How Much I Made From YouTube Full-Time in 2022

While my focus revolves around landscape photography, much of the information I break down through this article would apply to any photography content channel. I've been doing YouTube full time for over two years. This is a breakdown of all of my revenue from 2022.

I've written about the different ways you can turn your passion for landscape photography into a business and even broken down quarterly results for my first year on YouTube. This time around, I wanted to approach my results as a YouTuber rather than a photographer that makes YouTube videos. This past year I transitioned away from being completely photography-centric and dabbled more in vlogging, personal content, and travel with a heavy photography influence. Whatever direction you decide to go in your own journey, YouTube can be a great way to garner an audience and develop an engaged following for anything you're passionate about.

Revenue Directly From YouTube

2022 YouTube Ad Revenue Breakdown

I made 110 videos in 2022, accumulating roughly 550,000 views. Many of my videos average about 1,000-3,000 views which is quite small for doing it full-time. As you can tell from the info above, this netted me roughly $3,100 from ads, which is nothing to write home about considering the amount of time and effort it took to make those videos. This is why you have to diversify your revenue streams if you decide to dive into making videos. 

When you're a "micro channel" like mine, views are not ever going to be how you earn a full-time income. Even many of the largest landscape photographers making YouTube content wouldn't earn a full-time income just from views. With that in mind, let's take a look at how much I made because of the audience I have developed over the last few years. 

Revenue Because of YouTube

The majority of my income last year came from a supportive audience. The summer of last year, I transitioned from making a weekly video about photography to making almost daily videos about my life on the road traveling to Alaska. In that time, I built a connection with quite a few viewers, which you'll see reflected in my revenue breakdown in the form of donations and support. I can't suggest this method for everyone, as it will greatly depend on your personality and what you want your channel to be about.

Donation Read from Loyal Supporters
  • Donations: Between direct and YouTube donations, I made roughly $5,600. I had an absolutely massive influx of support during my travels through Alaska, with one person donating over $1,200, something I am still in disbelief about. Keep in mind, this is very specific to my own experience and is also a wildly inconsistent income resource. 
  • Patreon: I didn't start my Patreon until the last quarter of the year, and it netted me roughly $900.
  • Calendars: $1,000. Living on the road means I can't store and ship my own calendars, thus it's difficult for me to sell them at a reasonable cost and profit margin, but I still love making them every year. 

Mockup for my Editing Companion 
  • Digital Assets: Roughly $4,500. This includes presets for my calibration video ($5 each), a few phone background packs ($10 each), and most importantly, my Lightroom Editing Companion ($99), which is something I put an immense amount of time into developing, which reflects here, being the majority of this revenue.
  • Affiliates: Roughly $700. This is a combination of different software along with Amazon affiliates. I do a really poor job at shilling affiliate-related material, so that reflects here in my small amount of profit. 
  • Sponsored Ad: I forgot to include this in my video above, but I made $300 from including a sponsor in a video. This is one of the best ways to earn a consistent income through YouTube and absolutely one I'm continually trying to grow. 
  • Reviews: I tried doing one paid review for a company you can discover in the video above along with my thoughts on the experience, something I will never do again, but it netted me around $400. 

Revenue Unrelated to YouTube

Even though these streams aren't directly correlated to my YouTube channel, some of them are still the result of the audience I made by disseminating my work through YouTube.

  • Fstoppers: Yes, that's right, can you believe Fstoppers pays me to write this drivel? Jokes aside, Fstoppers is one of my most consistent sources of income, while also helping gain a follower or two, which is extremely valuable. I made roughly $4,000 last year.
  • Reels: I made $2000 from Instagram last year but this is a somewhat misleading stat. You can find my breakdown of this here, but after they moved my view goals, I just aimed for the minimum $100 payout per month as easy money.
  • Workshop: I hosted a workshop in Colorado last year that was a wonderful learning experience and all-around perfect event that netted me around $2,000. This technically could be related to YouTube, as the people who attended the workshop mostly found me through there. However, all the work and effort was more for a service, so I've included it here. 
  • Prints: I spent an absurd amount of time curating and developing a seamless print shop on my website last year and ended up selling a whopping five prints for a gain of roughly $500. Most of those prints were to friends or family, which is why I've included them in this section. The reality is prints just don't sell that well, and it's why if you follow any other landscape photographers on YouTube, most of them stopped putting effort into individual print sales. 

Once you add it all up, it comes out to about $24,000, which is almost enough for a single guy living in their car without health insurance. Jokes aside it's a solid amount of money when you look at the larger picture, but it is wildly inconsistent. I worked harder last year than I have in my entire life, and it was rewarding in so many ways. The support I felt was absolutely incredible, and I'm still at a loss for words about how it even happened. However, the creeping thoughts of trying to earn a livable income continue to grow, as the buildup is slow and inconsistent. 

