Bored with photo magazines

I just received an email from Amazon with an offer of 83% savings on photography magazine subscriptions (use that link if you’re interested and Photodoto will get a small commission). With magazines and newspapers closing their doors left and right this year, who knows if you’ll actually get all 12 issues.

But it reminded me that it’s been a long time since I’ve bought a photography magazine.

I still browse the racks at the book store but I’m less and less likely to actually pick one up. 5 hot portrait tips! Shoot better photos instantly! 8 new cameras reviewed! Upgrade! Upgrade! Upgrade! They all seem the same.

I was pretty happy with my D70 for years. And, while the articles can sometimes be helpful, I don’t think there’s any such thing as a “recipe” that will give you a good photo every time, as the magazines will lead you to believe.

Do you read or subscribe to any photography magazines? Any recommendations out there for someone who is tired of hot tips and shopping guides?

By John Watson

John Watson is the original founder of Photodoto. If you're interested in what John has been up to, you can browse his personal blog.


  1. Hi John – Next time you are in Barnes Nobel or similar, look for a copy of the UK magazine Practical Photography. I think you will be pleasantly surprised! For some reason the UK photography mags all seem to do a better job than the US ones – although at a price. Expect to pay $10 for a UK magazine with no CD attached.


  2. I used to get pretty much all the magazines I could get my hands on but they were mostly repetitive ‘gear shopping guides’ and some actually had the exact same articles in them! I’m not shopping anymore and I already know what additional stuff I want so those for me, are a big waste of money. Matt is right about these UK mags. There are a few of them. I would take out subscriptions to these, but then you have to pay overseas shipping charges and it’s way easier to go down to B&N and just pick them up. There are several and they are easy to detect. They are all in bags, oftentimes there are tutorial guides inside as well as the magazine and they all have CD-ROM’s with actual tutorials that contain a handful of Photoshop tips that they actually walk you through. They run about $10-$15. They are great! Other than that, I just sent in a subscription to ‘Outdoor Photography’. Lots of pictures, tips, How to’s, etc. The gear reviews are minimal and the website for the UK mags and the OP mag are helpful and done extremely well.

  3. What a coincedence that you started this discussion. Last weekend I discovered that I did exactly the same thing: I browsed the mags but didn’t buy any of them. I used to be a very regular buyer of Practical Photography and some otheres for a couple of years. But then I noticed the repetition that these magazines tend to display. Over and over: macros, landscapes, night photography, 10 tips, how to improve, etc. And I think I got fed up with them. Moreover, they’re quite expensive here in NL (10 euros) and for the money of 2 of these I’d rather buy a book.

    So, unfortunately, no tips from me. I do know of some nice websites though…

  4. Try your local library for free photo magazines, they may not have UK ones (unless you’re in the UK of course!) but they probably have some that you can either read in the library or borrow for a week. When I lived in Boston I found the Newton Free Library had a huge selection of magazines (including photography ones) available to borrow and they were kept up to date with the latest issues.

  5. I really like PDN (Photo District News), not much gear in there, it’s more about up and coming photogs and current trends/markets. The bios on photogs are good reads and definitely not extended adverts.

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