Photographic composition for posters, flyers and front covers

Continuing yesterday’s theme, (twelve top tips for shooting flyers, front covers and posters)  I thought it would be helpful to give you some examples. So here’s a quick – and fairly arbitrary – whizz through the internets and a few quotes from my favourite designer, Gavin Ives.


Wow! What a stunning image! Gives me the shivers. And the designer has added to the impact. Serious literary and photographic history here too.


‘I need a good bleed and fiddling space around the image given, so that I can try different crops, or portrait and landscape options’  Gavin Ives

A lovely and very professional photographic image that the designer has tweaked. It doesn’t say much about being late, but it says a lot about sparkling optimistic efficiency. This flyer shows how playing with the overall exposure and really composing for the flyer matters (see my previous post).


Beautifully shot (and cldearly set up) this image has a clear message, lots of space for text, logos and bleed and a huge impact. So much so that you don’t need to speak French to understand it.


‘Images for posters need a clear subject. One clear image. I don’t want a cluttered mess. They are also better if they have a restricted colour palette’ Gavin Ives


Here’s somethign a little different. Pin sharp single-subject photography with loads of space, vignetting (which, from its look, was done by the designer, but could be done in-camera) and beautiful light


Another seriously great front cover. The story is clear, the subject matter strong, all the technical stuff is great and there is lots more space that the designer choose not to use




This one works well. The negative space between the sway of the model’s neck and the photographer gives great space for the words and adds beautifully to the composition. The colour pallette is great and the implied leading lines send your eyes straight to the photographer in the background


‘Lots of photos don’t have clear space to add the text, logos and graphics etc.’  Gavin Ives


A lovely image with lots of space for the designer to play with and a limited colour palette


This image, while quite complex, leaves enough room for the desginer to play with. The colour palette helps, as does the compsition. It’s a great example of how an image doesn’t need to be really simple to work on a cover or flyer.


Lovely light, isn’t it! And this would make a great stand-alone image. I get the feeling that the designer struggled quite a bit with this design. It feels really busy and I’ll be that’s because the photograph wasn’t taken with a front cover in mind.

What can I say.. the poor designer has done his or her best with this image but it’s overexposed, there’s no space for anything and it’s not even complimentary to the dancers

And here are some other images to think through.


This makes me feel that the designer has had to move things around to provide space for words and images. The blurriness of the woman dancer diverts your attention away from the message. I’m not sure what the photographer was after (if anything) and feel that I might get a headache if I look at this for too long!


This works well. The image is simple but atmospheric and speaks directly to the target market. I think the designer has had fun using the space provided by the composition.


I look forward to your comments!