Photo Story | National Geographic Layout Analysis

This particular photo story is from a ‘Special Investigation’ issue of National Geographic. Researchers placed GPS devices inside of fake tusks and then tracked where they were being sent to.

This is the title page:

  • The title has been written in large, bold, white font which stands out well against the darker brick wall behind it. The text is slightly translucent meaning some of the lines on the wall are visible through the text.
  • The tile has been placed in the negative space of the image. There are two other powerful elements to the photo, the ranger and the large pile of tusks he is sat beside.
  • Underneath the title of the article is the subtitle, in italics, which very briefly summarises what the article covers and then underneath that are the words ‘Special Investigation’ written in capitals. All of this text is placed in the negative space on the left page.
  • On the right hand side of the page is the photo caption which fits into the small amount of negative space in the top corner, next to the ranger’s face. The caption is quite long, at around 50 words.
  • It looks as though this image was taken with the intention of providing negative space and has been carefully selected for the introduction the the article.
  • It works well as an opening image because it provides context to the article. The large pile of seized tusks is shocking to look at, and the ranger’s facial expression sets the mood. The fact he is also holding a gun and making eye contact with the camera is quite threatening.
  • The image is full bleed.


Following on from the tile page are two more full bleed photos. In this one, of the rangers in training, the caption has been placed in the top left corner in the negative space that is the sky. img_0002

I think that this photo works particularly well as a full bleed image because it makes the viewer wonder what is going on outside of the frame and what the subject in the foreground is looking at. The photo has been taken at eye level with the subject with the camera not far from the water, which makes for a dramatic image. img_0003

This is where the article  actually begins. The writing takes up three quarters of the page, split into two columns on each page. There is a shocking photograph of poached animal remains in the top left quarter of the page, bleeding into the top right corner. There is quite a bit of  white space left above the caption of the image, as well as below it where the photo credit has been given. This could have been done to provide some sort of frame for the photograph. img_0004

Another full bleed, double page photo follows on from this page:img_0005

After this there are two maps which depict where the ivory has been tracked:img_0006

This is the first page in the article that contains two separate photos. Both are placed in the top half of the pages. The one of the woman is smaller and has quite a bit of white space around it. Whereas the one of the man and the soldier takes up the top half of the right page, bleeding all the way to the edge of the page and then slightly onto the left page. The bottom halves of the pages are filled with text. img_0007

Another full bleed, double page spread of a shocking image of a woman who’s nose, lips and ears were cut off by a member of the LRA. I think that this kind of image is so powerful that it is important that it is a full page image. img_0008

This is the first full page of text with no images to accompany it. The paragraphs have been broken up by titles written in bold. There has also been a quote selected which has been separated from the main body of text, enlarged and italicised. This is to catch the eye of the reader and make them want to read the rest of the article. img_0009

Another full bleed photo follows on from the full page of text:img_0010

Another double page spread of text with a large quote:img_0011

Similar layout to one of the earlier pages but the images are on opposite sides:img_0012

As the reader comes towards the end of the photo story this photo has been chosen as the last full bleed, double page image. I think this one has been deliberately chosen because it suggests that things might be looking up. It depicts a newborn calf with it’s mother. The caption explains that ‘thanks to stepped up enforcement, the park hasn’t  lost an elephant to poachers since 2012, the elephants started breeding again, and more than 40 calves have been born.’img_0013

The last images in the photo story show 6 of the rangers who have been killed by elephant poachers in the smaller photograph and one who was shot but survived on the right page. img_0014

The final pages are filled with text and a quote. The two portraits at the bottom of the page are of the writer and photojournalist along with a small amount of information about them. img_0015


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