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DPChallenge Forums >> Current Challenge >> The importance of photo title.
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06/15/2006 02:38:30 PM · #1
"The best exposure settings for taking photographs are _____."

That makes about as much sense as saying photos need (or don't need) titles. Some really benefit from one, some don't need one at all, and some are just better or different with one.

These don't really need a title:
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These do:
' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/504/thumb/340823.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/504/thumb/340823.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/29/thumb/4528.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/29/thumb/4528.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/36/thumb/6725.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/36/thumb/6725.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

My top-rated image doesn't really "need" a title in ordinary circumstances, but in the context of that specific challenge I think it really did:
' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/47/thumb/9713.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/47/thumb/9713.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

In these challenges, we were required to title the photo with the song or phrase:
' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/488/thumb/329289.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/488/thumb/329289.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/501/thumb/340228.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/501/thumb/340228.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

On the latest revision of the voting pages, we re-positioned the title to appear below the photograph, specifically to accomodate people who want to look at the photo first.

Message edited by author 2006-06-15 14:39:51.
06/15/2006 02:33:37 PM · #2
Originally posted by cpanaioti:

I'd rather make up my own mind what I'm looking at. ;o)

Ok, I understand that point, and you are perfectly entitled to feel that way.

However, when displaying to an audience, I still think you're better off WITH a title, because people like you in the NO-title camp can easily look a away. If you don't want to be influenced by it, don't bother reading it.

People like me in the yes-title camp, wouldn't have that choice if there IS no title.

I can still make up my own mind about it, but I also like to see what the photographer has to say about it. After all, it IS his or her image, not mine.
06/15/2006 02:31:15 PM · #3
Originally posted by Beetle:

Originally posted by mpeters:


Ouch! See my previous post. ;)

LOL sorry about that *g* However, see MY previous post where I said I do try not to let them influence me tooooooo much!


No offense taken :) The funny thing is, my Chrome entry was an afterthought and i didn't think it would do well enough for me to justify spending any time on the title.
06/15/2006 02:23:42 PM · #4
I'd rather make up my own mind what I'm looking at. ;o)

Finding out what others see in the image can be enlightening. Most won't say what they see if they've already been told what to see, especially if what they see is different.
06/15/2006 02:18:25 PM · #5
Originally posted by mpeters:


Ouch! See my previous post. ;)

LOL sorry about that *g* However, see MY previous post where I said I do try not to let them influence me tooooooo much!
06/15/2006 02:17:05 PM · #6
Originally posted by Beetle:

Originally posted by cpanaioti:

Next time you go to an art gallery or museum take a look at how many have no title. You'd be surprised.

Actually, I have done that. And nearly every time I wondered why there was no title.... was he/she not bright enough to think of one?



Ouch! See my previous post. ;)
06/15/2006 02:16:58 PM · #7
Originally posted by coolhar:

People who don't read the title when voting are doing a disservice to the entering photographers because they are judgeing the entire entry while only looking at part of it.

Guess I'm one of those people doing the photographer a disservice. I rarely read titles and when I do it is to look for reasons to rate an image in question higher or identify it to someone. Like anyone else, I appreciate a clever, creative and/or humourous title but to me it is the picture itself that matters.
06/15/2006 02:12:58 PM · #8
Originally posted by cpanaioti:

Next time you go to an art gallery or museum take a look at how many have no title. You'd be surprised.

Actually, I have done that. And nearly every time I wondered why there was no title.... was he/she not bright enough to think of one?

As always, there is NO pleasing everybody, but somehow I think you might do better to think of a good title than to not bother at all.

Perhaps I'm wrong, perhaps I'm in the minority. I have never seen any reliable statistics on the two camps *shrugs shoulders*
06/15/2006 02:07:47 PM · #9
Titling art and naming children is not the same thing.

Next time you go to an art gallery or museum take a look at how many have no title. You'd be surprised.

Maybe a better choice of word would be 'influenced' rather than 'led'.

To me, having no title is like asking the viewer 'What do YOU see?'.

Message edited by author 2006-06-15 14:11:42.
06/15/2006 02:05:23 PM · #10
Originally posted by cpanaioti:

Those that use leading titles are doing the viewer (and themselves) a disservice. Let the viewer get whatever feeling from the image without being led by the nose.

This is art and everyone see's art differently so why fence them in.

If that is your concern, you can always title your photos in a way that doesn't "lead by the nose".

