Olympus U. K. Ambassador, And I'm just excited to have him here to join us. Uh, and you guys are as well, so please help me welcome Gavin Hoey. Okay. Hey, can I How you doing? I'm doing great. I'm doing great. Super excited to have you on creativelive. Finally, after many, many, many years. It's been a while. Yeah, I've been watching creative life for a long time. So this is this is really strange for me. It's really exciting. So Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. This is great. Awesome. Awesome. Well, I do. I want to look over and see where people are tuning in from We've got John in Philly. We have medic on Emanuel who's joining us from Lagos, Nigeria, and this is his first time joining us. We have Cooley from Indiana, Monica from Austin. Robert, also from Texas. We've got another person from Rome, Italy. Michelle More in Australia. Love it. Roy Bridge would. Who says Gavin is a great bloke? Well worth a watch. Uh, Turkey, Istanbul, Alpharetta. This is my favorite part. Gavin and Roy. You must also be a bloke in the UK because what we all say that all the time in the UK, we call everybody blokes. Oh, that's fantastic. It's really good. I mean, at the moment, everybody's stuck at home, or at least everybody I know stuck at home. So it's really nice one on these lives to actually reach out and meet people from all over the world. It's incredible. It is. It really is. And that's, you know that that is the joy it is as we are recording. It is where are we were in January, still of and yet we're still dealing with the pandemic, and I know you're in the UK and you're in full lockdown. So, uh, not that I wanna, you know, harp on this, but how are you faring? How how are you doing? You know, I would say, on the one hand, you're fortunate in that you are creating videos which you can do from your little studio where you are. But, you know, that's a challenge to So how are you doing? Uh, I'm doing okay. All things considered, I don't think you can go much stronger than I'm doing OK at the moment, because I don't think anybody is doing awesome. Um, we're doing what we can. Yeah. So at the moment in the UK, let's start on a really cheery note. We're all locked down there on the cheery note. We're all I'm fine. Everybody's doing okay in my little bubble here. Um, yeah, I'm still working, so that's fantastic. I have been super super lucky during the whole pandemic thing because I was already working from home, which made me slightly socially isolated already, which was kind of ahead of the curve, I guess, but it's actually worked out. All right. We're still making content. I'm still working without drama. A drama have been phenomenal. and not just the company, but everybody behind the scenes as well. It's really nice to have some continuity to have, um that that sort of every two weeks, I'm making videos. I'm getting to talk about a rama, and I'm getting to see comments from the viewers. It's lovely to have a bit of consistency in your life, so, yeah, doing all right? You're You know, you said, like I'm okay today or what? You know what have you. But yet like your enthusiasm, still, you know, makes us all feel good and comes through and again, I think that part of what I guess I want to flip it and say, What do you think has made you be able to be creating videos for 12 years on your own channel? You know, many 89 years without a Rama like Okay, well, maybe before you go there, because that's kind of a tough question, perhaps to ask, You can ask that, uh, but Well, okay, so let me Let's let's talk to that. What do you think has kept you going this whole time? Um, it's a good question, because it is really, really hard, so yeah, I think it's 13 years I've been making YouTube videos. I think this is my 13 year, uh, nine years without a Rama. But before that, if you go back before that, I was making video tutorials for magazine cover disks. Anyone remember those remember magazines had little CDs on the front. This is literally when you you you know, that's in your bio. And I didn't say it out loud because I was like, Okay, well, I'm going to ask him about this. Like I didn't know what you meant by cover disks. Like, What is he talking about? I'm not. Once I once I figured out what you meant. I was like, Oh, yeah, But what are cover disks? Yeah, okay, for for the younger audience that don't remember these sorts of things. Back in the day, I used to write for a magazine called Digital Photo Magazine, which was, I think, one of the top two magazines in the UK and I started writing for them. I think it was about 2000, and one, and they were basically photo shop or paint shop pro magazines Now, uh, I know. So I used to write a written tutorial and make a a screen recording of a technique, and I did that every month for 16 years. Back in my early days, I'd actually make them in a photo shop elements and then the same tutorial and paint shop pro. Um, I mean, it was nuts, and it was really hard back then. So back then, none of the technology that you're looking at or listening to right now existed. It just wasn't a thing. And I had to work out how to record the screen, using some some very expensive and very clunky software. And I could only record one minute at a time before I had to stop, render it and started again because back then, the computers just couldn't handle that much data. Um, it was nuts. How did I get? How did the earth did I ever make that work? So if you think it's, it's hard to make content now. I've been doing it since 2000 and and things have changed vastly. But one thing really hasn't changed is learning. People still want to learn, so there is always new people coming in. It was really lovely back in the early days of the magazines. Oh, it was so much better. You could write the same article every three years on rotation, pretty much. And the reason for that is readership. People would read the magazine for three years and then, you know, not subscribe. You can't You can't really do that with the Internet. People don't not subscribe to YouTube. So yeah, it's tough, but yeah, I love it. I guess I can keep coming up with content because I enjoy doing it to answer your original question. But that's the thing it is. I mean, first of all, that's like incredible longevity. And it is funny, too, to think that you know that how the technology has has traveled so far and especially this year. I mean, so many people are now going, you know, live streaming. Not just the, you know, the not just putting out YouTube videos that are pre recorded. Uh, but but going back to I mean, how are you, you know? Okay, So before it was like every three years, you could utilize the same thing. What's your process in terms of coming up with with new content on the regular? Yeah, it's not easy. Um, it really isn't. And you think, well, one video every two weeks. And there any 10 minute videos? How hard could that be? It's really, really challenging to come up with new content that I enjoy doing because one of the fantastic things about working with Panorama is they just don't tell me what to do. They really do give me a blank canvas of use our products, make us a video, get it in on time, and that's that's kind of more or less what the contract says with them, I guess, and it can be difficult to come up with ideas. But by and large, the easiest way I found over the years is to do something that you