My Favorite Photography Podcasts (Part 1)

I listen to a lot of podcasts about all sorts of topics such as cycling, economics, science, and comedic news to name a few, but this is a photography website, so here is my list, in no particular order, of the photography podcasts I listen to.

This Week In Photo (TWIP)

TWIP is a weekly staple of mine. New episodes are released every Thursday, and the host, Frederik Van Johnson and his guests, discuss the past week's photo news stories. They also answer questions from listeners and give their 'weekly picks' that can be anything photography related. 

Like everything, some episodes are better than others, but overall it's a solid show. The format is your typical Skype call-in discussion that so many of these types of podcasts use. There is both an audio and video version of the show, but the video comes out a couple of days after the audio... I think. I listen to the audio version each week, so I couldn't tell you the quality of the video.

One annoying aspect of the show is when they discuss a piece of gear, and hold it up to the camera for everyone to see. Apparently they forgot this is an audio podcast. I'm sure some people watch the video, but when working in the yard, driving, riding my bike, or whatever, I listen. I'm sure most people listen instead of watch, too.

Some of the guests, like Doug Kaye and Shiv Verma, have a great perspective and are humble photographers. Others, like Scott Bourne, not so much. Though I haven't heard him on in a long time. Maybe Frederik felt the same.

I think the show leans a little too much toward gear talk, however. New gear is low hanging fruit for photography discussions, but I doubt most photographers care about flying drones, or $7,000 pro camera bodies. People of course, do fly drones and use expensive cameras, but I doubt the average listener does. 

The direction I would prefer to see the show move is discussions surrounding photographic principles rather than megapixel talk. I do enjoy their controversial discussions, however. They recently debated whether or not Steve Jobs should be inducted to the photography hall of fame with arguments for and against. That's the stuff I enjoy because there is no definitive answer, and someone who argues well can help you form your opinion about the topic. However, telling me about a screen that increased from 3 inches to 3.2 inches is boring. 

Overall, I enjoy their discussions even if they are about gear. They often give you nuggets of information that is usable and actionable that I apply to my own photography.

This Week In Photo - Family

Jenny Stein, as she states each week, is a mom with a camera who loves photographing her family, and she always has a clever and unique introduction to her show. I enjoy her podcast because, well, I have a family. I love making great photos of them, and this podcast helps me do that. 

TWIP-Family is released every Tuesday, and each week Jenny interviews a photographer who may be a pro, but is often an enthusiast to gain an insightful look into their world with how it relates to family photography. One thing her guests all have in common is making great photographs, regardless of whether they get paid or not. 

I began listening to this podcast since episode one, and since the beginning Jenny has mentioned that she participated in a yearlong "365 Project" with her brother and some friends a few years ago. She talks about 365 projects so much that I decided to start my own at the beginning of this year. Jenny has a TWIP-Family Flickr group for her listeners to share their daily photos, and as of this writing I have about 100 days left until the end of the year and the end of my project. It's been a long one, but one I'm glad I am doing.

This podcast is done in a casual conversation style, and most of her guests are great. Like episodes of all podcasts, some are better than others, but overall I've learned a lot about photographing my kids, my family, and people in general. The show is light on gear talk, moderate on the business side of things, but always informative on various techniques often bringing in the human side of photography. 

Too many photography podcasts, websites, and blogs miss that point. After all, photography involves people. It isn't necessarily about how you look, but how you feel. It's important to remember that the camera sees both ways. It not only captures an image of someone with emotions, but it shows what the photographer saw, it expresses how he or she felt about their subject, and can represent the mood the photographer was in.  Even if a person is not in the frame the photographer is. Each week I look forward to this podcast and it's varying topics around family photography.

This Week In Photo - Street Focus

Bonjour! Here is a third podcast from the TWIP network. Valérie Jardin, the host, is a French street photographer who lives in Minneapolis, MN.  She often engages in a bit of humble bragging when she tells her listeners how she is jet lagged from her world travels, or how she missed a photography show because she was in Paris. Life is rough, I understand. 

Aside from that minor annoyance, Valérie has wonderful guests with insightful thoughts about how to make great street photos. She produces two types of episodes. The first is the type I enjoy. She will interview guests who discuss the principles of street photography with tips and strategies about making great street photos. 

She produces another type of show where she interviews photographers who discusses street photography in some specific city of the world. I usually don't listen to those episodes because I don't find them relevant. I suppose if you live in the city they are talking about, or if you plan to visit that particular city it makes sense to listen. Otherwise I don't find it interesting because I'm not familiar with those cities and feel lost in the conversation.

One thing I would recommend is to record the 'Streets of the World' episodes in a video format. Since photography is a visual medium it would make sense to show photos of the city they are discussing and it would be more engaging if you could see what they were talking about. Street Focus is released on Thursday's. 

One thing most photography podcasts have in common is promoting their workshops, books, print sales, photo walk meet-ups, Patreon campaigns, or whatever. I understand they have a business, and want to make money, but when you listen week after week their ads get old. Unfortunately, like television and radio, these annoyances are the price of free content. Otherwise paying a subscription to listen would surely impact their audience size, and they may not exist otherwise.

I listen to too many photography podcasts to give them all a comprehensive review in one article. I'll round out my list next week, but in the meantime I'd like to hear about the photography podcasts you enjoy.

Update: Two days after this article published Valérie Jardin announced that her show is ending. Great timing, eh? She had a 104 episode run, but she is not hanging up podcasting, however. Rather, she is moving her show to her own website calling it Hit the Streets with Valérie Jardin.  She indicated on her last episode of Street Focus that her format will change a bit. After I listen to a number of episodes I'll update my review of her podcast. 

Frederik Van Johnson, on this past week's TWIP episode, indicated that Street Focus will continue with a new host. I'm curious, and looking forward to how it will be.