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I used to subscribe to practical photography magazine but then after about 2 years I cancelled my subscription.
The magazine is available for forty five pounds for a 12 month subscription.
I first subscribed when I was getting into photography and learning how to use my Canon D350. At that time I found it really useful with lots of little tips, projects and articles about all things photographic. There is also a nice Location guide feature which is good as I often struggle to find where to go out taking photos. The projects were quite nice ones to do and they explained them well. I did some projects on painting with light, still life and water droplets which turned out really well.
They also run montly competitions which I found were really good to get my creative mind thinking and also as a topic to photograph if I was stuck for ideas. The winners are pretty amazing though so if you are a beginner I wouldn't use it for anything more than that!
There are also reviews of camera equipment which I didn't find all that useful as I found it difficult to compare their photographs taken with different lenses etc, as they all looked the same to an amateur like me!
I really enjoyed the magazine initially but after a year found that the same themes were being repeated the following year and therefore cancelled my subscription. I would use it as a beginner but there are probably better magazines out there if you are more experienced.
I find practical photography is indeed a practical and useful guide to any photographer who wants to take photography seriously. I think that the Image Workshop is particularly helpful with constructive suggestions and comments to readers photos. The Location Guide for a particular theme can be handy if you happen to live close to or planning to visit one of them. It also organises competitions each month on different theme. There are some good tips on photography in general and digital dark room skills mainly based on Photoshop. The techniques discussed are more suitable for beginners though with occasional repetition from issue to issue.
It is not as informative as I would have expected with many gear reviews more like comparison of specifications of different equipment and over 30 pages are ads. I would think that it is a good magazine to read for beginners who want to improve photo taking skills, especially with a new digital SLR camera. Although even experts may be interested in issues which address a particular technique, such as HDR photography. I wouldn't trust any hardware reviews there too much though.
Being a photo hobbyist, it is my ultimate desire to have stunning photos that other people could see and admire. I always search for other peoples works either on-line or in prints to improve my craft, consequently to update my own photo gallery website. And someday to meet my goal - the launching of my first photography book and exhibit! Photography has always been an expensive hobby, but on the other hand, it is a rewarding experience for possible financial gain from it in the long term. Well, it is not a big cash but it will give some money to maintain/upgrade my camera, or to some extent (like joining competitions) gives me the opportunity to acquire a new set of accessories for winning major prizes.
PRACTICAL PHOTOGRAPHY (Take Better Pictures) magazine or PP is one of the monthly best-selling local publications in the UK dedicated to helping people in photography and in taking pictures as a rewarding experience. It costs 3.70 pounds per copy (back issues cost 6 pounds (local) and 7.5 pounds (overseas)), offering the readers a wide range of topics - camera skills, software applications, experts advice, camera products and accessories, readers photo galleries and forums, photo book reviews, holidays and courses, competitions (Photographer of the year 2006), etc. For a quick roundup, listed below are the regular coverage/contents of the mag:
**PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2006 - it is the biggest annual photographic competition which is open to local and abroad participants. For 2006, the themes include the following: January (Round 1) - Winter landscapes, February (Round 2) -Dereliction, March (Round 3) - The human body, April (Round 4) - Low Light, May (Round 5) - Water, June (Round 6) -Motion, July (Round 7) - Colour in nature, August (Round 8) - Travel. The winning images are published and posted on-line at www.photographymags.co.uk or www.practicalphotography.co.uk). Looking at those winning images, it is very inspiring to take pictures using a SLR digital cameras which I dont have at the moment. I think of these images are also enhanced by photo software (photoshop) to make it more stunning (in terms of colors and quality. Anyway, using my digital automatic camera, I participated on Round 4 (Low Light) by sending two images (maximum), unluckily I was not selected to the final stage of the competition. This month, I also sent my entries for Colour in nature, and Im waiting for the initial results.
**MAILBOX - it covers the first few pages of the mag featuring letters (and or with photos) from the readers - relating to suggestions, praises or other concerns for the editors to answer. Letter of the month and The Forum will be the highlights of this column. The Forum contains the emails posted on the PP website. This section gives the readers what they think about the mag itself and their experiences with their cameras.
** READER GALLERY - this section contains the photos from the readers with a subtitle title of The world through your eyes. These pages are showcasing mixture of jaw-dropping images contributed by the readers, including basic facts of the pictures such as location, camera type and settings. Also, instructions to send your photos are also included for possible inclusion in future publications. I am personally interested on this section, and hopefully I will be able to submit one of my photos from my IR-500 Olympus digital camera.
