If you find yourself getting interested in photography, and you have a commute or some down-time in your day, you might want to listen to a podcast about photography. In this post, I will introduce you to some of the better podcasts for those just getting started.
Finding Podcasts on iTunes
There are a lot of podcasts about photography to sort through on iTunes, and iTunes is something of a jumbled mess.
Of the top 20 photography podcasts in iTunes, 9 of them are no longer even publishing new episodes (and several of these have been inactive for years). Of the remainder, 3 are only semi-active. So you cannot just type in “photography” into iTunes and come away with the best photography podcasts. This post is designed to save you some trouble going through the various podcasts and to introduce you to some of the better ones.
I’ve listed them in alphabetical order. These podcasts are all so different that I’m making no attempt to compare or rank them. Some are video and some are audio. Some are in the format of interviews, some are questions and answers, and some are commentary of the host. Some are specific how-to’s, some cover news and new gear, and some are esoteric advice. The only thing they have in common is that they are about photography and they are available in iTunes.
But these are the ones I suggest you give a listen on your next commute:
This is a weekly video podcast where the host, Ted Forbes, introduces you to a really diverse range of photography topics. And I do mean diverse. In one episode he may be explaining the optics of a lens, in the next one he may be talking about digital time-lapse photography, and the next one covering a Holga (a super-cheap medium format film camera).
Ted recognizes no distinction between digital and film photography. He covers a lot of topics related to film cameras, which may or may not interest you. But I would urge you to give some of them a shot. I’ve found myself doing a lot of things I wouldn’t have expected, and I’ve actually enjoyed – and learned something from – them all.
The earliest episodes cover a lot of topics designed to get you started with photography, so those are of particular note. Lately, Ted has devoted a lot of podcasts to introducing different famous photographers and their work. The episodes are usually about 15 minutes in length. Sometimes they are how-to’s and sometimes screencasts. A lot of them are just Ted talking.
I follow this show on Facebook, and I recently saw an announcement that Ted has quit his job to focus on this show full-time. So it appears that the show is changing and we’ll see where the show goes from here.
Of all the podcasts listed here, this is the one I think would most benefit you if you are just starting out in photography.
This is a series of thoughtful 1-hour interviews conducted by photographer Ibarionex Perello. It is a one-on-one interview format, and he interviews most of the top names in the field of photography.
The host has a very low-key, almost sedate, vibe to him. I have heard people say that his voice will put you to sleep.
Still, this is the best interview podcast going. He seems to get all the top names in photography. And he does a really great job interviewing them. Definitely give this one a listen.
Jim Harmer, a photographer based on Boise Idaho, mostly does this audio podcast in a Q&A format. People call in and leave voice-mail questions, which he plays and answers on the podcast. Sometimes he deviates from the Q&A format and spends a whole show on a topic, and sometimes he does interviews.
The podcast covers “photography” in general. If you are a generalist, you will probably really like that. Otherwise, I suspect that sometimes you will like this show, and sometimes you will not, depending on the topic. He may cover landscapes one day and pet photography the next (not made up).
Pick out a few episodes that look interesting and give it a listen. If you get one that covers the type of photography you do, you will learn some things.
Brooks Jenson is a photographer that started and runs a great magazine called LensWork that showcases the top black and white photography around. So naturally, when he began doing podcasts several years ago, he also called his podcast “LensWork” as well. Each podcast is a 5-minute discussion by Brooks of whatever is on his mind. There are no tutorials or interviews.
LensWork (the magazine) is geared mostly toward serious black-and-white photographers, and so is the podcast. The topics are too numerous to list, but he does seem to talk a lot about the various ways to display photography. This is partly because he is the business of displaying photos (in print and online) and also because he seems genuinely enthused with not having to just display solo pictures on white mats in black frames anymore, as he did years ago.
This is a great podcast, but I’m worried that beginners may not enjoy it as much. This is talk for serious artists, but without the art-speak. He has been making them so long it is almost an inexhaustible well. Check it out, or, if you would rather read it, pick up any of his “Single Exposures” books, which are essentially transcriptions of the better podcasts.
This is a one-hour weekly audio podcast run by Frederick Van Johnson with two changing co-hosts that covers mostly news about photography. Because a lot of photography news is about new gear that is coming out, the show gravitates toward gear-talk. Usually, Frederick will have a separate interview related to photography at the end as well. Therefore, this show can run really long.
If you are looking for a lot of tips, tutorials, or how-to’s, this is not your place. This is a show about current events and new gear. But what it does, it does well. Give it a listen.
There are some other good podcasts out there but they appear geared toward advanced or professional photographers. So just because a podcast is not on this list doesn’t mean I don’t think it is any good. Check these out for now, and we’ll have other resources coming soon for you as well.