Looking for gift ideas for a photographer? Magazine subscriptions can be a gift that keeps on giving. (Well, for a year or whenever the subscription runs out, that is…) Some provide news and information. Some provide education. Some provide inspiration. And some provide a bit of everything, stoking a photographer’s enthusiasm.
I still find it a real treat to sit down with a photography magazine, especially when I’m travelling. Sure, you can get a lot of similar information on the web now, but there’s still something about picking up a magazine. And in terms of a gift for a photographer, they’ll probably view it as quite a treat!
There certainly aren’t as many photography magazines as there once were, and more and more seem to be closing up shop all the time. Like all the other parts of the print media industry, photography magazines are an endangered species. But there are still some very good ones around.
Here are some of the better ones that I think are good bets for a gift subscription. There are plenty of other top-notch photography magazines available, such as Aperture, but they’re for quite specific interests and tastes and probably less suitable as a gift subscription (unless they’ve requested it, of course!). I’m focusing here on some of the more widely accessible ones that are most likely to make for good gift subscriptions.
This list includes a range of subscription prices. Some a priced comfortably in stocking-stuffer range; others are more substantial investments. Some of these are monthly; some are quarterly or some other schedule.
Digital Camera World
Digital Camera is a glossy photography magazine with high production values. Topics run the gamut of digital photography, but the emphasis tends to be on practical guides, techniques, and gear reviews.
They offer print subscriptions, digital subscriptions, and combination subscriptions.
Best for: Keen photographers eager to learn new techniques and keep up with latest gear.
From the same stable as Digital Camera, Digital Photography aims at a slightly more advanced photographer audience. Again, coverage is quite broad in terms of topic, but they lean a little more toward those who make a living from photography (or aspire to).
Best for: More advanced photographers and those aspiring to break into the industry.
With a focus on outdoor, landscape, and travel photography, there’s a mix of photography gear news and reviews as well as information about locales both close and far. And, of course, lots of drool-worthy photographs that’ll make you want to pack your bags and go.
It’s basically a monthly magazine (there are 11 issues per year), it’s available in print or a digital edition in multiple formats, and there’s a gift subscription option.
Best for: Enthusiasts who shoot landscapes or travel photography.
I’ve always admired the British photography magazines. They’re more expensive to get in most of the places I’ve lived, but their glossy finish and high-end imagery has always made them feel more special.
Outdoor Photography magazine focuses on landscape, wildlife, nature, and adventure photography. You can get a good sense of their aesthetic from the covers.
Best for: Landscape, wildlife, and travel photographers.
As its name suggests, Photography Week is a weekly news magazine. It’s digital-only, and competitively priced.
Best for: Novice and keen photographers.
Black & White
As much as color has taken over photographer, there’s still a thriving interest in black and white photography. And that’s, unsurprisingly, the focus of Black and White magazine. It’s a US-based magazine, which cuts down on shipping and delays (if you’re in the US, that is). It comes out every two months.
Best for: Photographers with a strong interest in black and white photography.
I couldn’t have a list of photography magazines without including National Geographic. No, it’s not technically a “photography magazine,” but for decades it has been the gold standard for stunning travel and outdoor photography. It’s hard for any photographer to look through its pages and not be inspired to get out there and start shooting.
Things Worth Knowing
For whatever reason, there has long been a delay between signing up for a print magazine subscription and receiving the first copy. That’s never more true than now, with shipping delays the new normal across the board. And you’ll especially notice it for any international orders.
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