Peter McKinnon is a popular Canadian YouTuber who makes tutorial videos for photography and film enthusiasts. Peter is somewhat of an anomaly when it comes to YouTube stardom. In his videos, you won’t find any crazy stunts or challenges, or silly commentary on pop culture topics. Yet, he was able to amass over a million followers in just a year, after he created his channel back in 2010.
He had an unlikely career trajectory as he never set out to be a popular YouTuber when he started his channel. Unlike your typical YouTuber, Peter wasn’t religiously uploading videos or or trying to hop onto viral content in order to beat YouTube’s algorithm. He simply followed his passion and built an organic following.
This is not to say that he hasn’t been smart in the way he set up his channel and income streams from YouTube. He just makes content on his own terms, without being influenced by popular brands. He never makes sponsored content, despite being bombarded by free merch from various brands.
Currently, Peter has just over 5 million subscribers with a total of over 385 million views. He also has a Shorty award for Breakout YouTuber. He also managed to carry over his YouTube fame onto other social media platforms like Instagram where he has 2.6 million followers. He has also collaborated with other popular tech YouTubes like Marques Brownlee.
So, after getting fired and dropping out of college, how did Peter become so successful on his own? With millions of views and subscribers how much money does Peter McKinnon make?
How Peter McKinnon Got Started
Peter McKinnon was born on the 28th of October 1985 in Toronto, Canada. He currently lives there with his wife Janice.
Peter has always had an interest and a keen eye for photography. He was intrigued after receiving a camera for his sister’s wedding. Fascinated by the macro shots of grass he took, he took on photography as a hobby.
Peter is almost a cliche of the guy who starts his own hobby and business after getting fired or bored with his 9-5 life. He had a very interesting start, in a place that you’d least expect- magic.
Early Career And Education
Though Peter didn’t complete college, he did say that he was only one credit away from a diploma and that he didn’t really mind not having the certificate. He worked in a diverse range of fields, from a young age— from working in a skateboarding shop, circus, insurance to StateFarm (which he got fired from following the probationary period).
It’s not that he couldn’t get a great job working for a huge company, because he and his wife actually went to an interview for a position at Apple. However, they both got strange vibes from the work culture and orientation, and they both walked out of that potential job. In hindsight, that probably was a good thing for Peter, because working in a corporate job probably wouldn’t have allowed him to freely pursue his hobbies.
Initially, before Peter even envisioned making YouTube a career, he was filming tutorials for magicians, where he would travel with them and film their tutorials.
Every time a magician had come up with a new trick, Peter would buy the rights to that footage and film the magicians explaining their newly discovered trick in a tutorial format. In a weird way, this prepared him for his new solo endeavour.
He had to teach the magicians how to be camera-ready, holding their cards so that they could be filmed properly. Thanks to these tutorials, he naturally developed the ability to teach people how to do things on camera.
However much like everyone else who works, Peter was so caught up in the usual grind of working, that he never thought about doing these things for himself. He spent around 8 years doing this.
One day he was chatting with his friend Chris, where he was talking about his videography work. When Chris pointed out that he was doing all this for other people and not for himself, Chris’s question—” When was the last time you did something for yourself?” made Peter pause and rethink his career.
As he created his YouTube channel and uploaded these tutorials, people started to appreciate them due to a lack of quality photography tutorials. There were plenty of amateur photography enthusiasts out there, with no one to teach them the subtle tips and tricks in getting the perfect shot.
The video that really put Peter on the map was his video titled “8 camera hacks in 90 seconds.” Ironically, it wasn’t Peter that came up with the idea—it was his friend Chris Ramsay—who is an illusionist and has his own YouTube channel. So, in a lot of ways, Chris was the one who inspired Peter to pursue YouTube.
Peter continued his passion and made regular tutorials, teaching people how to take and edit their photos. Some of his popular tutorials include:
- Editing your photos- 5 + Million views
- $1000 camera vs $8000 camera- 4+ Million views
- Taking better shots with your iPhone- 4+ Million views
- 8 camera hacks in 90 seconds- almost 8 million views
So, why is Peter McKinnon so popular? It is because Peter makes content that is not only useful, but also engaging and entertaining. At the time he joined YouTube, there weren’t very many videos that taught people interesting skills like photography. Even when there were, they were too monotonous and impersonal, with not much engaging content. So, he filled a niche area that was high in demand.
Peter also makes content that is clicked on a lot—such as motivational videos—and he incorporates his photography and cinematography skills. So, he weaves in his skill—photography—into content that is quite viral. There are plenty of motivational videos on YouTube—but not many are made by skilled videographers.
For example, he has made several inspirational and motivational videos titled ‘You decide your own future’, ‘Motivation to keep going’ and ‘The act of doing.’ All of them feature breathtaking scenery such as beautiful mountainous landscapes, oceans, lakes, etc. While these aren’t his most popular videos, it keeps his audience hooked, building a loyal audience.
Peter also has a very interesting story that allows him to make content like this as well. He has the typical story of someone being bored by his 9-5 office job, quits and decides to pursue his hobbies and becomes wildly successful. This was around the time when people discovered that they could build careers through online platforms, so this content really resonated wtih a lot of people.
How Much Money Does Peter McKinnon Make?
So, after giving up boring jobs and following his true love of photography, how much money does Peter McKinnon make? While he does make videos on his own accord, he also understands how YouTube works, and lays out his content accordingly.
One important thing he does is diversify his income streams, and not to rely on Google Adsense (which a lot of YouTubers found out the hard way during the adpocalypse).
On YouTube, his videos get about 10 million views a month. So, how much money does Peter McKinnon make per month? Given that YouTubers make roughly $3-$5 per 1000 views, this translates to about $30,000 to $50,000 per month.
Secondly, photography is an area where investing in great equipment is essential. This provides a lucrative opportunity for brand sponsorships, which Peter does quite regularly.
Peter also has several passive incomes streams. For example, he has affiliate links in his video descriptions, so he makes a commission when people click on them. He also sells merchandise and his own digital products such as sound effects. Overall, sites like Nailbuzz estimates his net worth to be around $1.8 million.
Related: What Camera Do YouTubers Use?
Frequently Asked Questions About Peter McKinnon
Who Is Peter Married To?
Peter married his wife Janice in 2010. On the podcast. The Creative Life, Peter reveals they met when they were working at Best Buy.
What is Peter McKinnon’s net worth?
Considering Peter’s videos started taking off in 2017, and his total video views have come up to $350 million, his net worth is estimated to be close to over $1 million.
Where did Peter McKinnon work before YouTube?
Peter has done a huge variety of jobs since he was young. For example, he has worked in Best Buy, Statefarm, insurance, worked at a circus when he was young, and worked with magicians. He and his wife also walked out of an interview at Apple, because they were weirded out by some of the orientation exercises and felt like they wouldn’t fit in.
How old is Peter McKinnon?
Peter McKinnon was born on October 28th, 1985 which makes him 35 years old in 2020 and is a Scorpio.
What camera does Peter McKinnon use?
Peter uses high end DSLR cameras from Canon, such as the Canon EOS 1DX Mark II. It has a shooting speed of 14 frames per second, and is highly weather resistant being able to withstand tropical thunderstorms and hurricane-force winds.
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