enjoy doing. So every video I make, I've enjoyed doing, and I've wanted to do it. It's not something that's been forced. It's not something that I've had to do but to clarify that there are days where it is impossible. I can sit at my computer for hour after hour, making Pinterest boards of absolutely nothing and thinking, Well, well, that's it. I don't think I can make another video, I think, Yeah, I think that's that's it. I'm done. And then you kind of step away and you sort of come back to it and, yeah, you know, the deadline looms and it's amazing what having a deadline and bills to pay will do for your creativity really does make you to focus in, um So, yeah, I do it because I love it, and I make the stuff that I love. Well, I think that is really like you said. What? What comes through is the when you have the enthusiasm and love for what you're doing. Um then that energy actually travels through the screen to the people. Gavin, I'm just like I'm watching so many comments come in, uh, that people are just, you know, your your fans. And I know you don't like to talk about yourself is my least favorite subject it. Why do you think about the technical bits? But that's fine. Yeah, it's a very British thing. You know, that's talking about yourself is, um, it's not uncomfortable. It's just, uh, people have seen my content will know that I tend to talk about the technical bit. Um, is my is what I'm most comfortable talking about That definitely is my my area of enjoyment. I like seeing people learn from what I'm doing, rather than necessarily what I've done. If that makes sense, it's Yeah, it's an odd world that we live in when you're on YouTube because people watched the videos and they think they kind of know me and they know that. But that's not quite. That's a little snippet of my life. A 10 minute YouTube video can take me a week to plan, shoot, edit and finish a lot of stress and strain can go into that. Oh, absolutely. And people don't see that part necessarily, like even if we kind of know that it's happening. Um, So So what is? I don't I don't want to ask you your deepest and darkest secrets, but But let's go back then, too. Like too young Gavin pre creating tutorials for cover disks. Um, we where where did you know that so long as it is a long way back when you're talking many, many years? But go on, you're gonna head back to my early photography days. Hopefully, well or even pre photography like, Where did you grow up? What? What were you What were you interested in as a kid? I mean, you talk about, like, in the technical like you to figure out and figure out how to break down and explain the technical aspects to people, like, were you into, like, engineering stuff as a kid, like, tell me about Yeah, Young Gavin. All right, so the really early years So, um, if you want to go back that far, the technology was something that I actually hooked onto fairly early. And I was I was quite lucky. So my dad, for reasons I don't understand to this day bought a Sinclair ZX 81. I don't know if they ever made it over to the States, but over in the U. K. That was pretty much one of the first consumer computers that you could actually buy for, for for not crazy amounts of money it had wait for it. Now it had one k of memory. One kay. Yeah, and I worked hard. I did a paper round and I bought a 16 k ram pack that you can stick on the back for an extra 17 k in total. Um, and what used to happen back in those days, there were magazines that you could buy and printed in the magazines were computer programs that you could type in. So you type basic and you would sort of, you know, 10, Title 20 go to 10. And that kind of thing it was basic was a language that I learned off the back of magazines. And what I also learned was that you didn't put it in the first month because the second month would be the corrections. Because they missed a semi colon out somewhere in the program wouldn't work. So I learned to program a ZX 81 when I was cranky 12, I suppose, And that was kind of my my introduction into computing. I went on and bought my own ZX spectrum. I mean, we're talking cutting edge now. Kenna, we are talking the creme de la creme manic miner jetpack. I was awesome at all the computer games back then. So, yeah, I had an upbringing in computers, and then I just dropped out of technology. I I got a job in a bank that lasted about six months because the 19 eighties were a great time to work in a bank just dreadful time. Uh, then I got a job training to be an optician, and I spent four years, uh, doing a correspondence course on that which basically took over my life. And once I got all that out the way, I kind of didn't really go back into technology at all. And it wasn't until 90 I suppose, And I got a tiny computer. There was this company called Tiny, just up the road from where we live, and they literally built a computer for you. It was quite remarkable that by a computer No, no, you had to go to a factory where they would build one. And then you could take that home. It was nuts. And, uh, yeah, and I got back into computing. And it was exactly roughly the same time that digital imaging was starting to happen. So I got my first digital camera in 99 which was an Olympus 2020 Zet, which was a little compact digital camera. Brilliant little thing. But before that, I've been doing getting Kodak to scan my slides onto disks, and I was having a whale of a time. Just I made some of the worst photos you could possibly imagine in Photoshop. I did some crimes to photography that I should be barred for life from ever touching a computer again. But it was the early days. We were We were all playing around with stuff, and it just sort of grew from there. I was just in the right place at the right time. The magazine stuff came around because I just had a flash of of confidence to say I can do this. And they were asking for for people to write articles. And I just wrote in and said, Yeah, I can write a better article. New. I just got lucky. Right place. Right. Time, right, technology. Everything to sort of slotted into place. So they are. That is a potted history of my formative years. But but looking back, I mean, I did some some dreadful things. I'm I'm pretty sure. I mean, you've been with creative live a long time. I suspect if you go back and look at the early things, there were some things where we would look at them and go. We we wouldn't do that now. Oh, my gosh. Yeah. No, I I don't want to go back and look at the early days of me hosting and you know, because you start something and you're building it and you don't really necessarily know what you're doing. But, you know, and like you said, technology changes and all of these things, you know? But you're you when you love what you're doing and you just there's this part of having to be okay with it being messy or be okay with it not being perfect, Um, and and just allowing for that growth are there Are there, like, how are you with regard to, like, self criticism or allowing things to not be perfect? Or I've heard you say that you're, you know, kind of like you edit your own videos. You like to kind of control things. So let's let's go into that a little bit. Yeah, yeah, I I am a slightly a control freak about the video content because perhaps not very good at delegating. I'm not very good at delegating. I know that for sure, but also, I'm not very good