Magazine Selection Assignment



Objective: Learn what constitutes good photography in publications. Editors of magazines (and newspapers) cull through hundreds, maybe even thousands, of photos to pick the one they use in an ad or cover story of a magazine. So, in looking through a magazine, you are looking at the best of the best.




Roll #                                                                                                                                                   Student's Name, Period #

                                                                                                                                                                            Source of sample


On the 3rd Wednesday of each 6 weeks, you will be required to submit TWO (2) ONE (1) sample illustrations from periodicals or publications that fit the following criteria for selection and submission. Click on the image to the right for a full size sample.

  1. Two ways to submit:

    1. Digital - NEW WAY - Email your sample - Your email should look nearly identical to mine.

      1. Take a picture of the subject in print somewhere. i.e. a magazine in a store, or at a restaurant, doctors office, a photo on the wall (Jason's Deli, McDonalds, Whataburger, Baptist Hospital, etc.). Make sure the picture if of good quality...not to glary, etc.

        1. REPEAT: The image you submit must be a PUBLISHED photo...not a photo YOU took.

      2. The title of the email should be  Mag Selection TOPIC Name, Your #WBPeriod            Ex.           Mag Selection Thirds, Smith, John #WB3

      3. State the source of the image (what is the name of the periodical).  Remember this has to come from a periodical or something that is published...don't just take a picture of your pet. This is an assignment to cull through what is used in PRINTED materials...not if you can download something off the internet or to see if you can SHOOT for the subject.

      4. Description in the body...see #3 below regarding the use of 15 words or less./


      6. Do NOT forward your email to another student to use your sample. Let them find their own, etc.

      7. Sample email:

    2. Analog - OLD WAY - Cut your sample out

      1. The sample must be mounted neatly, preferably using a glue stick on 1 sheet of an 8 1/2 by 11 inch piece of unlined, 20lb white copy paper. The glue should not be excessive such that it is noticeable. You may also use MASKING TAPE. Make sure that the tape is taped from behind (4 small little rolls of tape) so the tape can not be seen from the front. Paper will be provide a couple of days before the assignment, but NOT ON and/or AFTER the due date.

      2. Your Name, Period # and source must be written in the upper right hand corner. The computer # must be in the upper left corner. Five (-5) points will be deducted if not exactly correct. This includes if you put my name instead of your name, or for any lack of neatness.

      3. The samples must be at least 4"x 4" inches, not exceeding 8"x 9.5" in each direction. Sources are available upon request so that any student who does not have magazines or newspapers at home will have ample magazines available to them to take home to search through.

      4. The print cannot be cut out of a book, nor can the pictures be from a photography magazine, such as Popular Photography, Outdoor Photography, or American Photo, or copy and pasted from the Internet. Illustrations from brochures are acceptable. The example should be a photo...not a graphic illustration (i.e. a frame is added at the computer level) nor a cartoon.

      5. Fill out a magazine grader slip in advance of the due date. DO NOT GLUE/TAPE THE GRADER DOWN.

      6. The mounted samples must be placed in a plastic sheet protector so that each sample is facing outward. Place you best/favorite example facing forward. See supplies for the correct sheet protector to avoid a deduction in points.

      7. Use a Sharpie to label the sheet protector. Do NOT put "Open End" or an arrow on your paper...DUH!!!" Yours should look exactly like mine, including the spine info with a sharpie....except Do NOT put my name. And do NOT glue/tape down the grader slip (people really have done this).

  2. The samples must be of suitable subject matter. Any print deemed unacceptable will not count.

  3. In fifteen words or less, neatly write in black ink (ball point sharpie or roller ball) below the print your reasons for choosing each sample. Be specific; tell what in the example makes it exemplify the topic (identify the topic in the description). Do not use any adjectives such as pretty, good, excellent, nice, bad, etc. Write out what you are going to put on the sheet on a scratch sheet of paper first so that you have no scratch outs or white out. Be sure you use good grammar, correct spelling and punctuation or points will be deducted. [Note: the email sample above is more than 15 words. You do NOT need to be so verbose. Simply state the main reason your sample fits the topic.]

  4. For the 1st 6 weeks, some class time the day before the due date MAY be provided to complete this assignment. Be sure to have your supplies (magazines, glue stick and white paper) with you on this work day. Starting with the 2nd 6 weeks, this project is to be completed OUTSIDE of class time. Work is to be submitted by the time the bell rings on each due date specified. They are considered late when the tardy bell begins to sound. Any late assignments will be penalized. Because this is an extended assignment with much notice, if you are absent on the date the assignment is due, it will be due immediately on the first day you return. After that time, it will be considered late. A late penalty of 20 points will be assessed. If it is more than 2 days late, an additional sample will be required. If it is more than 2 weeks late, two additional samples will be required.

  5. For the 1st 6 weeks, be prepared to discuss one of your samples in front of the class on the due date . If you missed the first Magazine Selection Assignment Class Presentation, please write out all 20 types of Composition.


LATE WORK - IF YOU DO NOT TURN IN YOUR MAGAZINE SELECTION ASSIGNMENT ON TIME, you will need to turn in TWO (2) examples (email or printed).



