Saturday, 12 January 2013

Assignment 4: Magazine cover musings

I have been thinking more about Assignment 4, which is my next challenge. I was in the Post Office picking up my new GorillaPod Tripod for our road-trip (more on that another post) and I had a few spare minutes to browse the magazine section. I can hardly believe that there are so many different types of magazines! I have never been a magazine person, only generally buying one on holidays, and haven't done that for a long time! I now buy digital mags occasionally, and subscribe to some Photography related magazines but almost never look at them otherwise (except at the hairdresser!).

So below are the types of magazines I may be interested in creating a cover for:

  • Caravan/camping magazine
  • General travel magazine (for example Lonely Planet)
  • Organic Gardening
  • Gardening Australia
  • Kids/Toddlers
  • Pregnancy
  • Sport/fitness/health (Womens)
  • Cooking
  • Technology
  • Art/Design
  • National Geographic
  • Science

Thinking about what sells magazines. The cover must be attractive, simple and make people want to buy the magazine!! That is the main aim of the cover. For example, the food/produce must look good enough to eat, the people attractive, beautiful (yet attainably so?) and generally both must be 'blemish-free'. For the technology, it has to look interesting/colourful yet nerdy and complicated. The Art/Design category has to be perfect - lines/shapes and everything totally in order. The travel images need to make people want to hop on plane/boat/car to get there, taken in perfect weather and with everything 'just-so'.

After thinking about the above paragraph, I can certainly see why Photoshop (or equivalent)  is a must for creating a cover. It is simply very difficult to create that kind of perfection in camera, particularly when dealing with food/people/fruit/vegetables/other objects. So even if it's a bit of touch-up here and there with the spot tool, or removing whole elements to simplify the scene and focus on the subject, it is almost necessary (and probably assumed by most people that it happens) to create a successful cover. A carefully set up still life might fit the bill for an image that needs very little touch-up, but that would be quite challenging.

I've seen a video before showing how images are taken for advertising, for example, a burger for one of the big chains. It is cooked, then assembled in front of the camera and lots of images taken during the process. Sauce and mustard are syringed in place and a blow-torch used to very carefully melt the cheese in all the right places. It required a team of at least 10 people just to get a good image. That certainly explains why the image on the package never looks anything like the squashed, assembled in a hurry item in the box! And that doesn't even consider the various post-processing routines that certainly take place. I think it's common with food advertising that multiple images are taken and then combined afterwards, rather like the Addition exercise. We had some photos taken of our house to sell it, and the photographer took multiple images of each room, pointing the flash in different places and with different exposures to get the windows right and then the inside right, and he said he then combined them in post, so it's a pretty common technique now.

So now I've had a good think about what sort of magazine cover I would be interested in photographing, now I need to actually think about what to capture. I am leaning towards the Organic Gardening area - this is a personal area of interest, and with the farm over the road there are lots of willing people who may be able to help out with posing etc. There are chickens too who may be happy to photographed! A search on 'organic garden magazine' on google images comes up with some good ideas!

I'm thinking:

  • healthy plants
  • tasty looking produce
  • worn hands or gloves
  • well used sturdy garden equipment
  • happy chickens
  • still life with some good looking produce (with stalks on?)
  • fruit growing on trees
  • Heirloom fruit/veg (tomatoes and zucchini are the most common)
  • some rare kinds of fruit/veg
  • An actual, beautiful garden - trees/plants/paths/pond/buildings
  • fruit in a bowl/cloth bag/basket
  • herbs/spices - bundles on a wooden table
  • sunflowers
  • hands on plants - shows that it's 'home-grown'
  • person holding happy chook
  • sliced fruit/tomatoes
  • colour/shape very important
  • bowl of berries

I need to try taking some photos now and then see what we've got that's suitable for a starting image(s).



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