at necessarily getting the ideas over to other people there. They're up here. They're in my head. I know I can see it, I can visualize it. And I can't always get that to happen. But I know roughly what I want to happen, so I do that. But I am my own worst critic. I am terrible. I will edit a video. And maybe it's because when you edit a video, you do spend this huge amount of time watching it in minute detail and you can hear every time you've said, um or so Oh, my goodness me. How many times have I started the tape of the words? So, Sam, my wife, Sam, is usually behind the camera says any word, but so just start with anything, just not so okay. No, that's worse. So, um so, yeah, I'm very bad at that. And, uh, yeah, I'll edit a video. Having seen it so many times, I'm then very much done with the video and done with the the photos and moving on as well. I'm I kind of like to look forward. I don't really tend to look back too much, because I mean, goodness me, if you ever get the chance to go back and watch my first video, if you suffer from insomnia, That's the cure. It really is because it's wooden, It's slow, it's plotting. I mean, I've got less gray hair, so that is a bonus. But that's pretty much the only good thing about it. Do you remember what the content was of that of that first video? And because this now has, you know, this has how many views? 1.5 million, two million views or what? What was the content of that first one? My very first video. It was actually a studio. That's not the right word, but it was a studio based video. It was actually at the back of my house in my conservatory, and we put a white sheet up, complete with creases and everything. I mean, it was terrible. And it was my daughter who my daughter now bear in mind. She's, uh, well, she's in her twenties and she works for Canon. Back then, she's a little tiny, tiny little child throwing plastic balls at my head. So it was. It was how to photograph Children to, to get this sort of creative, uh, portraits of Children and, um yeah, and it came about. It came about because of the magazine. So the magazine I was writing for I'd written an article on how to merge images together. That was the basics of the article. And it was how to take three images of a child throwing a ball at your head and making a trip tick of the same and just merging it together. Nothing complicated. And at that time, I was getting frustrated with the magazine because they weren't pushing forward. It was the same old, same old. And I said, Look, I'm going to make a video of me shooting the photos for the magazine. I didn't tell the magazine I just did it. And back then I filmed it on a camera that had a tape. So it was a tape camera. I had to get the tape and ingest it in. And it was It took me hours and hours and hours. I sent it to the magazine and they said, Oh, no, we don't want that. That's no use to us at all. What are we gonna do with that? No one's gonna watch that content. No one is gonna be interested. They want to see Photoshopped tutorials, not photography tutorials. No. So I put it on this little tiny website called YouTube that no one had heard of. It was 2000 and 6. 2007. yeah. So I put this little little video on YouTube, basically forgot about it. It was like, there you go get rid of it. It's done something. And it was about a week later, I went and looked and had 1000 views. What were their 1000 people on YouTube then? I don't think they were back then, to be honest with you, it was incredible. There were so few people. Um, so I kind of just put some more videos on. So yeah, I've totally forgotten the question, but they are. They're questioning that are there have been a question. But now I've forgotten it too, because I was I was I got caught on your, um You mentioning that your daughter now? Well, I think the question was about your first YouTube video, but I am. You can't. Your daughter works for Canon. And you are, of course, longtime Olympus and Olympus. Ambassador, Did you, uh is that, like, how does that work in your relationship? Yeah, it works fine. So Canon like Olympus, Like Nick on. Like all of the camera companies that we know a camera cos they're not, they are. They're much, much bigger than that. So although she works for Canon, she doesn't work in the camera department. However, if you're in the UK and you have a technical corn networking, you could get to speak to my daughter. You never know. So she's a text specialist in networking. Um, so it doesn't really cause any problems, but yeah, I am an Olympus ambassador. But that doesn't mean to say that there I'm not embracing of other cameras. I mean, over the years, I've used everything. I started with a practica. Uh, I then moved on to a Minolta. Then I had a an Olympus and then a fuji and then a cannon. Quite a lot of cannons. And then Olympus again. So you used the tools right for you as a photographer. So as I've gone through my photography, uh, from way, way back from to my dark room days, I've used whatever I could afford that did the job that I needed it to do at the moment. That's Olympus. And and I think that that's I mean, thank you for saying all that because, you know, we do we Even though, um, you know, you and I are both in the business of educating people of allowing them to understand tools or what have you. But then it's also the we also like to talk about. It's not about the gear. It's about you, the human and what you're able to, you know, put out there in the world and take what's in your mind or your body and you get it out there. And I think I've just been I've just been asking people online. Um, you know, what is it that you love most about? Because we got a lot of a lot of Gavin fans, um, tuning in. And so what is it that you love about Gavin's teaching style? And so there's a Gavin enjoys what he's doing, and it's so very authentic. I appreciate that he doesn't go into gear wars with a lot of expensive products. Instead, you show how to make great pictures with creativity and good ideas. So again, like coming back to that, you know, it's more about, like you said, finding the tools that work for you in the moment. And now? Yeah, absolutely. I was just gonna say, What do you love about teaching? Yeah, It's an old one, isn't it? Teaching is a strange thing. I had no idea how I ended up doing teaching at all, because I have no qualification in it. I have no background, Particularly in it. I think probably the thing I enjoy most is seeing those little lightbulb moments where I'm we're all learning. I'm constantly learning. I haven't stopped learning the minute I stopped learning, I probably will stop educating because that's enjoyable. It's good fun. Passing that on to somebody else is just the most wonderful thing seeing that the the enthusiasm that I have for the photography or whatever it is I'm teaching, seeing that get absorbed by other people, seeing people take the ideas and reproducing them. So I get an awful lot of people sending me pictures that are very, very similar to what I've done, which is great, because that does two things. First of all, that means that actually what I did actually worked, which is kind of nice to know, because when you are sitting here, I mean, I'm in my small home studio. I know it worked here, but you never really sure it's gonna work for other people. And then secondly, it means that what I told them