There are a lot of photography magazines out there but some are clearly better, more accurate, more useful, and with better images. The magazines that follow are, from my point of view, the best of the best photo magazines.
First the sad news. Two magazines ceased publication this year. Popular Photography was my favorite, all purpose photography magazine. American Photo had the best collection of creative photography in all kinds of fields. It is a difficult time in the print magazine industry and it is hard to see these two fine magazines go by the way side. Other magazines have gone digital only.
Outdoor Photographer is my favorite nature photography magazine with beautiful imagery with “how to” articles on landscapes, nature, and wildlife photography. Every month I am inspired by the imagery. If nature photography is your thing, this magazine should be at the top of your list.
Digital Photo Pro is THE magazine for portrait photographers with imagery that will blow you away. Valuable information for the digital photographer. Lots of equipment related articles. Lots of Photoshop articles and tips. If portrait photography is your thing and you are looking for images and information that will want to up your game, this is the magazine.
Practical Photography is the U.K. equivalent of Popular Photography. This is my favorite photo magazine from the U.K. It has a little of everything, but with a distinctly different layout than U.S. based magazines. It is pricey, so I usually read it at the library although I do buy some issues at the local newsstand.
LensWork is one of my two favorite black & white photo magazines and it is my first choice for classic black & white imagery.
B&W is the other of my two favorite magazines devoted to black & white photography.
pdn: Photo District News is for advanced and professional photographers who are interested in creative photography and keeping up with the latest trends in the photo industry. It falls in the category of trade publication with all kinds of inside information that is valuable to working pros but may not be of interest to the typical photographer.
Shutterbug is a fun magazine for advanced and professional photographers. It has articles on photo techniques, equipment reviews, the darkroom, photo news, Q&A and more.
Photoshop User is the magazine to get if Photoshop is your thing. It is filled with how to articles. You must belong to KelbyOne to subscribe
I read all of these magazines but I don’t subscribe to all of them. I suggest you do the same. Subscribe to the magazines that are essential to your photography and read the magazines that are helpful to your photography at your local library (provided of course, you have a really comprehensive library).
I subscribe every year to Popular Photography, Outdoor Photography, and Digital Photo Pro. I regularly clip and file articles from these three magazines. These three are essential to my photographic interests.
I subscribe to others on an occasional basis, but mostly I read them at the library or a local newsstand and I buy the occasional special issue if I see something I want to keep for my files.
A good way to become acquainted with the best of the best photography magazines is to head to a well equipped newsstand or library and look through the photography magazines that are on this list (and anything else that catches your eye). A couple of trips to check them out will give you an idea which ones to subscribe to for the sake of your own photographic development and inspiration.
Photographic interests are a very personal thing, as are magazine choices. I have provided links below to some more photo magazine lists.
Here are some more photography magazine lists:
This is one in a series of articles that will guide you to the best of all things photographic. The rest are here: Buyer’s Guide: Recommendations For The Best Photography Equipment, Software, Books, Magazines, DVDs, Online Photo Labs and More.