Review – Popular Photography Magazine

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I have had a subscription for Popular Photography Magazine for quite some time. In an era where newspapers and magazines are quickly being replaced by digital media and websites, I hold onto my physical, printed-on-paper, hold-in-my-hands magazine with fondness and a little bit of nostalgia for simpler times.

Which is not to say that Popular Photography has not grown along with the industry. The opposite is true, and then some. The magazine has broadened and progressed, even slightly ahead of the times, to stay on the leading edge of the ever-evolving and quickly developing world of photography. I rely on this magazine (and the associated website) to keep me appraised of industry news, new product introductions, buyer’s guides, tips, and tricks that all combine to make me a better, more well-informed photographer.

The way the magazine is laid out, and the way the information is organized, makes Popular Photography an easy and useful read. The table of contents, just two pages in and easily found (ever notice how you have to really SEARCH for the ToC in some magazines?), is clear and concise. Advertisements abound, of course, but they actually serve to enhance the appearance of the magazine and are indeed useful, if you can believe it.

The articles that I find most beneficial in Popular Photography Magazine are the product reviews. New cameras and lenses fresh to the market are examined and tested in detail, and provide both a high level AND a low level analysis (for the technophiles out there) of the camera’s performance. While the magazine does tend to focus more heavily on Canon and Nikon products (understandable given that they are the two most popular camera models in the world today), it does make an effort to include Olympus, Lumix, Pentax, Sony, and other brands.

Popular Photography also does an outstanding job in providing tips and tricks that reveal the “formula” behind some great photography techniques. Emphasizing individual steps and methods in regularly featured “How” section, the magazine covers lighting methods, post-processing tips, and advice on composition that I’ve found to be incredibly useful in every single issue.

Finally, I enjoy the fact that Popular Photography makes an effort to get its readerbase involved. The magazine and website promote regular photo contests and photo challenges that anyone can join, and reader contributions are often featured within the magazine itself. Articles about up-and-coming photographers are scattered throughout the magazine as well, to encourage aspiring photographers that it is possible to achieve their goals.

Overall, I highly recommend Popular Photography to hobbyist, amateur, and professional photographers alike. The wealth of information is well worth the subscription fee, which is currently $24.00 for 24 issues, or $14.00 for 12 issues. In return you get a real gem of a magazine delivered to your mailbox, something I look forward to each and every month.

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