Welcome to the New and Improved Single-Serving Photo! This is my first real article post since I rolled out this whole new design, and I'm really happy to welcome you all who may be reading it!
Lately, I've been reading an awful lot on the subject of photography, both in “dead tree” format as well as digital. I want to take this opportunity as I welcome everyone to what I hope will grow to be yet another useful resource in the field to call out to some of the people, sites, and other sources that have kept me going and inspired me during the transition.
The first source of great photographic information that I want to recommend is ShutterBug magazine. They review new equipment, talk about workflow issues, software, techniques, locations, and everything else you'd want to learn about as an aspiring photographer as well as a professional. What sets ShutterBug apart from its peers on the photography newsstand (e.g. Popular Photography) is the matter-of-fact, somewhat gritty, down-to-Earth writing you will find in it. Every article, with few exceptions, is written by a real, dyed in the wool, professional photographer. That is to say, someone who makes their living making pictures. I find that the articles are sometimes lacking in “spit and polish” when it comes to the raw grammar and sentence structure, but that is because these people are not writers, they are photographers.
It's somewhat endearing and confidence-inspiring to be reading the actual words of someone who has hands-on experience with the subject at hand, and whose words haven't been mingled around in an editor's overzealous grammar checker. The other perk of reading so many different opinions and thoughts is just that; a variety of viewpoints. You can find articles written by very pedantic, purist photogs who couldn't bear to ever use off-brand equipment, as well as reviews written by Average Joe Photog making a few sacrifices here and there to save a buck or two. Both are valuable opinions to anyone interested in the field.
Bottom line: ShutterBug delivers interesting and useful content each month for the reasonable price of about $2 an issue, plus you always seem to get about 14 of the latest B&H and Adorama catalogs somewhere in the middle. Call it a bonus, if you want.
Getting into the digital world, there are a few sites that I find consistently useful and interesting information on, and those are Strobist, Rob Galbraith DPI, Still Life With, and DIY Photography (Photocritic). Go ahead and click those links and get addicted, if you wish, or read on to hear why I think they're worth your time.
Strobist follows the experiences and advice of a journalism photographer by the name of David who wishes to share the joy of low-cost, portable flash use with everyone. Aside from being an accomplished photographer, he is also good at explaining things fluently, which is an important skill for any blogger to have, and especially important for a blogger concerned with such technical topics as light metering (that wasn't a jab; I mean that). You will always find great information, inspiration, and links to other interesting resources on Strobist, which is why I read it and I think you should, too.
Rob Galbraith DPI (Digital Photography Insights, not Dots Per Inch) is a blog I just started reading very recently. Rob is a Canadian photojournalist based out of Calgary who brings information about photography technique as well as equipment and software to the fore on his “Digital Photography Insights” page. With the support of co-editor Mike Sturk and staff writer Eamon Hickey, DPI has no trouble presenting new and exciting content continuously.
Still Life With, as you have already guessed, is concerned primarily with photographing things on tables that don't move. Specifically, we're talking about food. Now, for those of you who have any experience in photographing still lives or doing any tabletop product photography, you know how difficult it can be. Still Life With takes it to the next level with techniques and advice for making your tabletop still lives look both crisp and inviting as well as completely delicious. This is a blog you can definitely dig into (pun intended) as an amateur, and doesn't expect you to break your bank account with tons of high-end, flashy equipment (pun also intended). It will also (probably) make you hungry. Don't read this one on an empty stomach.
DIY Photography (Photocritic) is the blog of Haje Jan Kamps, a Dutch photography freelancer in the publishing business who has proven himself capable of populating his site with a continuous stream of new content. There you will find photography-related news, reviews, tutorials, advice, and more; it's basically a catch-all of content, and I have found it to be a dependable source. Photocritic may not be the best resource for the glamorous professional, but if you are a glamorous professional photographer and you are reading this blog, please let me know!