Editorial Photography Guidelines / by Renee Farias

Magazine publications, listen up! Today I would like to talk about editorial photography, specifically magazine covers. The image on the cover of a magazine is the selling point for a publication, so it is important that the final product be fantastic. While there is a standard format and process that I recommend you follow, it is still important to have fun with it and let the creative juices flow so that you can have an amazing cover! Continue reading for some guidelines to be mindful of.


Covers are almost always shot vertically. A vertical image fits perfectly on a standard cover page, which usually measures 8 ½ inches by 11 inches. However, it doesn’t hurt to ask your photographer to shoot both horizontally and vertically if you are unsure of the image’s use.  


The ultimate goal is to have a cover photo that stands out to the reader. This is commonly achieved with sharp photographs. Whether you go the intense airbrushing route or the minimal editing one, make sure you are consistent with each edition. That way, you will create a consistent personality and brand identity. 


Have fun with the design aspect! Just be sure to stick to the general brand and theme of the publication. When looking at main publications like Marie Claire and Glamour, you can identify specific styles, fonts and colors they use. For example, Glamour often and purposefully blocks out the “M” in their name with subject’s head. Because this is consistent in each edition, that design element has become a part of their brand. Here are a few more design tips:

·         Font color can differ from previous issues; this difference allows readers to know it is a new edition. Just make sure the variations compliment each other and are consistent with the brand of the publication.

·         The cover should always have a reference point, whether it is the subject, headline, etc.

·         The model should be looking straight at the camera. Eye contact is important; it connects with the reader.

·         Make sure the cover background is simple and non-distracting. You don’t want to draw too much attention away from the text.

In editorial photography, specifically cover photography, you have the opportunity to make a statement and establish brand identity. It is important that you follow the guidelines above, but also have fun and be creative with the process! By getting the right people on your team, you will be able to have a powerful end product that is sure to connect with and draw in more consumers. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a no-obligation consultation, please contact me!