Six weeks:    Topic:                                         Date due:                                
One                Framing                                          Wednesday,   
Two                Rule of Thirds                                  Wednesday, 3rd week of 6     (may be digital)
Three              Leading Lines                                   Wednesday, 3rd week of 6        "
Four               Specific Center of Interest                 Wednesday, 3rd week of 6        "
Five                Motion Blur (Treatment of motion)  Wednesday, 3rd week of 6        "          Best source of images will be in a sports or automotive magazines or newspapers.
Six                  Unusual Photographic Techniques     Wednesday, 2nd week of 6       "


See Calendar: - Although reminders will be given verbally and on the daily focus, it is the STUDENTS responsibility to keep up with due dates. Work MUST be turned in advance of any school absence. And ON the day of return for any non school related absence (sickness, emergency). Work is due on the specified date. It will only be accepted late for 1 weeks. If you miss the deadline for turning in this homework assignment, or would prefer another type of work, see Extra Work.

Introduction to Composition/Layout Design

It is important to remember that photographs and illustrations are created, not accidentally made up. The designer must use all the resources possible, including the camera, computer, variety of programs, clip art, etc. to develop the best possible illustration. On the photographic side, composition of the image is one of the most important stages in the process of making a design or illustration. Technical knowledge and ability plus elaborate equipment are of limited value unless the finished photograph is useful or is pleasant to look at. The purpose of this assignment is to look at the fundamentals of composition for image acquisition, or photography, many of which transfer over to design composition and layout.

Descriptions of assignment topics:

1. Framing - Artistic works such as paintings, needlepoint, and photographs are enhanced when mounted into frames. These wood, metal, or plastic frames draw attention to their contents. Some frames are better suited for selected artistic works than other frames. Creative talent is useful for good display of artistic work. The same is true for content within the photographic scene. Architecture, landscapes, and seascapes can be highlighted when trees or man made objects are used to create in-picture frames. A photographer needs to take time to look for natural framing. If this is not available, it is often valuable to create some type of frame. The goal posts on a football field can serve as excellent framing for educational activities-football team, band members, cheer-leading squad, and school friends. Framing is done by something around the subject. It is not done so by something like a brick wall or a group of people behind the subject. Framing is also used to prevent mergers.

Photo by Mark M. Hancock/The Enterprise




2. Rule of thirds - To help position the main subject within the photograph, it is useful to divide the rectangular area into thirds. Divide the horizontal distance into three equal spaces with two vertical lines. Also, divide the vertical distance into three equal spaces with two horizontal lines. This gives four points of intersecting lines. These points serve as guides to position the center of interest in the photograph. Any one of the four positioning points gives equal results. It is, though, important to consider the picture content while selecting the position point. The actual lines are not needed, because once this concept is known, it is easy to judge the location of the position points. The photographer should have little trouble in identifying these four points when looking through the camera viewfinder.


Camera View Finder showing various Aspect Ratios (crops):


iPhone - App - Pro HDR Screen shot








3. Leading lines - Many items in a photograph (such as sidewalks, rivers, streams, pathways, and fences) can be used in such a way as to draw your eye along them towards the main subject. Note: The lines can NOT just be lines in or on the back ground. So, if a window shade appears behind a person that is straight on, it is NOT leading is just repetitious lines. If however the shades are at an angle and lead you into a center of interest, then that is leading lines.





4. Specific Center of Interest - The other areas or objects should draw attention to the main subject. The main object in a photograph may stand out because of its color or texture or focus or because of its placement amid the other items in the photograph, but it is quite obvious that the purpose of the photograph was that main object. Also, other people in the image pointing or directing attention to the main subject creates a center of interest. You almost ALWAYS have THREE or more people LOOKING at something. Two people LOOKING at each other are NOT a Specific Center of Interest.


MANY people COMPLETELY miss this magazine assignment topic initially. There will NORMALLY be at least two people...with BOTH them looking at the same item. Two people looking at each other is not a center of interest. Please try to get it right the first time.



Interesting Web Graphic for Vimeo - Each of the following people can be clicked you hovered the mouse, it would cause each of the other graphics to turn toward the person:




Cute...but too many centers of interest...




5. Motion Blur (aka Treatment of Motion) - Motion can be depicted one of two ways. For this assignment, find examples of either of the first technique.

1. Blurred Motion

    a. A moving object can appear to stop in mid-action while the background is a big blur.      

    b. A moving object can streak across the photograph in a big blur while the background stays in SHARP (not blurry).

2. Stop Action: Using a high shutter speed can allow the object to stay in focus along with the background. This third method is called Stop Action. Don't bring this in for the Magazine Selection, but it is a "Treatment of Motion".


See this link for some good examples :


Samples: Can you spot the difference between Blurred Motion and Stop Action?

Here is another interesting link:

Magazine Sample


Student who shot their PDP using this technique:

by Macy Riggs. (West Brook Photo Student '06-08)


Panning...notice how it helps simplify the background by throwing it out of focus.

by Drew Loker (Colorado, 2009-11-24)



6. Unusual photographic techniques - Some examples are micro photography, astrophotography, holograms, and underwater photography. It is not the subject that is unusual, but the technique used in the photograph. Basically, YOU just need to explain the unusual use of photography used.





Extra Credit Work - an alternative to completing the Magazine Selection Assignment.


Can't find a magazine? Keep an eye out for FREE magazines all around the city.