We uncover the meaning of the term, editorial

What is an editorial and what’s editorial photography? Is there even a difference? Editorial (ed·i·to·ri·al) is a hard term to grasp for some. However, its actual meaning is simple. The difficulty arises due to its usage across media types. For example, the term editorial describes written pieces as well as fashion focused imagery. The concept of an editorial implies that it is an opinion piece, typically written. Therefore to avoid confusion when discussing other mediums, particularly fashion photography, the term fashion editorial or editorial photography is common.

What is an Editorial Dianna Vreeland - The Dapifer

courtesy Vogue “The Snow Country” Diana Vreeland

Historically, editorials appeared in top magazines and periodicals as opinion pieces. Popular titles such as the New York Times and Time magazine would routinely release articles aimed at the social climate of the time. As more publishers entered the market, the term became commonplace and conversely lost much of its meaning. In addition to written editorials, fashion magazines adapted to term to define editorial photography. These fashion stories were the magazine’s way of taking the reader on a journey. Editors like Vogue’s Dianne Vreeland brought the idea to life. Vreeland would send editors to exotic locations such as India and China to capture scenic editorial photography.

What is an Editorial - The Dapifer

Beauty Editorial via Vogue Paris

What is an Editorial Alexander McQueen - The Dapifer

Today, fashion and media professionals alike tend to refer to all fashion photography as editorials. Conversely, all fashion stories within the pages of a magazine are referred to as fashion editorials. The term also has other compound types. These other editorial types include: high fashion editorials and beauty editorials. High fashion editorial implies that the clothing used is from a “high-fashion” or “couture brand”. These pieces are typically very expensive and handmade by fashion houses. Beauty editorials may include fashion, but the primary focus is instead on hair and makeup. These editorials focus on beauty trends and often time accessories such as sunglasses or jewelry.