is actually understandable. What? What? I what I told them that sounds really You can tell what I said. I'm telling you how to do this. What? The advice I passed on was actually usable and that people can understand that. Use it. But what I really enjoy the things that really get me excited is when people take the idea that I've done and then twist it somehow so they will add their own unique spin. So a lot of the times that's down to what you have. So I've got I'm super lucky. I've got a small home studio. It's at the end of my garden, is available to me 24 7. Not that many people have such a luxury. You have to make the most of what you have. And if you can do that, if you can take somebody else's idea and say Okay, I like bits of that, but I'm gonna have to modify it and use it in my own situation. Then That is definitely the way you grow as a photographer, not just making an exact carbon copy, but something that is different. Sometimes they don't go so well. Other times they're absolutely brilliant, and I sit there and look at them and think, Damn, why didn't I think of that? And that That's just wonderful. That's the best thing ever. Um, sometimes there have been occasions where I've looked at them and thought, There's another tutorial in that actually, which is kind of nice as well, because then that set sent me down a path of of something that hadn't necessarily considered. So the thing I love about teaching is is just watching people enjoy it and then watching people use that knowledge to to get their own enjoyment out of it. And that's just priceless. It really is. And I think I mean, I can only imagine that that would be sort of what has kept you going because, you know, now, with technology, you are able to get that feedback what I sound like. So with technology. Uh, yes, but but you are able to get, uh, feedback from people in a way more and more so and I feel like that. You know that. That is what? What keeps you going? Um, yeah, absolutely. You can you can actually meet or virtually the people who inspire you and and put your work in front of them. I mean, to be fair, if I sat and answered all of the questions that came in, I wouldn't actually get any work done, which is really frustrating because you want to, but you just just can't. But at least you can put it out there. You can put it out to an audience that's wider than the group of people that you would normally meet and and sort of discuss your photography with. So my my early photography, I joined the camera club very, very early on in my photography. And what I found very quickly is that the camera club was a very closed shop of ideas, so people would be extremely good at a very small area of photography within that club. So you just ended up repeating the same stuff that other people have done with the Internet. Obviously, everything is available to you and and and more. It's it's just nuts. The amount of stuff that you can see and create and learn from. So the pool of knowledge is much, much broader, although there is something quite nice about having that small group as well. Uh, at the moment, camera clubs aren't happening. I've done a lot of camera club talks, training, education. I've visited many, many camera clubs, and I think we need that as photographers. We also need the little groups as well as the big stuff. Sure, it's that combination of not just also, in normal times in non pandemic times, you know, having the online connections and also having those in person connections as well. Um, whether that's, you know, going on photo walks, you know, you know, in person classes, etcetera, etcetera. Um, what is the thing you least enjoy? I'm about teaching. Oh, least enjoy it. Yeah, there are some. There are some drawbacks to it. Um, I guess the the trickiest thing. If if you're gonna if you're gonna teach, there's a couple of things that you need to do. And I learned some things the hard way along the line. So the thing I least enjoy is being wrong, and yeah, and it's happened. So back in the early early day, so I'm trying to think how long ago it was. It's got to be really early YouTube days. I made a video tutorial, and it was a real learning experience. I made a tutorial about how to make a clean white background in the studio bread and butter stuff long before I saw the Creative Live and Zacarias class, which was just mind blowing. I mean, that was that was crazy. So way, way before that. Um, and I remember. And I can't remember where I got the information from, but at some point I was told that to get a pure white background, you just overexposed by two stops blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. That job done so and it technically, that works. But it doesn't work. And that's what I didn't do. I made a video saying, Okay, you want to pure black white background, you just overexpose it. My two stops and it worked. And I had this message on a comment left on the video by a guy called Frank Door off that you might know the name. Yeah, I didn't know the name at the time, So Frank bless him very very politely left a message saying Lovely video, But you're wrong. That's not right. You really should have done done it properly, exposed for the back of the head and exposed to the background and make sure that it is at least equal or more. And I didn't. And I remember seeing that comment and thinking, Who is this guy? Who is this guy telling me that I'm doing? What does he know? I was going to write back and I hope I didn't I might have done a rude comments saying, I think I know better. I didn't I went away and I thought about it and I realized he was right. He was absolutely spot on. The information I had given was wrong. It was fundamentally wrong and people have watched it and people, you know, learned from that and they'd learned wrong. That was painful. I learned that that was that was not a good thing to do. So now whenever I'm I'm doing a tutorial. If it's not something that I'm 100% confident about and I'm not confident about anything, so that means everything I do, I will practice and check and double check and triple check, so I'll go through it. Does it work? I will be the model. I will stand here and I will take the photos. I will delete them immediately because nobody needs to see those, but I'll make sure it works. I'll make sure that the technique is doable with the equipment that I say it is and that it doesn't need a massive amount of Photoshop to to get to the end result that what I'm teaching is actually accurate. So the thing I hate most is a me getting it wrong, followed immediately by everybody else that gets it wrong. So I watch quite a few videos on YouTube, and occasionally I see things that aren't quite right. And one day, one day and I will make a fake YouTube account where I can leave some actual comments you could have done that long ago. You know, it's it's not really me, but yes, I'm your account at the keyboard person rather than the hammer away at the keyboard. I think it's probably fair to say, but yeah, so getting it wrong. Yeah, yeah, which is respectable. Um, but, you know, maybe there was, You know, thanks to Frank. Maybe there's a lesson in you know how you approach things differently. Moving forward. Did you in that? In that specific instance, did you go back and make another video and be like, Yes, I was wrong. I did? Yeah. Absolutely. Right. I did a couple