Editorial photography – what is it?

In short, editorial photographs are attached to editorial stories. They support accompanying text and can cover a wide range of subjects from portraits, landscapes, objects, architecture, to fashion. The photographs are primarily designed to go along with editorial articles and are used to illustrate or enhance the article written.

Editorial Photography Portrait of Man Laughing in Royal Mail Uniform© Paul Worpole Photography

Editorial Photography of Woman with Baby in arms © Paul Worpole PhotographyEditorial Photography of Darts Player © Paul Worpole Photography

Fast paced world…
Let’s face it, one of the biggest challenges today is grabbing someone’s attention it in our fast paced, mobile-phone obsessed world is getting tougher by the day. It’s far too easy to swipe to the next story, however, a strong, well composed image can really make a difference!

Woman scientist in Lancaster University © Paul Worpole Photography

As humans we are all “hard wired“ to react to images, particularly human faces, and a striking editorial image will certainly capture a reader’s attention enough to pull them through the story.

Editorial Photography Four Portraits of Man © Paul Worpole Photography

Weaving a visual tale…
Commissioned by magazines, an editorial photograph should evoke a feeling or concept and be able stand on its own without any explanation of the article.

Editorial Photography Portrait of Man next to large ice cream cones © Paul Worpole Photography

Supporting the written word…
Composition wise, you need to leave enough breathing space for the words or quotes to be added, be that the title of the magazine and / or text of the story.

Editorial Photography Portrait of two women kissing © Paul Worpole Photography

Strong brief always works…
Having a strong brief, with mood board and examples of what’s expected, can really cut down on shooting time and focus the story.
It primes the photographer and allows them to think of some alternatives dependent on backgrounds, time available and, if it’s outside, – the weather!

Editorial Photography of young boy on couch with plimsolls © Paul Worpole Photography

Editorial Photography of Girl in Indian Headress looking into Middle Distance © Paul Worpole PhotographyEditorial Photography of Moles hanging on wire fencing © Paul Worpole Photography
Editorial Photography of Stormy Sky over Maize Field © Paul Worpole Photography
Editorial Photography of Herbies Cafe in Lyme Regis © Paul Worpole Photography

Making the best of a situation…
The photographer always does their utmost to get the shots the editor has requested and, in this example, I know they really wanted it shot in a sunny park, showing the family strolling along with their new wheelchair.

Cold and wet…
Sadly this was February and the reality on the day was freezing weather and drizzling rain. With the best will in the world, this wouldn’t have made a great experience for anyone!
As an example; the image of the family in the bowling alley was the back-up alternative on the day.

Editorial Photography of Boy in Wheelchair at Bowling alley © Paul Worpole Photography

Creative freedom…
Once the brief has been completed and, if there’s enough time left, it can be useful to try something a little more creative; some alternative lighting and different angles. Invariably these images really work because a bond has been established, everyone is a little more relaxed and it’s much more of a team effort!

Editorial Photography of man spraying in spray booth © Paul Worpole Photography

Editorial Photography of woman chemist standing in front of bottles© Paul Worpole Photography
Editorial Photography Portrait of Woman Scientist outside University © Paul Worpole Photography

Top seven tips for successful editorial photography…
1. A strong, well defined brief reduces shooting time dramatically and allows for alternative shots on the day.
2. Always chat direct to the editor of the piece to establish what the story will be. Invariably, this uncovers other creative ideas.
3. See what previous work has been done re the layout of a magazine. This is really important for front covers to allow for titles and establishes the feel and expectations of its readers.
4. Check out online to see where the location will be for any interesting backdrops. Google street maps is excellent for this and can provide so much information prior to the shoot.
5. Get to the location early. 
6. Do have a plan B for outside locations due to bad weather.
7. Make sure the people involved in the photograph what’s expected in both time and effort on the day.

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