Category Spotlight: Photography

Category Spotlight: Photography

Photography newsletters fall into several buckets:

  • Newsletters for photographers
    • Improving your photography skills/knowledge. These are for either hobbyist or professional photographers on how to be a better photographer/take better pictures, about camera-related gear/technology, and about general photography or photography gear/technology news. These can be written by various sources, such as individual expert photographers who teach classes, write books, and have youtube channels or by photography review sites, or by photography businesses.  They also have a wide range in quality, with some pushing knowledge and information, and some pushing their own agenda (“Take my class!”, “Discount on this lens!”) more. 
    • Growing a photography business. These are targeted at professionals who are looking to start a photography business or grow their existing one. Topics generally cover marketing, customer acquisition, pricing, etc. These are generally written by expert photography business individuals or by small niche companies.

  • Newsletters for anyone who enjoys images and stories

If you’re a photographer (hobbyist or professional), you’re unlikely to radically improve your skills or skyrocket your business JUST by reading newsletters-- similar to any other profession. Newsletters will supplement the other knowledge you gain through websites, blogs, classes, books and more. Through newsletters, though, you will ideally find yourself inspired, discover surprise tips, hear about the latest news on a new lens, see some photos shot on a new camera, etc.  The key is to find the newsletters that aren’t padded with an overabundance of sales pitches. While still offering some self-promotion and/or ads, the ones listed above for Improving skills/knowledge (Shotkit and Digital Photography School (dpS)) and Growing a Photography Business (The Modern Tog, by Jamie Swanson, Photography Spark, Format Magazine) do send solid content or links to content.

The newsletter is a great medium for photojournalism.  Major media producers like the Atlantic (New Photo Galleries - In Focus) and the Washington Post (In Sight) do a great job of encapsulating the past week in photos, or in capturing thematic photo compilations, like “Christmas Around the World”, or “Global Protests”. If you are interested in timely world news that comes at you viscerally through photos, those newsletters are for you. Do note that with In Sight, you can click through the newsletter to see the photos, but to read some of the articles, you must have a subscription to the Washington Post.  BuzzFeed’s JPG Newsletter, while similar to the Atlantic's and Washington Posts’ newsletters with current events photos linking out to stories, also has a longer form piece that’s culturally relevant but not news-breaking (like An American Gun Range, or, Tasty TIps with a food photographer). If you would like to consume a photo story IN the newsletter, this one could be for you. Somewhat annoyingly, all three of these newsletters do come riddled with ads in them which makes them feel just a bit less classy-- and it’s a bit distracting.

National Geographic’s Photography newsletter is strong and ad-free, making the reading experience more pleasant. The images and articles are more in line with what you’d expect from the National Geographic Magazine itself -- current issues or global challenges, but not breaking news from yesterday. The newsletter has several sections: a photo with a NatGeo story that is in one of their issues (Giraffes, Rhinos, Grief, etc), a grouping of news related to photography (often giving you perspective or news unrelated to National Geographic), a tip/trick, an Instagram photo of the day (inspiration!), and sometimes a historical photo. If you already subscribe to National Geographic, you won’t find these quite as impressive since you’ve likely read the main story already, but if you aren’t a subscriber to the Magazine, the newsletter is an excellent way to get your bite-sized NatGeo fix. We highly recommend it. (Note: You will also receive other emails from National Geographic that aren’t the Photography newsletter; and they can be all over the place and you may choose to ignore most of them. We do.) 

If you’re both a photography buff and a history buff, we also have *THE* newsletter for you: The Observer Picture Archive. It’s excellent photojournalism from the past-- the ‘50s, 60’s, and 70’s. It tells stories like “The Life of Lee Harvey Oswald” or a pertinent piece around the time that Judy Garland died, etc, with the original photos. There doesn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason as to why specific content is chosen to be dredged out of the archives, but that makes it a fun surprise to open up, see, and read. And on top of that, you’re guaranteed to learn something interesting you could talk about at a cocktail party that is totally random.

Independent and curated photo journalism or essay newsletters are hard to come by-- and we wish there were more of them. We have heard great reviews about a newsletter previously released by (a platform for storytellers to combine writing and photos), which used to curate the best of the content on their platform each week. It has been on pause for a while, but they told us they are planning to resume this year at some point. Stay tuned!

Let us know if you have any other standout photography newsletters that you read. Or if you’re an independent photojournalist with a newsletter, we’d love to hear about it. (And if you don’t have one, consider starting one; there’s clearly a gap in the market!) You can reach us at

Happy reading!

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