of things, actually, to try and put that right. First of all, I did make another video, so I don't random email. New years. It was Christmas Eve, one year, Christmas Eve. I got this email from hassle. Glad hassle. Glad emailed me saying, Do I want to come and try one of their cameras at their studio? Yeah, of course I do. Um, so I thought, Well, there's no better place to put it right than hassle. Glad. So I'm standing there with a £30,000 camera and and and making a video that put it right. So I did that and made a video, and I went into the comments and sort of pointed people from the wrong video to the right video just to say, Go watch this video. Um, and then I got kind of lucky in some respects. Or maybe I was in, uh, Florida I want a competition that Adobe set up called the next Photoshop evangelist in 2000 and 11. So I was lucky enough to win the prize, which was to go and speak at Photoshop World on the adobe stand. Brilliant. Fantastic. Couple of days at the end of the show, they had a wrap party for all of the presenters. And I was invited to this this wrap party by the lady from Adobe who was looking after me. She said, Do you want to come up? Everyone's gonna be there. I ran up the stairs. I was there and I had no idea who half these people were. But in the corner was Frank. So I Frank, I was sat there, so he was chatting away. I mean, Frank is a star. He really is. And at the end of it, we we have had to go, and I said, I just I just got to interrupt Frank and just say you have no idea who I am. But some years ago, you wrote a comment that changed my my philosophy. So thank you very much. You were right. So I got to apologize to Frank, which I think is pretty good. I think that's really cool. Uh, did he remember? Did he remember putting that comment? No. No, he didn't remember. Didn't remember at all. I'm sure he'd written that comment on a lot of other people videos as well. No. No, he didn't. But he was extremely polite. Yeah. I want to talk about confidence. You mentioned that. You know, you if you if you aren't inherently confident in something which you've learned, uh, that, you know, we all make mistakes putting something out there in public when you're wrong. You know that. You know, that definitely makes you question things we've We've all done it. But why do you think you're not? Why do you say you're not confident? Because I'm a photographer and I think we're all inherently unconfident. It seems to be a fairly common trait amongst photographers. Um, I don't know. It's not that I'm not confident. It's just that I just I'm my worst critic. So I'm confident in what I'm teaching. I'm confident in the technical bit that bit completely confident. Not a problem. I think it's more the aesthetic side of things. I think maybe if you're trained in the arts. If you have an art background, if you understand what makes good art, then maybe you could become more confident in that where I'm not confident. Is that because I don't know. I like some art. I like Don't like other stuff that people say that they like. I don't know why, um, so I think that's perhaps it is down to not having, uh, an innate knowledge. I couldn't draw you a picture if you asked me to draw something. A stick man is the end of my my drawing ability. It really is bad. Uh, so I don't have art in my veins. So I compensate with that with the technical, and I do the best I can and I'll make my my photography and I'll look at it and I say, Yeah, I like that. And then I look at it tomorrow and I'll say, Yeah, that's okay. And by the end of the week, having edited it, I'm going to make right. Let's just do something else. Let's just move on. I'm sick of that one now, by the time, because the way it works with the creating videos, I'm always working ahead. So especially at the moment with the pandemic. We worked several months ahead. So when we knew we were gonna be locked down, we filmed a whole bunch of videos before lockdown. Which makes him a bit weird when you watch them because I'm not wearing a mask or I'm not doing the right things for today because we filmed them in September when everything was different. So you film a whole bunch of things, and then that means they have been on my hard drive months. So now when I come to look at them, I've moved on. Remember that I want to do something else now. Maybe that's it. Maybe it's a lack of artistic knowledge, and maybe it's a lack of attention to sort of my attention span can be quite short. Interesting. Uh, but I think Is there a point then, where you are able to just let go of things? Yes, because you talked about control, you know? Can you also let go? Yes. I mean, letting go, inasmuch as once it's out there is out there and you cannot take it back on the Internet. So my magazine days Those got pulped. Those are disappeared those have been thrown away. My earliest stuff on the Internet is still there. I I'm not sure I can delete some of them because they were made for other people. So, yeah, you have to let go, because otherwise you will just keep looking backwards. That's one of the reasons I can't go back and answer comments from from videos from many, many years ago. It's partly I can't remember what I did, and that's that's part of the problem is I can't remember the nuance of why I did something but also you. You just have to keep going forward because I've got another video to get out in 10 days time. So, you know, that's that's my focus Now. It has to be what's coming next. It's a tough world being online person, it really is. And I'm going to say that from a an egotistical point of view. It's just that is modern life, and I think a lot of people you you are You're either focused on the past, um, or which might cause, you know, certain types of stresses or focused on the future, which also can cause anxiety and and, um, do you Do you experience anxiety? Yeah, of course. Absolutely. Um, yeah. When? When I'm getting creators block creators. Block is just the most horrible thing ever because yeah, you you start to think that you just can't think of another idea that either hasn't been done better or that you haven't done before or there are some days where you just can't think anything. It's just like I just genuinely can't think of anything today. It's just not happening. Um, so that really can make you anxious. I mean, I'm lucky that with my my adirama content adirama great. They are flexible and adaptable, and, um, they take a longer term view. So I know I'll be creating content for the next year for them, which is terrific. But other contracts not so much, that is, um yeah, Things come and things go. Um, yeah, I get you get anxious. Everybody gets anxious. If you're not getting anxious, you're probably not pushing yourself to the maximum because that means you're maybe freewheeling it a bit. I think a little bit of anxious, a little bit of stress and a little bit of worry, certainly from my experience have pushed me to make some of my my best content when I've been up against the wall slightly, and at the time, it's not always obvious that that's going to be the good stuff at the time. You can think, Yeah, that was, You know, that was a little bit forced. It was not quite what I wanted. Um, sometimes it's the ones where I haven't overworked the idea. Maybe that's it. Maybe it's a case of not overworking it, but yeah, a little bit of anxiety. It's okay. I don't I don't get hugely stressed. I I try not to get hugely stressed. My wife, Sam, might disagree. Well, I think there's a difference between stress and anxiety. Uh, but I'm curious, like if what? You you. Obviously you push through that to continue to be that creative and like, it's one thing to be aware of. I've got this creative block, you know, I like See that, but that the the thing I think that then leads to stress is when you can't push through that anxiety that you might be experiencing in the moment. Like do you have things that Gavin hope he does to sort of shake off the anxiety? Um, no, not really. