For ESSENCE, department head photos are usually one full page with other elements lying on top of the image. The image is usually of a person that exemplifies the theme for the section or what it is about. The person in the photo is usually a photo from knee up or a medium length photo.
For sections such as beauty and hair, there are a lot of photos on a page, arranged in the form of a collage. The photos are usually on a white background and mostly likely were cut out from Photoshop. Sometimes the cut out photos are arranged around a photo of a model or a photo with a background.
There are fashion features that span a whole spread (or two pages). Usually this photo takes over the whole spread and is a mixture of landscape and the model. They’re usually compelling, high fashion-like photos.
For the opening spread of the cover story, it’s the same. The photo usually spreads across the two pages and combines the focus of the photo with landscape. For photos that are part of the cover story that aren’t a part of the opening spread, they lay on a single full-bleed page, next to a page of text.
Illustration is used sparingly in ESSENCE. It’s used in smaller, “less significant” written pieces. Illustrations are usually used in terms of symbolism. I also think that illustration is used for smaller stories so that readers won’t get overwhelmed with so many photos, but also to limit the usage of stock images. I think illustrations add personality to the smaller pieces and make them more friendly and approachable to read.