Shooting for the Cover

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Issue #6 of Lightroom Magazine is now available – and that’s my photo of Horseshoe Bend in Arizona on the cover. How cool is that? 😉 Inside, you’ll also find my article on using the Lens Corrections panel – alongside articles by some great photographers – including Matt KloskowskiSean McCormackBrian MatiashPete CollinsScott Kelby, and more.

Click here to get the Lightroom Magazine app!

So – how do you go about getting a cover-worthy photo? Here are a few quick tips:

1. Impact – Remember, the cover of a magazine is designed to help sell copies. The design and marketing departments are looking to make a splash, grab people’s attention – and most of all, make a sale. That means they’re looking for images that really pop. In this case, the burst of sun over the river bend is a real attention-grabber.

2. Copy Space – But keep in mind that Magazine covers are never all about the cover photo. The image is the attention grabber – but a potential buyer probably won’t buy the magazine for the cover photo alone. Designers want to splash the titles of interesting articles across the cover – along with the title of the magazine and a tagline, the issue number and date, and maybe a few inset photos too.

3. Minimize Distractions – Designing a cover that includes all that “stuff” can be pretty difficult. There’s the potential for some serious clutter – which can actually turn a buyer away. So, designers look for a photo that doesn’t include a lot of distractions. Simple compositions that are free of distracting extras work best.

4. Shoot Vertical – In this case, the design team at Kelby Media Group decided to crop a horizontal image for the cover, but it’s usually a good idea to take both horizontal and vertical shots of a scene like this. Horizontal shots are great for calendars and web-based media. Vertical shots are best the front cover of a magzine.

Do you have any more advice for photographers hoping to land a magazine cover? Please feel free to share a comment with us and our readers!


About Author Varina Patel

There is nothing more remarkable to me than the power of nature. It is both cataclysmic and subtle. Slow and continuous erosion by water and wind can create landscapes every bit as astonishing as those shaped by catastrophic events – and minuscule details can be as breathtaking as grand vistas that stretch from one horizon to the other. Nature is incredibly diverse. Burning desert sands and mossy riverbanks… Brilliant sunbeams and fading alpenglow… Silent snowfall and raging summer storms… Each offers a unique opportunity. I am irresistibly drawn to the challenge of finding my next photograph, and mastering the skills required to capture it effectively.