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going and keep going. Um, yeah. I don't really have a strategy. I mean, I've taken up running during the pandemic. That's that's, um that's something so pre pandemic. I used to say Sound that I came up with my best ideas when I was at the gym. Actually, I was in the Jacuzzi, but you don't want to imagine that That's an image you do not want to think about, but and I think maybe that's just because when you switched off from technology and yeah, so now I go out for a run in the mornings that that's kind of good to do. But no, I think really from. For me personally, the way I get through it is just to keep going forward and creating. I create some really bad stuff. I mean, I've taken some photos where ideas are very much in their early stage, and you look at them and you think this is never, ever going to become a usable image in any way, shape or form. But often if you keep going, if you step back, have a break. Come back to it have a cup of tea. Come back in. The ideas can evolve a little bit. So keep going. Forwards keep trying ideas. One of the tips, like I learned from a fellow photographer many years ago Uh, just the best bit of advice I can give other photographers, which is if it doesn't work, don't show anyone. I mean, you don't have to show everybody everything. You don't have to put every piece of work that you ever created online. Just try and show your best stuff. If if you're going to have to show something, make it as good as it can be. Often the idea can be good at the time, and then you you can come back to it later, a year later, two years later and refine it further. So just keep going forward. That's my technique. Well, I think it's interesting because I'm just again looking at comments coming through. And, uh, Marius Voltan has actually said, Ah, when this came in, when we were talking about confidence, the only thing I've been saying for years is that Gavin's got to work on his self confidence and learn that US fans want to see everything that he thinks is trash so that we can one learn that he isn't perfect and to, uh, simply learn from mistakes. So and then he goes on to say, I wish he would make a video on how he gets an idea for a video. So there you go, there's a There's a video you sitting there making, making boards and, you know, making your mood boards and how you know, putting a camera into your brain and seeing the brain that could work. But I think it's an interesting Yeah, we did that. So, um adirama great. They are very laid back, but occasionally they give us some direction. And a couple of years ago, uh, they said, Okay, well, we want to try a slightly different direction, and I pitched an idea to them, which was I would break down one of our shoots into three component parts. So the planning, the practice and then the actual shoot and make each one a separate video to go through the stages, and I really enjoyed doing those those those are really good because it really did break down the individual elements that aren't seen. What's in all, um Sadly, the series wasn't picked up, which was a shame, but But there are those videos out there. People tell me I should make an outtakes video, but really I mean, there's not enough hours in the day you would so many, so many out take some mistakes. But what I have done over the last few years, if you watch some of my my current videos, you'll see me make not mistakes as much because it's it's almost planned a little bit because I want to show the build up of the shoot rather than just going in and saying, Okay, here's the final image that I want to create. So I've got this wonderful idea. I'm going to create this image. I'm gonna put light here light here, click. Let's do some B roll. Let's do some music. Let's do some lifestyle. I don't I don't do that. I would like to go back and say, Okay, here is where we're gonna put the light. Here's why. It doesn't work. Okay, We're gonna make it a little bit better. We're gonna change something, Okay? It's a little bit better. We're gonna make it better still by putting a light in over here. Here's why that doesn't work. Let's move it around a little bit. So I quite enjoy building up the process from first principles, too. You know, not failure as as such. But why? You might want to try something a little bit more advanced than just putting a light down. There's nothing worse if you're an educator. It is great to make videos where you look good, but I'm not sure that necessarily helps anybody to get to that point. And there is a there is room on the Internet for both. I'm very much of the help you the technical bit rather than the the amazing kind of background behind the scenes. You know, I'm amazing. It all works. I put a light down and it just worked. That's not reality. That's not how photography works. Wish it did be a lot easier if it was that easy, though. Then, you know, maybe you wouldn't have had this successful of a career. I Yeah, I read a lot of people. Yeah, a lot of people think Oh, photography is easy like, and I remember a certain point in in my years at Creative Live where you know, the more you learn, the more you realize how nuanced and complicated things can be. And so you know, it's kind of this arc or what have you, But it's like, Yeah, you remember a moment where it was like Tofik is hard. It is. It's fun, isn't it? It's amazing when you when you start out, a lot of photographers start out with the notion that it's gonna be easy because you can see it just happens. And I think the first steps are quite easy. You can pick up a camera now and just take pictures that are correctly exposed in focus and and look good without any effort at all. I mean, that used to be a skill When I started in photography, Just getting them in focus was a skill, uh, so we can all get on that ladder. But what it becomes harder is when you start to refine what you want to know, and you start to become a little bit better at it. And that's really where it gets exciting and challenging because it starts with a fairly low plateau, and then it sort of ramps up. It's it's it's really frustrating because you know what you want to do As a photographer, you've seen somebody do something. You think I want to be as good as that person, and then you try and do it anything. Actually, that person is actually quite good. That's That's if you can set yourself that. Go. If you can find a photographer that you think I want to be as good as them, just try and do what they do, and you'll realize there are. There is a lot of steps to get to that point. But you will get there. You just have to keep going forward. Well, it's funny what you were just talking about earlier about how you kind of break out and segment out videos and