One of the first things I noticed when I picked up Fast Company, was their penchant for blown-up and tight use of photography. While this usage obviously varies across the magazine, they do use it a lot when introducing feature stories, and in their content section.
When it comes to their image style, I’ve noticed that they tend to use a light/color bleed in their photographs when they’re about people. Since Fast Company tends to feature a lot of entrepreneurs and business people, most of their spreads feature this colorful-light-bleed style. I’ve also noticed that the people are always photographed in up-close shots, with the rare exception. They’re usually headshots, or medium shots with them looking off to the side. I think this works because they’re promoting a sense of closeness to a person. Aside from those spreads that showcase a lot of people at once, I noticed that they usually don’t use any more than three images in a spread. And when they do, its illustrations, or little images serving as part of an infographic. This way they’re making good use of white space.
In my issue I didn’t run across a single image that was cropped in a circular form. Fast Company always features images in a square or rectangular format. When they don’t feature images, they make a good balance of featuring illustrations as well. All illustrations adhere to the same style: dominant an attention-grabbing on the page.
All of the stories in the magazine have at least one image that corresponds to them. If anything, most of them just have one image, which I think is pretty particular. They certainly let the text speak for itself a lot of the times, and keep their readers guessing. Since the images are usually blow-out and cover the whole page, type is obviously put directly on the image. For those images that are smaller, they have captions attached to them inside the image as well.