The first thing to consider is the photo for your cover. Do you want the photo to overlap the word TIME? Or do you want to have the photo behind the word TIME?
If your photo is in front of the word TIME then it needs to have a clean background that can be erased or no background (transparent).
If you want the image to be behind the word TIME then you can have a background that compliments the photo or leaves enough space for text.
Use your acting skills as you pose for your photo so that it matches the mood of your story.
Every line in both my designs were separate text boxes that I could size and format separately. In both designs I added a simple text box for the date in the top right corner just as TIME magazine designers would.