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maryintexas39 Feb 11, 2010 10:25 AM

magazine recommendation
what's a good digital photography magazine geared toward novice/amateur photography?


JohnG Feb 11, 2010 11:07 AM

My honest opinion is internet forums are far more useful. I went through a number of subscriptions and every magazine I went through was more about sales and shill reviews of gear (i.e. since they make their revenue from advertisements the reviews are kind of a joke - every piece of gear is wonderful and the only downsides might be weight and cost - can't bite the hand that feeds them). There can be some inspirational work to be sure but I found that asking questions in forums got me better answers, faster than flipping through the mags and trying to find a nugget of worth - again, great images but much of it didn't apply to my shooting situations - I wasn't going to be traveling to exotic locations for 4am set-ups to shoot sunrises.

Here's a suggestion though - find a borders or similar store that has a wide variety of photography magazines. Go there for a couple months and look at the issues before any purchases. See if anything in them speaks to you. I just didn't find much info that was applicable to my use or was specific enough to help me get better. Others may have a different opinion.

mtngal Feb 11, 2010 5:35 PM

What John said.

I do occasionally buy photo magazines - they all will have an occasional piece that might interest me or give me inspiration for some project/technique to try, but the only one I find myself buying on a regular basis is Outdoor Photographer (because I am likely to be up at 5 am when I travel, which I love to do and do as often as I can manage).

I've learned far more from this forum (and a couple of others) than I ever have from a magazine though.

There are a couple of books that I've read that have been very helpful, more so than any of the photo magazines. The books go into much more depth about things - often (but not always) the articles in magazines (by their very nature) are too short and become more fluff pieces than informative information. And sometimes you can't judge from the cover headline (I remember one magazine having on the cover something about night photography - the article turned out to be about someone taking pictures around the artic circle and about all it said for night photography techniques was "use a tripod").

If you want to see inspirational photos, National Geographic and Arizona Highways (though I haven't bought this magazine in a long time) are good bets. But they aren't about digital photography.

maryintexas39 Feb 12, 2010 12:27 AM

thanks for the input!

rjseeney Feb 12, 2010 8:46 AM

I admit to having a PoP Photography subscription and a subscription to Outdoor Photographer. For the most part the magazines are fluff. I do get a few good ideas from the processing tips they give, but in terms of reviews, i think they are fairly worthless. I've never seen a bad review, and that's simply because as John said, their main source of income is from the advertisers, the camera companies. In fact at least 1/3 of the magazines are advertisements. But they are cheap, and there are some great images to look at, and I get the subscriptions from my nieces and nephews fund raising activities so I'll continue to get them.

griffina6 Feb 12, 2010 11:34 AM

I agree with what John said about magazines but have also found the same thing to be true about books as well. Over the past six months or so I made several trip to Borders and Barnes and Nobles (I actually enjoy browsing anyway) trying to find books that will give me great advice on shooting angles, setups, lighting, poses, etc... Just about every time I skim through and ask, What can I get here that I can't get online? Usually it is very little or nothing at all. I did buy a small cheap paperback on poses just to have a collection I could review occasionally and compare.

Back to magazines. I find that magazines are very good for introducing products but I can't go out and buy that stuff all the time. I find that their best parts are some of their illustrations on post processing.

Now last fall my son's school was having a fundraiser selling mags. So I bit the bullet and took both Shutterbug and Popular Photography. I have enjoyed them both so far about three issues each and I do get introduced to products and some web sites that I would not normally see.

Bottom line - I like Shutterbug pretty good. Just don't expect to get a ton of specific help as you can online.


rfortson Feb 12, 2010 2:45 PM

I get them all, it seems. Pop Photo, Outdoor Photographer, Digital Photography, Shutterbug, plus whatever I can pick up at the newstand from the UK.

I've gotten to where I read through them in one sitting and then recycle them or pass them along. I mainly use them for news or reviews, though sometimes the how-to articles are useful.

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