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Meet Tristan Ervin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tristan Ervin.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I grew up in Atlanta, GA and went to the University of West Georgia, where I got my Bachelor’s Degree in Photography. During this time, outside of class, I was freelancing as a concert photographer in and around the city. I photographed a ton of music festivals and tours featuring major artists. After college, I found a job at an image editing outsource company, as an image retoucher and color corrector. After about two years, the company got bought out, and I was effectively laid off. After being laid off, I made the decision to move to Los Angeles to pursue my dream of being an editorial photographer. Los Angeles was a different beast, and I eventually lost interest in pursuing the dream.

By this time, I had moved to Orange County, and got a “regular” job, packing and shipping nursing supplies in a warehouse. After about a year and a half, I started watching Casey Neistat, a YouTuber who is considered the king of daily vlogs. I binged his video for nearly three months – it got to a point where I said to myself “hey, maybe I should try this! But I can’t daily vlog because I have a 9-5.” The only alternative was to vlog on the weekends, so I started doing weekly vlogs. I went out and maxed out my credit card on a ton of video gear, and started creating YouTube videos. My first year, I uploaded a vlog every Sunday and eventually gained my first 1,000 YouTube subscribers.

At first, my videos were “a day in the life type videos.” Some were interesting, some weren’t – I was just having fun. Being a photographer, I found several products that I liked and would make tutorials and reviews about them. The proverbial “straw that broke the camels back” was a video I made titled “Why YOU should be using FiLMiC PRO and MOMENT LENSES” – this video was a tutorial about Moment lenses – Moment is a company based in Seattle that specializes in making mobile photography/film products. FiLMiC pro is a mobile app that integrates mobile photo/video settings into smartphone cameras. Long story short -this was the video that catapulted my YouTube Channel.

To date, the video has over 100,000 views and still my most viewed video on YouTube. At this point, I found my niche – my videos went from ” a day in the life” to focusing on photo/video tutorials and product reviews. I found my audience, and it grew exponentially. I’ve had my channel now for a little over three years, and it’s literally changed my life. Outside of YouTube, I work as a traveling video content creator for a real estate guru, I’ve developed relationship and brand deals with several of my favorite companies, and I was able to purchase my first house with my wife – all because I started making YouTube videos.

Has it been a smooth road?
It wasn’t a smooth road. I got so discouraged while living in LA, that I actually put ALL my photography equipment up for sale on Craigslist eBay. I was over it. I wasn’t getting the traction that I wanted, despite putting myself and my work out there consistently. I tried different approaches, but it was like bumping into a brick wall over and over again – super frustrating. My girlfriend at the time, now my wife, convinced me to take everything OFF of Craigslist and eBay, put everything away in the closet, step back, and get back to it when I was ready. My equipment was collecting dust for at least a year before I got inspired to create again.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
So I’m a part-time YouTuber, and a full time Traveling Video Content Creator – that’s my full-time job. My YouTube channel is centered around Tech, Photography, and Cinematography. I’m mostly proud of how much my channel has grown over the years. (7,000 subscribers in 3 years) I don’t have a HUGE following, but it’s more than I could have imagined when I first started out. Not sure this sets me apart from others, but I truly do love creating – I’m not in it for the money. It’s just fun for me, and all the rewards are just a by product.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Personally, I define success as living up to your purpose – finding something you genuinely love doing, making it into a career, and reaching a point to where you can give back to those who aspire to be in your position. If I can give someone a leg up to avoid the mistakes I’ve made, I feel like that is me living up to my purpose.

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