Frequently Asked Questions
Since 2014, I started to consider myself a consistent online content creator through my YouTube channel, Instagram, Twitter and even this blog. During this time, I’ve been asked a tonne of questions about me and my work, the equipment I use as well as my opinion on various trends/affairs. I often get asked the same questions over and over again, so I thought it was about time I set up this FAQ page to help you and me!
If you don’t see your question here, feel free to leave a comment on one of my videos or posts, or send me a tweet!
A few interesting facts about me
I actually made a video titled 24 things about me. Though it doesn’t go into some of the frequently asked questions, it may answer something else you may be wondering. Feel free to check it out, along with some of my other videos on YouTube.
How can I afford travel and buy loads of equipment?
Hustle. My whole life has been one big hustle for getting shit done. If you want something to happen, or want to get something, you can do it. If you want it bad enough, you will find a way. Unfortunately there’s no one size fits all answer and no one method of making things happen. Organisation and control of priorities will get you a long way, as well as taking opportunities and making opportunities happen for you.
Otherwise, this guide will get you most of the way there.
What camera should I buy? or What is the best camera?
This is asked so so frequently and unfortunately there is never just one answer to it.
The truth is, it often shouldn’t matter what camera you use. Buying the same camera as me won’t make you take photos like mine. Likewise buying the most expensive won’t make you take better photos. If you’re just starting out in photography, I’d recommend reading my blog post on essential camera gear. I plan to keep it updated over time, so it will always be a useful resource. One thing I will add, it’s usually always best to try and buy the best you can afford and the more up-to-date/newer the model, the more you will get out of the camera. That being said, if you’re looking for a DSLR, remember that it’s the lenses that are often the most important factor to an image and not the camera itself.
What camera do you use?
I have a range of cameras and am always upgrading/testing out new equipment to make my process easier, more efficient and higher in quality. For the most part, I use a Panasonic GH5 for my video projects and a Fujifilm X-H1/X100F for photography. In the past, I have used a Canon 7D Mark II, Sony A7R II and 70D for both aspects.
What do you use to edit videos?
I edit videos with Adobe Premiere Pro. I also grade (colour) my videos in Premiere Pro with the Lumetri tools.
How do you make your titles?
My titles were personally created by myself in After Effects using the “Offset” parameter along with some animated movements. The main principle is offseting each character by a random, continuously changing variable, for about half a second, before reducing the offset to 0 (thus, the correct word). I then have them saved as motion graphic templates, making it easier for me to integrate in new videos, without having to recreate them each time.
Where’s my Lightroom Presets discount code?
You should receive an email automatically when you sign up at joeallam.co.uk/subscribe — it usually only takes a moment to come through, though a few people have received it up to an hour later!
If you still haven’t received it, make sure to check your junk mail or “Promotions” folder (if you use Gmail).
How do I get better/inspired in photography?
It’s a really easy and simple solution, but it takes a lot of work. You just have to go out there and shoot photos!
Always have a camera with you and if you’re really passionate about photography, you’ll be taking photos of anything and everything. The more you take, the more you’ll find what you want to shoot and you’ll end up inspiring yourself!
What do you use to edit photos?
All my photos are edited with Lightroom, using the RAW processing tools and multiple curves adjustments. I have even created Lightroom Presets which you can purchase, that I personally use for the base in all my photography.
How do you colour grade your videos?
People quite often relate my video colouring to VSCO styles. Just for the record, VSCO is software/presets to emulate the colours and tones of real analogue film in digital photography, not video. I often try and mimic certain tones/qualities of my videos which is reminiscent of old filmstock, because I feel it gives a softer, more ambient feel to it. I mainly use curves adjustments and exposure settings with Lumetri in Premiere Pro.
What should I do in Tokyo?
Tokyo is an absolutely massive place and can be intensely overwhelming, but that’s all part of the fun of it! To get you started for your first couple of days, I’d definitely recommend exploring Shinjuku and Shibuya mainly (then walk to and around Harajuku/Yoyogi). Both of those areas are so huge that you could literally exit any direction from the station and spend a whole day getting lost in the best possible way — I hope you’ve got comfortable shoes!
Another thing I always recommend to people is a visit to the observation deck at the Mori Tower in Roppongi to get a great aerial view of the city and a real perspective on how massive it all is.
How do I go freelance?
Being in a rut with work and feeling a bit claustrophobic on your creative side is a tough place to be, but for me I’ve always just used that as a power to make me want to create even more. The longer you spend doing something you hate, the more you’ll be driven to do the stuff you really want to do!
My history, in short, is pretty much all about having side projects alongside every job/education I’ve had. There are many late nights and busy weekends, plus multiple crossovers of having double jobs, but the long-term goal can eventually pay off. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size fits all approach to things regarding freelance, but I did have a lot of success reaching out to agencies and recruitment companies who often manage temporary roles. Over time they get to know your work style and work starts to find its way to you naturally. I’m also a heavy user of LinkedIn/Twitter and advanced search to find the right people at specific companies/roles I’m interested in.
The very best advice I can give you is to get your work in the best possible place for it to be seen by the right people. Publish your work on various platforms, engage with other creators and slowly but surely, things will pick up traction. I started writing my blog around 2008 or so. But it wasn’t until 2014 when I started my YouTube channel that anyone really read it. At least when they did start to read it, there was a whole bunch of content ready and waiting for them!
Good luck with the hustle, it’s a long battle, but the rewards will multiply the longer you’re at it!
What ringlight do you use in your videos?
I use the Nanguang CN-R640 Large 640 LED Ring Light, it gives a great reflection in the eyes and evenly lights the face for nice foreground/background separation.
What's up with your eyes? (in my videos)
See the question above.
Would you ever daily vlog?
It crossed my mind about during the summer of 2015, and stayed on my mind for the months that followed. It was only when I went to Florida and made vlogs every day (to be edited and published at a later date) that I realised I wouldn’t have the stamina to continue working on other projects and improve my video editing/filmmaking. I do a huge amount of blogging and web development outside of my YouTube stuff that I wouldn’t be able to dedicate as much time to if I went daily. I also feel that daily vlogging could be quite shortsighted in terms of future channel growth, as it would be hard to steer in new directions.
I have huge respect for daily vloggers who are able to churn out great content on a daily basis. I just don’t think it’s right for me!
What is your business?
I am a limited company registered in the UK, but my work takes me all over the world. The majority of my work is design-based (print + digital), working freelance at various companies and agencies. I also get commissioned for photography and video projects as well as sponsorship for productions on my own content outlets (e.g. YouTube and my blog).
Who/what inspires you?
I am greatly inspired by all sorts of outlets. From travel and exploration of a new area, to seeing the success of those closest to me, to globally-recognised brands or individuals who stand out in their industries. I find busy cities to be incredibly inspiring and energising for me and my work, along with those who can make things through limitations of their resources.
What watch do you have?
I have a variety of watches, but the one people ask about most of the time is the Rotary Chronograph. A watch my Dad gave me the day I graduated from University.
Still got questions?
I will be updating this page over time as other FAQs come in. If your question still hasn’t been answered, feel free to comment on one my videos/posts or send me a Tweet — I’ll happily get back to you to help you out!