This is really an awesome section because being a reader, you are inspired to submit your images as well. I think this section is a way of acknowledging the works of hobbyists and non-prof photographers, or just even an ordinary person, no matter what type or model of camera you are using... Most of the photos are really wonderful... and you cant imagine how these are found in nature or in our surrounding or even part of our everyday's undertakings.
**TAKE BETTER PICTURES (Helping you to get the most from your camera) - it is the main featured article of the mag which contains pages of advice on camera techniques, quick fix and tips, what to shoot, photoshop skills and trade secrets of taking interesting subjects. Again, hearing first-hand advice from the experts gives the readers the boast to continue his hobby and improve his shoots. There are rules in photography, but I think these rules are sometimes not be followed - for individual's taste and preference of doing things, like in taking pictures.
**COLUMNIST - focuses mainly on expert advice for specific subject, featuring some of the professional photographers in the region . It is a first-hand discussion from the experts showcasing his/her talents to the readers. This section offers the best works of professional photographers, including their gadgets, their styles and techniques, and personal tips on taking outstanding images. For me, reading this is somewhat giving you an inspiration to go on with your hobby and love of what you are doing to get better pictures.
**WHAT DO YOU THINK? - it is an interesting section of the mag that is dedicated solely for images sent by the readers for honest and constructive criticisms by three selected experts. Each expert has to rate the photos based on subject, composition, cropping, clarity, and expression,. Picture of the month will be chosen from those submitted images and the winner will received a Nikon digital camera. Another attraction for this section is the One picture three views, where panel of three (one pro photographer, one enthusiast and one person from the general public) criticise one selected readers picture. Well, you can not please everyone with your work, but at the end of the day, someone will always praise you and of course whatever criticism you get from others, take is positively, and always remind yourself that "there is always room for improvement", thus you can shoots better next time.
**BOOK OF THE MONTH - this is also an interesting section of the mag wherein the publisher is featuring a new book available in the market, including short review of the book, facts such as publisher, price, website, ISBN #. I think this is a good source of information if you like to buy photography books as part of your collection. Personally, this is also another venue for me of getting some styles to improve my review especially for photography books.
**UPDATE - this part is consists of various articles relating to a variety of cameras, lenses, scanner, printer, portable storages, and other photographic gadgets and accessories. And most importantly, it also features gear expert tests and reviews of new camera types. Again, this is also an interesting section where you could get valuable information if you want to buy a new camera, especially if you are having difficulty of choosing the type and model of the camera, depending on your budget and interest.
The remaining pages of the mag are dedicated to its sponsors/advertisers such as Jessops, Warehouse express, Digitaldepo, FotoSense, Cameraworld, Londoncameraexchange, prophotocentre, etc. These companies offer a wide range, latest products available on-line. For people who are busy and not able to go to shops and stores, this is the best source of information for on-line shopping. The prices are quite competitive with products/accessories available in high streets.
Practical Photography is a monthly magazine that is packed full with hints and tips that will help you improve your technique, reviews on the latest gear, advice from the "experts", competitons, festival dates and lots more. The classified section helps you to find good suppliers for mounts, albums, greeting card & postcard supplies. There are also a few ads on tuition, holidays and short courses. You don't need to be an expert in order to read the mag either, it is written in every day english. If you are about to buy a new piece of equipment, you will probably find that PP has already tested it out and has written their opinion of it. Don't worry if you have missed the opinion, for back copies are available on request. All together a good read!
Practical Photography is a local photography magazines which I personally like the most. I have subscribed the magazines since 2 years ago. I must admit that I have learn a lot of artistic and technical skills from the magazine. The magazine consists of lots of aritcles, comments, reader photos evaluation and recomendations. They are very profesional. Besides, I enjoy the photographs very much. Usually, I will find some skills or ideas that interest me most, and experiment them. Some ideas are very outrageous. Very fun! It costs only £2.90, about the price of a pint of beer. This is definitely the photography magazine which I will recomand to beginners and also experts.
Practical Photographer is a monthly photographic magazine that offers lots of helpful advice on anything from darkroom techniques and getting better photographs, to improving digital images. It gives reviews on all the latest equipment, has a question and answer section and you can also send in you own photographs to the ‘photo clinic’, for the resident ‘doctors’ to give their advice on how you can improve you work. I find the magazine very informative and interesting, seeing photos from around the world and also from places in Britain that I have never visited. It also has an excellent classified section listing companies, where you can buy anything from cameras to photographic holidays. This is an essential monthly read for any photographic enthusiast.