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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Picture title, is it important?...OK, so how important is the title you're giving a shot? I used to spend time thinking about what I ...
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Old 27-02-2007, 07:49   #1 (permalink)
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Picture title, is it important?

OK, so how important is the title you're giving a shot?

I used to spend time thinking about what I was going to title my shots because, a bit like a border, it was something that was part of the whole. Must admit that nowadays I don't give nearly so much time to either; the title is just a label and has absolutely no effect on the image - and a border is just to seperate the image from the surrounding web page

Do think that poor borders can detract from the pic, but a "wrong" title? No such thing as wrong!
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Old 27-02-2007, 08:53   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Picture title, is it important?

Sometime the title will give the viewer an insight into what the photographer was trying to convey, although in most cases this will be obvious. I know on a few images I have read the title and then had to look really closely to find the connection with the image.
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Old 27-02-2007, 09:02   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Picture title, is it important?

Yeah, do think that a title can add something (tho' there is plenty of space for a description!). Personally, I love an image with a story, so I do tend to incorporate the title into that story.
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Old 27-02-2007, 09:25   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Picture title, is it important?

In Photo Comps the title seems to be important to some judges . By clever wording you can influence how a person views a shot, so it's always worth taking a little time to get it right IMHO.
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Old 27-02-2007, 18:59   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Picture title, is it important?

I think it can be important if you had a specific thing in mind you wanted to convey, but what I don't like is when people post 'snaps' and things like that and give them really pretentious titles, then I think it's not worth the effort.
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Old 27-02-2007, 20:15   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Picture title, is it important?

If you enter national or international competitions it is unlikely that the judge(s) will be aware of the title initially. I recently watched a judge (international standard) judging our Camera Club Exhibition and he looked at each picture for about 1 second placing about 10% into a pile for further review but 90% rejected outright. He then went through the 10% and spent a little more time and gave awards to many of them. He only asked for the title very occassionally.

I also used to spend some time thinking of a title but now use the first thing I think of as I am not convinced that it makes much difference. If the subject is so subtle that it needs a title to explain it, then it will be lost in the speed of most judging.

As for mounting, it is better not to use bright colours that may detract from your photograph.
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Old 28-02-2007, 15:52   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Picture title, is it important?

Titles CAN be useful if the artist has planned and taken the picture with a specific idea in mind. However, I actually entered a picture in a club comp with the title 'I See No Ships', had my wife gazing out into the sea, was pin sharp, proportioned properly, good lighting and shadow detail so guess what the judge said....

'Hmmm, I think this could do with a ship in this empty space....'

DOH! Why the hell do you think it's called 'I See No Ships'? you dough brain! Sadly some judges don't deserve the time of day as they are useless. Others are superb, show insight and awareness into what the photographer has achieved, what they could have done to improve and so forth. I get sick of judges who in the same competition say 'Yes, I like the tone and composition here, it fits well.... 7 out of 10' and a few minutes later say 'Well, I can see what you have tried to achieve but it hasn't really worked.... 8 out of 10!'

Anyway, back to the titling, I know some who believe that if your picture needs a title it has failed but I do not agree at all. Some titles are obvious and don't need stating and I definitely agree that it is stupid to have a picture of colourful peppers on a market stall and title it 'Peppers on a Market Stall' as surely the picture should show that without any problem. However, if this is a close-up abstract shot then the title might be fine or if the title is something like 'Spicy Take-away' or something then that is ok. Likewise if an image is wanting to convey a specific feel then the title can help to direct the viewer to see what you wanted them to see. A hovering Sparrow-hawk with the title 'The Search for A Meal' focuses our attention on both the bird and what it is doing. I will not be that worried about the dark tree over in the left hand corner if it is not interfering with the main focus of the picture, despite perhaps being less than technically perfect.

So yes, titles CAN be very helpful but should not be considered essential for every picture.

Frames can most certainly be distracting and not just because they are complicated. It can be that it is a thin frame but in a clashing colour that jars with the main tone of the picture. There is little point in having a warm-toned portrait of a couple sitting in the light of a blazing log fire all cosy and romantic and then framing it with a cold ice-blue frame. It's always a good idea to either pick up a colour from the picture itself or use the colour wheel to choose a complementary colour to balance it.

Ok, just a couple of thoughts there, hope they offer something productive to the debate. By the way, I am not being harsh on judges nor disrespectful to them, I am a judge myself. But bad judges give us all a bad name and cause resentment and discouragement to people who are enthusiastically trying to improve their skills. That is NOT what the judge is there for IMHO.

Cheers,
Rob
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