Received the below E-mail last night.
I’m not overly surprised.
Each time I tried a subscription I was ultimately disappointed by it. There were some good articles – don’t get me wrong – wasn’t all bad. But all the bloomin time they would have poor articles about things like SEO. I realise that I’m not the main target audience in that I’m not full time pro and don’t do any marketing – but almost every single time they did an SEO/Internet tools article it would be a brief introduction not going into any great depth or detail. Each time they’d do this it would cover the same well trodden ground. It just smacked of inviting some SEO consultant in to do a free piece – each time they’d obviously start from the beginning and not have enough space (or want to) give specifics. This happened on many such topics not just SEO – woo this is branding, this is SEO, this is Twitter……. then a month or two later …… this is SEO, this is Branding etc etc
There is an alternative – I recently picked up a copy of Photo Professional up from the SWPP convention. From chatting to the guy there – it seemed like several of their staff used to work at Professional Photographer. I’ve bought and read one back copy. Seemed Ok. I did like the fact that they organises all the business into one section, all the gear into one section etc – so if not interested in that you could easily skip it.
But personally – I’m going to go for a digital subscription from the US Magazine – Photo District News a.k.a PDN. Unfortunately PDN doesn’t have a distributor in the UK (I’ve asked several times) and the US to UK postage more than doubles the price – so I’m going to go digital.
Other than an introduction course in studio lighting and one in Black & White development (which I did a month before buying a Digital SLR so never developed myself after that) I’m self taught. Either from books, friends, online forums or magazines.
In addition to wanting to learn more – I will happily admit to being a photography geek. Although I work in IT to some extent it’s just a “job”/career – it’s not a passion – I don’t read IT books at home – and I have tried. But Photography is different – it’s a passion.
These days I read Professional Photography Magazine – not that I’m a professional photographer (I’m not) but mostly for 2 reasons – 1. I consider I MAY turn pro some time. But also I work (IT) in the photography industry so some elements are relevant there. Also 2. There’s only so many times you can read about what filters are and how they’re used – or other such topic. The more amateur level magazines tend to cycle such articles and this can get frustrating.
Professional Photographer magazine doesn’t have photography technique tips at all really – but does have some on elements like editing, or planning a shoot, location scouting etc.
Aaaanyway – getting to the point of this post – Getting the most out of Magazine Subscription.
If it’s not obvious to you by now – I am, what I shall call “careful with money”. I joke that I’m a skin-flint but in reality I’m not – I’m more than happy to buy my round at the pub. Instead if I can get something at a cheaper price or offering more value for money – I will most certainly look into doing that – especially if buying something for myself.
Yes – I have been guilty of making spreadsheets in the past 😉 However I do get some level of enjoyment from it – plus savings to be had can be quite significant e.g. I believe I saved £400 on a mattress from Tesco Direct rather than buying from Dreams. Anyway – I digress.
When subscribing to magazines a lot of different savings can be made but some of them only come visible with a little looking.
Generally offers fall into two categories:
- Free gifts
- Money off
Over time I’ve managed to get two free photography bags through Magazine subscriptions: a LowePro Orion Trekker (no longer available) and a LowePro Trekker AW.
Someties free gifts that come with subscriptions are so-so – but on occasion I’ve waited to subscribe and only gone for it once a gift I actually wanted came along e.g. Lowe Pro Trekker. Both of these are very good and I still use them – I think price new would have been £50-£80 or there abouts.
The “trick” with getting more free gifts is that you cancel your subscription after the year (usually subscriptions with gifts have minimal duration of 12months. But if you’re an organised person and use some form of diary or calendar (I have to be as my memory for dates is so shockingly poor – I use Google Calender which sync’s with my phone) then it shouldn’t be an issue. Is ti worth the hassle – hell yes – for a £80 bag it is!
From the magazines I’ve listed above one had a free gift option:
Other options I’ve seen in the past
Black rapid RS-4
Lowepro DryZone Rover bag
For both free gift subscriptions and money off offers (below) a little work can be beneficial.
First off don’t just go for the subscription full value that usually is on the magazine subscription sites – instead shop around. Some places worth looking :
- The magazine website itself
- Subscribe to the magazine’s newsletter – sometimes offers here will be better than on the site!
- Check older newsletters – offers often change
I’ll give examples below.
A lot of money can be saved on money off subscriptions either off the full cover price or from the basic subscription price.
E.g. A series of offers I’ve just found for Professional Photographer:
Cover Price : £4.20
Basic subscription from subscriber website : £35.50 for 12 months = £2.95 per issue
Googled offer to cheapish subscription : £12 for 6 months = £2 per issue
Cover Price : £3.99
Subscription : £12 for £12 – £1 per issue
So hopefully you’ll find the above of use and it will save you money.
(And not make you think I’m a spreadsheet-making, penny saving scrooge 😉 )