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A Zine is a self published piece of work that is produced in a magazine format. Zines enjoyed a huge wave of popularity in the 1980s and 1990s however since the introduction of the internet they have somewhat faded into the background. In the early days of the internet platforms such as MySpace and Blogspot seemed to steal their thunder however more recently they have seen something of a revival.
The word ‘zine’ is an abbreviation of the word ‘magazine’ and originated in the 1960s and refers to a homemade magazine or publication. Early examples played a major role in the American Counterculture scene and often published poetry, photography and short stories. These self curated pieces of artwork are highly individualized and were later extremely collectible.
What is a Photography Zine? How Long Should it be?
A Zine can be a physically published magazine or, in the modern digital age, can be produced in a virtual format. A photography zine is designed to display photography, stories about the photographer and short documentary pieces. A zine can be any length from about 8 pages upwards while a larger zine could be as many as 100 pages! As a general rule a zine will be on the shorter side however rules are there to be broken!
A zine presents you with a unique way to express yourself and create something special. The truth is that the only limit to what you can put in your zine is your own imagination! It’s a fantastically broad format that can be adapted to suit almost any project or genre in photography.
Top Photography Zine Ideas.
- A monthly collection of the best photos you’ve taken. Like an ongoing portfolio this is a great way to bring your best work together in a collectible format.
- Themed zines that focus on specific areas of your work.
- A Street photography zine – capturing the life of the city streets where you live.
- A Travel Zine. If you’re spending a lot of time travelling you can put together a regular zine to highlight the best moments of your trips.
- Abstract and Minimalist photography zine – get seriously experimental!
- Pet photography zine.
- Urban landscape photography or landscape photography zine.
- Quirky and fun scrapbook format. Selecting the best of your photos, sketches and thoughts and putting them together into a curated self published magazine.
- Still life photography zine.
- A documentary or journal style zine of your life as a photographer.
- A Collaborative Zine that you work on with friends, colleagues or classmates.
Why Should You Create a Photo Zine?
As well as being a fun project to get stuck into, producing your own zine is a great way to market yourself in an extremely unique way. You can really let your personality and artistic vision shine through in the pages of a zine, whether it’s virtual or physical, and your fans will treasure these and the attention to detail that you inculcate it with.
Most people produce zines for the simple pleasure of it however a zine can also be used as a unique form of marketing your work and services. If you are putting on an exhibition for example, you can promote yourself by selling a zine at the show. Alternatively, you can advertise on line and create zines on a ‘print by order’ basis. Zines also make wonderful gifts for friends, family and loved ones and is something that they will treasure forever!
Quirky definitely works but so does carefully crafted design work.
A zine can be as messy as a scrap book or as neat as a professionally published magazine. Decide upon the type of overall style you want to achieve before you start out and work to create a zine that fully reflects your artistic vision and what you want to express to your audience and followers.
Print Versus Digital Photography Zine.
A zine can be created in either a physical print form or as a digital, virtual magazine. There are pros of cons of either approach and so the choice will ultimately be in your hands.
A printed zine will always be more precious than a digital copy because it can be held in the hands, read and kept somewhere safe. Despite the prevalence of digital media in the modern world people still love to have a copy in their hands, particularly if it is a beautiful piece of art work like a photography zine. Flicking through the pages of a printed, or even hand made, zine is a more rewarding experience than viewing the same work in a digital format.
However, if you are aiming to, or have, a large audience then it may not be practical to hand make enough copies in which case a digital format might be more suitable. You can still of course use publishing companies to print out physical copies for you if you need to reach a large audience. This will inevitably take away from the ‘home made’ feel of the zine but these are considerations that you will need to take into account. One solution to this is that you can also produce special hand made copies which you could market at a much higher price for collectors and the more dedicated and serious fans of yours!
A digital copy of your zine can be a fantastic marketing tool on social media and other online platforms. Producing a zine each month, or quarterly, will add great value to your audiences and help you to show your personality, interests and the more quirky side of your creativity.
Should You Include Text in Your Photography Zine?
This is a stylistic choice that is really up to you! A photography zine could simply be a collection of photos in a fairly logical order but you can add an extra layer of interest to the zine by incorporating text within it.
You could write captions under the photos to help your readers understand more about the meanings behind them or you could write up short stories about how they came about.
Describing the photos in your own voice will help you audience get to know you and help them build up stronger bonds of trust and understanding with your brand. You can explain why you chose to include a certain picture, why it means a lot to you or how it links to other work that you have done.
You could describe who the people in photos are and where the photo was taken. If you were, for instance, producing a zine about street photography, you could tell the stories of the street vendors in the photos. You could include descriptions of what caught your eye about a particular photo or how you ended up being in that place at the right moment to get the shot!
Generally speaking though you will want to keep the text fairly brief and to the point. You want the emphasis of your photography zine to be on the photos themselves so keep the text in context and quite short.
Top Benefits of a Photography Zine.
- Lets you connect with your audience and fans in an intimate, unique and memorable way.
- Fantastic way to promote your work and philosophy in an interesting and creative manner.
- Helps you build up your reputation and improves brand awareness for the work you are doing.
- A Photography Zine is an awesome business card that you can hand out to potential clients and customers.
- A popular photography zine can become a helpful side income stream.
- Saves your work and archives it in a physical form if you print the zine out.
- A brilliant addition to your online social media and website presence.
Photography Zines are a Great Way to Build Your Brand Image and Connect with Your Audience.
A photography zine is a great project to take on in order to really reach out to people who are following your work. There are so many topics and themes that you could use in your photography zine that there is literally no limit to what you could do. This fun, unique and quirky style of production is a wonderful way to stand out from other photographers, express yourself and meaningfully collaborate with other creatives.
Have you created a photography zine before?