One thing to keep in mind about my own personal experience is that I'm a terrible businessman that does an awful job at leveraging profit. I turn away many products, reviews, add or anything of that nature in hopes to figure out how to continue to do this "my way" rather than the more profitable way. If I focused my channel more on gear, made more Lightroom tutorials, and created more evergreen content, I could easily double my statistics right now. 

My reasons for choosing an avenue that actively hurts me in those metrics is because photography to me is much more than gear and editing tutorials, and there's an immense amount of saturation in those areas. Combine that with knowing if I leaned into those areas more and things would just feel like an unfulfilling job. The result is accepting I might not "succeed," but I sure as hell tried to find my own path. Thanks for reading, and I hope these insights and numbers shed some light on the realities of doing YouTube full-time.

Alex Armitage's picture

Alex Armitage has traveled the world to photograph and film some of the most beautiful places it has to offer. No matter the location, perfecting it's presentation to those absent in the moment is always the goal; hopefully to transmute the feeling of being there into a visual medium.

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Somehow I live in a different world. Because I still can't understand how you can voluntarily give someone else money so that they can make a nice life for themselves as a photographer. I still think that it is obviously a need for many people to show themselves on YT. Nice. But why should I run after them (keyword fan) and maybe even give them money? Nobody commissioned a Youtuber to create a vlog, it's all personal vanity. And no, that's not work, thousands of people do the same in their free time. So why should I pay for it?
And no, I don't watch videos on YT. I download the videos that interest me directly onto my computer, without the unfortunate advertising. And no, I don't buy products via an affiliate link - they are usually more expensive than if I do my own research.
So if someone voluntarily posts a vlog on YT and it seems interesting, I invest time and watch it. But pay for it? To follow a Youtuber as a fan, why? Obviously I'm doing something wrong if I believe in myself more than in someone else.

That's a weirdly standoffish attitude. You go out of your way to deprive content creators of the pittance of money they get from YouTube for their work that keeps Google's platform profitable?

How is it different than paying to rent a movie? Subscribing to a streaming service? No one is forcing you to pay. The option is there to support a creator you believe in because they need money to live and it takes significant amounts of time and effort to create that content, often to the point that it wouldn't be possible to create it otherwise. Did you read his total income? He's not making a "nice life" off that support.

Why should anyone pay for your photos? That's not work. Thousands of people do the same in their free time.

Man, come on, you give negative thumbs now? I didn't see anything from you when Illya did such a botched article on color theories that he or someone ended removing it. Probably was great for business to get something like 80 posts but the bottom line is it was approved for publication in the first place despite being a total disaster. How does a person learn from such erroneous infos, I have no clue. I have people who don't like me because correcting erroneous info today is synonymous to being a negative person. It's very laughable. I and apparently many others don't fall for this trend but I feel for those who do and learn nothing after watching videos all day. There is some good stuff out there like the guy who visited Kodak manufacturing and these people who were recently published showing their technique for head shot. Those YouTube channels are about quantity, not quality. If they give all the good info at once then there is no need to comeback, it's a very simple business principle.

Thanks for the breakdown of your streams and transparency. Its really interesting.

I think it is nice people contribute. Shows that many who are into photography are nice people who are willing to give something back. Even there are times you might question the behaviour online - on some of us. That’s positive!

I don’t understand if 24000 a year in income is the total income for this YouTuber, but that sound like living on the poverty level. Maybe he have a job or some pension or something? I hope so.

I think photography in general is bad business, only compulsive people who feel they must should try to make living of it.

It is the total income. I also live in my car which you'd think would help but after seeing how much I spent on gas last year, maybe not lol

Thanks for your insight and your honesty. If I were unmarried and young I'd definitely live in my car to do that for a while. How many young musicians (my son included) put it all out there to pursue their dream?

How old do you think I am? 🤔

let's see...I'd say 68


The photography business has changed dramatically during the last years, and it nice to see this guy has found a way of making money with these platforms. I suppose it comes down to the photographer character, I hate being on front of a camera and would never make a youtube video, for instance.
At the same time, I wonder if photography business "the classic way" is still a thing...I wonder whether there still are businesses to hire photographers, the B to B thing. We can't deny the "birth" of influences has changed the game, and that many businesses are after content creators rather then photographers and/or videographers.

It's still a thing. As much as it sounds like a specialty today, content creator is a very generic name for a bunch of specialties including photography. Influencers are even more generic and don't give a flip for creativity. You don't need a media creator or an influencer to sell a product on Wayfair, print a catalog or even put a picture on a can of food. None of this photography is gone. There is some CGI for those who can afford it but the process is complicated. The thing is illustrations have always been in use as an alternative to photography. There is more photography today than ever I believe.