what have you. And and then I was going to ask you, like, what do you think makes a good educator, uh, from a poor educator. Bad educator or not? Not good and bad. But, like, what are mistakes that you see other people making when it comes to YouTube, videos that are trying to teach people things. Okay? Yeah. So I mean, we we've touched on the bad information being passed on without thoughts. I mean, go, go Google or go YouTube Focal length lens compression. That's a That's a good one. Go, go Have a look at videos on lens compression. You'll see a lot of videos about lens compression, which doesn't exist. It's it's it's subject to distance compression. So there's a lot of myths that we just pass on without necessarily thinking so that that's one thing. Uh, other thing is just stuff that just doesn't necessarily work for the audience that you're talking to. So it's important to understand your audience. So my audience is going to be very different to some of the other people have had on Creative Live because they're speaking a different level. They're speaking to people that are in business, and they need that business based photography advice. Or they're speaking specifically to maybe two sports photographers where they need something that is very, very specific to that niche. My audience I know my audience are people who are enjoying their photography either as a hobby or they are a serious hobbyist, or there may be just starting in the world of professional photography, but they're not at that kind of level yet, so I know my audience really well, and I try and tailor my my content to them. So it's not so much that there is bad education out there. It's more a case of you getting the right education for where you are or where you're going, so I could go and watch a video. Uh, there's a great guy in the UK, Wayne Johns, who does the most beautiful high end fashion portraits. Lovely bloke. We got really well, we are in different worlds. We are in completely different Wales, and yet we're teaching roughly the same thing. So you can go and talk to two different photographers and get two different experiences. The key is discovering who works for you. So it's not that they're necessarily bad educators. I'm sure there are is just picking the ones that are right for you at your current time. That's what we've got. So many courses, isn't it? I mean, if it was easy, you'd have one course on lighting job done. There you go. We have a business course, and that would be creative. Like you could take the rest of the year off Canada. That would be it. Yeah, yeah, That's precisely. And when, you know, you do have to not only acknowledge who that person is that you're trying to speak to, and that's again. But stay true to that as well. Uh, and stay true to yourself. Um, and everybody learns from somebody differently and and is at a different point, you know, in their own process and journey as well. Yeah, absolutely. So we did a I did a great thing. A few years ago. I had Mark Wallace. We both play Mark Wallace. He's a wonderful guy, had a mutual friend and he was staying over in my house. He was on his many travels and he was staying here for a bit. And we decided we would go and do some photography challenges, which was just the most nuts thing we've ever done. Random, completely random things. But because we're different photographers challenging to photographers to do the same thing was fascinating. So we did some stuff in my small home studio here, which I nailed because it's my space. I own this space. This is I know everything. I can set the camera up here literally blindfold. I think that might have been one of the challenges. Then we went out and did some street photography. So we went down to the streets of Brighton. We've got this place just down the road from school. Brighton is the most cosmopolitan part of the UK Anybody and everybody is there. It is just fantastic for street photography. I am by far the worst street photographer I have ever met. I lack confidence when it comes to I mean, you asked the confidence. I cannot go up to a member of the public in the street and say, Can I take your photo? So there's this wonderful video of me hiding behind bookstands and with a, you know, 300 millimeter lens doing street photography and then Mark just walking up to strangers in the street and saying, Do you mind if I take your photo? And I'm saying yes, how How could you do that? So, yeah. I mean, photography is a very, very broad church. Uh huh. Well, shout outs to Mark Wallace, who is, uh, tuning in. And, uh, and commenting. He said, What did you say something about, uh when we were talking about seeing other people's videos and he was like, Well, the worst thing is when I come up with an idea and then go and see that Gavin has already done that video. Yeah, that is true. So, um, I will do the same thing. I'll research other people and see if they if they've done it better than me. And more often than not, a mark video will come up for a Daniel video come up. Even worse is when you you google an idea, and then your own photo comes up. You think? Oh, wait a minute. Have you done that? That ready? Yeah. I mean, I've made hundreds and hundreds and know where there is many videos of Mike Wallace's made. But I've made enough videos that when you google it, occasionally your own content comes back and you've forgotten that you've done it. Uh oh, yes. I did do that many years ago, but yeah, that there isn't. Um there aren't really many new ideas in photography as photographers, we do feed off each other, and that's not a bad thing, because that means we are learning from each other, and we're all taking other ideas and advancing them onwards. So it's not a bad thing to do that occasionally. If you're doing quite a basic video like like the white background I did when when Frank pulled me up on it, that that's not an original idea. You cannot claim that as being your own unique thing, and that's where it becomes difficult to try and make that your own. So the way I do my videos now is I will come up with a final picture in mind. I'll come up with an idea what I want to shoot so the styling and make up the location and then our backwards that, too. How can I make that into a video so I'll often do that way around? What sort of pictures do I want to take? How can I make that educational or at work the other way around? I come up with a simple idea. Let's do Rembrandt lighting, Okay, that's been done. I don't know how many times marks done Rembrandt lighting more than me, I suspect. How can I make mine different to his? So there's two ways of coming at this. Both of them are perfectly valid, and both of them will give you unique pictures and even if even if you try to copy mine or marks work, if you do it right, you will make it your own. Well, that's what I was going to say. Precisely like it come back around to. We each have our own style. We each have people that we, you know, tend to learn better from, for whatever reason or that we just the more you learn from somebody you know just you become You make this connection with that person in in that you know, you You know what? Your you know, the for you. You know, you know the humor. You know, the ease of how you explain things, you know, you know, just the charm, the making learning fun, you know, seems to be what is a lot of things that are that are