What is an editorial spread?

Editorial photography or editorial publications often don’t sell a product, they sell a story or narrative. This is often achieved through the use of a theme or title to follow, such as the photographing of a particular clothing collection, or the use of a particular ingredient in a series of recipes.

Depending on what kind of editorial the spread is, the number of images may change. If a farm has many kinds of produce, they all may need to be represented, leading to more images being shown. Most editorials however seem to have a main image, with other smaller images around them. This helps to establish the content straight away.

The incorporation of text is something to consider as editorial spreads are used in magazines, newspapers and online. The layout is important and an image may have to be framed or cropped in such a way that space is available should the text be required to overlay the photographs. The images also need to be versatile in case they need to be moved for text . An image is unlikely to work within a publication if there is only one conceivable way to ensure it is being used to it’s full potential.crystal-cartier-vegetarian-times-food-still-life

This image by Crystal Cartier for the Vegetarian Times demonstrates how framing is important, the plain background areas providing more than enough space for easily read and well spaced text.

Shooting and editing the images in the same way is vital, as this will help to link images together, especially if they don’t at first glance seem to be linked, for example, a wide angle landscape image and a close-up, overhead food image. To ensure the images tell a story, the colours should be similar, to invoke the same  feeling. An image with a low key lighting and a blue cast will provide a different emotion than one with high key lighting and a yellow cast.


This spread by Iain Bagwell  for Cooking Light demonstrates good use of the same colour palette with lots of fresh colours, lots of green. This relates to the subject of the spread as it is all about vegetarian meals. The images also have a typology feel to them as they are all framed the same way with minimal background interference. These images also show how a main image is used, with supporting images on the next page. The smaller images don’t fill the entire page, leaving space in the centre for a sub-heading . The other text is also used cleverly, being very minimal and following the curves within the photographs so as to not detract from the food itself.


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