Most people don’t understand how commercial photography can be a full-time profession. If you fall into that camp, here’s an assignment: pay attention to the photography you encounter today. Notice images on TV, billboards, magazines, the tray at a fast food restaurant, menus, in newspapers, frame inserts, book covers, packaging, annual reports, fliers…you get the idea.
If you are a photographer, such observation is vital, both for education and inspiration: what are consumers seeing? What are they liking and not liking? What works, what doesn’t? Which brings me to my point: magazines.
Magazines, I would argue, are the best and lowest-cost way to stay current on what other photographers are doing, keep up with industry trends, get reliable gear reviews, and remain connected to the images that are influencing consumers. I certainly haven’t explored every photography magazine, but here are my favorites, and my recommendations. I’d love to hear about yours in the comments below!
- Best For: Gear nerds, Landscape photographers
- What it Offers: How-to’s, Shooting techniques, Workshop information, Detailed gear reviews
- Best For: Fine art photographers, Art collectors
- What They Offer: Insight about how the value of photography is determined, Updates on exhibitions around the US, Promotion of digital manipulation as an art form, Inspiration from other photographers, Single image and portfolio contests, History of photography, Artist profiles, Affordable advertising for artists
- Best For: Food and beverage photographers, Food lovers, Beer and food Snobs, Home roasters, Food and beverage bloggers
- What They Offer: Gorgeous food and beverage photography, Industry trends, Observation of well-lit product images, Interior and portrait photography (i.e. of restaurants and chefs, etc.), Recipes, Gift ideas
- Best For: Travel Lovers and Travel Photographers, Needs no introduction.
- What It Offers: The standard for photographers everywhere. Eye-opening information about the world around us,Gorgeous glossy pages that make you want to hug them, Several companion magazines and online versions, like Traveler, Explorer, and Adventure that are equally awesome, Photo-of-the-Day
- Best For: Portrait Photographers
- What It Offers: Photographer profiles, Major industry events, Shooting tips and techniques, Industry trends, Digital and/or print subscription option, Automatic subscription for PPA Members
Wherever you live, find local publications to get a feel for the photography market in your area. Choose periodicals that have content related to the type of photography you want to do, and that are in areas of personal interest. Use them to become familiar with potential clients and find information about events that provide networking opportunities. Here are my favorite Phoenix and OKC area publications.
- Slice: OKC magazine showcasing local businesses, events, fashion, food and drink.
- Art Focus Oklahoma: Published by the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition; Profiles local artists, Posts notices of exhibits.
- AZ Magazine: A new publication affiliated with the AZ Republic, available at fine stores like AJ’s. Similar to Slice, but for Phoenix! (P.S.: the January 2011 issue featured HBP photos.)
- AZ Vines and Wines: Dedicated to the Arizona wine industry; profiles local winemakers and has featured HBP photos on a regular basis (okay, maybe I am biased on this one…). Watch for their soon-to-be-released website!