coming through, um, from the comments that people are making, Um, I'm curious, though, Like I I love the fact that you guys did this street photography and and and that you were, like hiding because I think I did see that, like, hiding behind Whatever. Uh, but were you again? We we you talked about when you feel anxious about something or you know you when you're not sure how to do it and you just have to push on and push on and push on like, have you taken well, Pre pandemic like, Have you taken steps to try to kind of get better at approaching people on the street? Or or are you just not interested in that? Because there's those are two different things I've certainly I've come to terms with how I can tackle street photography, and the way I tackle street photography is by not doing it. That's a perfect solution that removes the stresses and strains of worrying about it. Now I love street photography. I think there are some fantastic Candid Street photographers, absolute admiration for their work. That's not me. It's just not me. So if I'm doing anything on location, I'd like to book the location. I'll pay for the location. I don't mind. I just want to have permission to be there. It's it's It's just my little comfort zone, especially when you're filming a video as well as you see in the video. The person with the camera. What you don't see is the person doing the filming and the audio and the bits that, you know make you stand out in the middle of the street. So, um so, yeah, I'm not going to become a good street photographer. I know that. I accept that I'm not going to become a landscape photographer or wildlife photographer. I like being in the studio. I like the control that this gives me. That's what makes me happy. And if you're not happy in your photography, you're not doing it right. I think that's a beautiful place to end if you're not again, if you're not happy in your photography. If you're not happy in life, you know, in whatever it is, you're not doing it right figure, you know, figure, and you don't have to be. That's the thing. Like we don't all have to be. Street photographers, landscape photographers, studio lighting photographers. You know, 10 years ago I came to create a life, thinking I had to know how to do studio lighting, and I had to know how to do Photoshop in order to be a pro. 10 years later, two of the things I'm not very good at Studio lighting and Photoshop, but that's not my photography journey. You know. Just like I said, Your street photography is not your photography journey. And that's okay. And I think that's an important message. Yeah. If I had to go to Cuba, you would be the person that hired to take me there. That's That's it. You've got to know your skills and your levels. I would love to take you to Cuba. You, me, Mark, Let's do it. We can come some videos for Ottawa. Adirama. Oh, wait. We already did that. We could go back. We we haven't done it. We should do it. That's right. That's right. Uh, Gavin, such a pleasure to have you on and thank you to all of the people who have tuned in and enjoyed this conversation today. Love again. All of the shout outs from people from all over the world. Where can people find you? Follow you in all the various places. You have your own YouTube channel as well. I was going to ask you about the differences between the two, but people can go check it out themselves. How can people stay in touch with you? Uh, yeah. I guess the obvious one for for YouTube is going to be adirama TV. That's where I'm regularly uploading. Yes, I have my own YouTube channel, which is just Gavin Hoey on YouTube. You'll find less there because I spend most of my time making a drama TV videos. Not surprisingly, Instagram is the main place that I put stuff on. So on Instagram. I am the Gavin Howie. Don't ask me why I'm the Gavin. How it turns out I'm not the only Gavin. How in the world shocking. So I am the Gavin Howie on Instagram and my website gave train dot com Oh, my gosh. Okay, Gap train. That's what I forgot to ask you. Where did the train part come in? The Gap train. But it's short gap for Gavin trained for training, so Oh, my gosh, Thank you. Photography training is a bit of a long type, so yeah, but for me the train part I always thought about it. Like get on the Gaff train, Like, you know, you talk about like, get on that Whatever train get on the train. Yeah, something you don't think about it. I didn't really think about that. The time is short for training. I wanted something short and snappy. That was what was available. I booked it. Oh, my gosh, that's that's awesome. I'm just I'm laughing at myself with the get on the gap tree, okay? I'm having with my ring tone. Do it again. We're gonna have that with my ring tone. Get on the gap train. But I have to do the little dance. Maybe it's a gift. Um, thank you so much again for joining in a couple more shout outs. Uh, we've got Ali wada. Who says Gavin in the best. And Sam? Yes. We love Sam. Your wife. She's a part of the team. Uh, and, uh, thanks, guys. Love. I was late to the party, but hopefully we can watch this again. Everybody can watch this again. If you're watching on YouTube on Facebook, on Twitter for creative live, you can find this there again. We're live, so it will replay. There will also be an audio version of this conversation, which is part of the We are photographers podcast. You can go to creativelive dot com slash podcast or you can subscribe rate and review. Uh, subscribe anywhere. That is that you get your podcast. We would love to hear from you. And I love to hear who people wanna see featured on the show as well. So once again. Thank you so much, Gavin. It was a pleasure to have you on. And we hope to see you again here on creative life. No problem. Thank you very much for having me. Thanks for everybody for listening and, uh, yeah, take care.

Class Description


Our weekly audio podcast We Are Photographers brings you true stories from behind the lens and behind the lives of your favorite photographers, filmmakers, and creative industry game-changers. From their struggles to their wins, host Kenna Klosterman discovers the real human stories about why they do what they do.

Listen to this and other audio episodes on our audio Podcast page.


In this episode, Gavin shares tips for overcoming creative blocks when developing new content on a regular cadence. Gavin was an early tech adopter, always fascinated with how things work. Before becoming a content creator, hear Gavin’s journey from studying optometry to writing for photography magazines before making the switch to recording video tutorials for magazine cover discs. Like so many of us creatives, we touch on anxiety, confidence, and being your own worst critic. Beloved for his cheerful and easy-to-understand style, find out what Gavin himself loves most about his community of learners.


Gavin Hoey is a freelance photographer, Olympus UK ambassador, and trainer of all things photographic. Primarily focusing on photography education, Gavin was an early YouTube adopter and created a popular photography training channel before joining forces with Adorama in 2012. He’s now the most-watched presenter on AdoramaTV where his videos focus on the art of lighting and portraits. Gavin is still creating at least one video tutorial for AdoramaTV every other week and the channel has grown to 1 million subscribers.