This one is really important to me, Kingjvpes is one of the people who got me into film photography and I follow him on all social media sites. I really really enjoyed interviewing him and this one is really interesting, with some great insight.
If you want to be a youtube star like him this is a must read! KINGJVPES this was an honour, hope we meet soon!
How are you? Tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Jonathan Paragas, I am 20 years old and my family is from the Philippines. I was born here in the states but my mom side family is from Pangasinan and my dad side from Manila. I live in California in a city called Vallejo which has a very strong Filipino presence. I run a youtube channel called “KingJvpes” which focuses primarily on Analog Photography as well as Street Photography. I try to aim my videos to help promote new shooters and also experienced to build a community in which we can all enjoy film and learn together. I am also a street photographer. Currently working on my own zine project.
Why did you chose photography and videography (youtube) as a medium to express yourself?
I chose photography and videography as a way to express myself because when I started shooting film I absolutely fell in love with it. I started to watch youtube channels on film but at that time (around 2016) there were only a select few. This was also the time when the hashtags #filmisnotdead and #keepfilmalive were very popular and I wanted to contribute positively in a way that could bring joy not only to myself but to others. Since then I’ve documented my journey through street photography which is one of the heavy themes on the channel. The videos made on street photography are meant to help others grow alongside myself as I have still a lot to learn!
How long did it take you to grow to 42k subscribers and what was the hardest part?
Well I started my channel in 2009 but only really took it seriously in 2016. My first video on analog photography aired that same year so from 2016 – 2019 (current) I’ve grown to 42k, just about 3 years. The hardest part was definitely the niche that I put myself into. Film photography is truly a niche market in which most of the world prefers to make photographs with a digital camera. With a niche market you also limit yourself to having a niche audience, there will only be a handful of the photography world who would want to watch videos on film photography. So that was the hardest part, breaking my name into a niche and also trying to be different so I can establish my brand.
For someone who wants to grow a following and earn from what they love to do, what is your best advice?
My best advice would be to purely start something with the intentions to do good. If you are primarily starting something to just simply make money your intentions and devotion to your craft is already swayed. When the time comes around and you are tired, haven’t slept and feel like giving up your passion and drive to make something good should keep you going, not the motivation for money. The earnings will come later on but you have to enjoy what you do first. It also shows to your viewers. If you are mainly worried about money your videos will show that, but if your intentions are to make something people can enjoy they will be more engaged and interested.
Social Media and Youtube being a new form to earn money: What do you parents and the Filipino community think about your youtube?
Luckily my parents have supported me from the start. Of course they want me to go to college, or maybe become a nurse BUT overtime they seen that I really enjoyed doing this and I let them know that I would support myself financially and that this risk would be worth it. They believed me and even though it wasn’t the ideal path they wanted me to take they support me. As for the Filipino community I’ve gotten a couple of messages from my fellow filipino brothers and sisters and I’m just really proud to be part of this community. I hope they like the content and maybe would want to do a meet up when we go back home this December!
What is your biggest achievement?
My biggest achievement is when people tell me they started shooting film because of the videos and meeting people in real life and sharing a moment with them. That’s what it’s all about for me being able to create something that people can enjoy whether it be my street photography or my videos.
What was one of your biggest struggles?
One of my biggest struggles is staying inspired. There are months where I feel really good and my ideas are solid. But there are also several months where I feel like very low. It shows as well with the results but no matter what you have to keep on going because there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.
Do you find social media important and what are some tips you can give people that want to build brand awareness?
Social media can be seen in two ways. 1.) A social platform in which you can connect with other all around the world. 2.) A big advertisement. Any type of social media that can reach large amounts of people should be considered POWERFUL. But you have to find a balance of being human but also building your brand. It’s very easy to get caught in just strictly building your brand and forgetting the human side of you. So you promote, promote promote but that usually ends up turning more people away.
What does the Filipino Community mean to you?
The Filipino community means the world to me. They are my family and just being proud to be Filipino is enough. Most of us are kind and supportive so to be surrounded with people who share the same culture and enjoy the things I do truly humbles me.
What are your future plans?
My future plans are to stay consistent with the youtube channel but I want to branch out and do more street photography. i want to travel and make photos and build a collection of images people can look back on 50 years from now. I feel the urge to document what’s going on with this world and preserve these images to be shared later down the road. I also want to do more workshops. I had my first street photography workshop in San Francisco last year and it was a truly humbling experience.
Any other advices you want to give to other entrepreneurs/youtubers/influencers?
Be yourself and do what you love. Sometimes it’s scary it really is, but you’re putting yourself out there to benefit others and not only yourself. Always stay true to your original intentions and sooner or later you will take off.
A last thing you want to plug?
Just want to thank you for having me! Was really cool to share my story and I hope you guys could take something away from this. If you want to follow me on instagram I am @Kingjvpes and that is the same name for my youtube channel. I am currently selling prints as well as putting the pre order for my upcoming zine project on my website Kingjvpesphoto.com and would really appreciate if you checked it out! I’m trying to sell as much prints as I can to pay for my ticket to the Philippines this December! Best regards my fellow Pinoy’s #MINOLTAGANG! #PINOYGANG