Not giving any title feels to me - in MY opinion - like laziness, as if you couldn't be bothered to think of a good title.
You wouldn't leave your baby or even your new puppy without a name, so why do it to your photo - a piece of art you are presenting to an audience?

I try not to let the titles influence me TOO much, but I bet they do, anyway. And if I'm sitting on the fence between two scores, the title WILL make the difference.

Using it to shoehorn won't work on me, but good titles DO help.
06/15/2006 02:04:59 PM · #11
I don't think this made sense WITHOUT the title.
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06/15/2006 01:56:16 PM · #12
Originally posted by coolhar:

In the dpc challenge context where you are presented with a title field in which you must enter something at the time you upload your submission, the lack of a title (as in "untitled" or ".") is a statement that is taken as if it were a title. The photog is, in effect, saying "you supply the title", or "use whatever title suits you", or "look at me! I'm different from the rest", or "please consider this image without any additional information". But the viewer always perceives it as "the additional information is that it doesn't have a title". To a certain extent, just the fact the it has no title identifies the shot. So, in essence, there is no such thing as an entry that has no title. People who don't read the title when voting are doing a disservice to the entering photographers because they are judgeing the entire entry while only looking at part of it.


I agree with this to some extent. But, many times a written title is more "leading" or impactful than no title at all. Every challenge has a few entries where the title helps or hurts the entry. Generally, i dont have any strong feelings one way or another about titles. I think they can be important but thought it would be interesting to see a THEMED challenge without titles.

I should have title this entry but i could only come up with "cliches" :) I was lazy and brain dead at the time. Maybe it would have scored a few 10ths higher with a good title. Of course the "." does say an awful lot to the viewer. ;) It really meant, "Look at me, my author was too lazy to choose a title so he just stuck a stupid placeholder in the title field instead."
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06/15/2006 01:50:29 PM · #13
Originally posted by cpanaioti:

As a rebuttle (?) to coolhar's argument:

Those that use leading titles are doing the viewer (and themselves) a disservice. Let the viewer get whatever feeling from the image without being led by the nose.

This is art and everyone see's art differently so why fence them in.
That's fine with me. I'll just take it as meaning "I don't want to lead you by the nose." But sticking to the dpc challenge - context you may be neglecting to use something that can help the viewer to appreciate your image, and thus neglecting to use something that can help improve your score. All of this assumes that most entrants are looking for high scores. Some aren't so their mileage will vary.
06/15/2006 01:37:05 PM · #14
As a rebuttle (?) to coolhar's argument:

Those that use leading titles are doing the viewer (and themselves) a disservice. Let the viewer get whatever feeling from the image without being led by the nose.

This is art and everyone see's art differently so why fence them in.

Message edited by author 2006-06-15 13:40:55.
06/15/2006 01:31:11 PM · #15
In the dpc challenge context where you are presented with a title field in which you must enter something at the time you upload your submission, the lack of a title (as in "untitled" or ".") is a statement that is taken as if it were a title. The photog is, in effect, saying "you supply the title", or "use whatever title suits you", or "look at me! I'm different from the rest", or "please consider this image without any additional information". But the viewer always perceives it as "the additional information is that it doesn't have a title". To a certain extent, just the fact the it has no title identifies the shot. So, in essence, there is no such thing as an entry that has no title. People who don't read the title when voting are doing a disservice to the entering photographers because they are judgeing the entire entry while only looking at part of it.
06/15/2006 12:57:49 PM · #16
Originally posted by American_Horse:

Originally posted by mpeters:

How about a challenge with a topic, like normal, but with no titles allowed? Good photos would still score well and the usual suspects would likely win, but it might be interesting.


Put it into a Challenge Suggestion. Protocol.


I'd also recommend there being a theme of some type. Otherwise it's just a free study...
06/15/2006 12:56:46 PM · #17
Originally posted by mpeters:

How about a challenge with a topic, like normal, but with no titles allowed? Good photos would still score well and the usual suspects would likely win, but it might be interesting.


Put it into a Challenge Suggestion. Protocol.
06/15/2006 12:52:44 PM · #18
How about a challenge with a topic, like normal, but with no titles allowed? Good photos would still score well and the usual suspects would likely win, but it might be interesting.
06/15/2006 12:48:17 PM · #19
maybe instead of calling it a title we should refer to it as a "short description"
06/15/2006 12:39:42 PM · #20
Using the title to shoehorn, as they say, a picture into a challenge will have a negative effect on my voting.

Here's one where the title made all the difference. Cracked me up too

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It all depends on how the title is used.

Here's one of mine that probably didn't even need a title

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/493/thumb/332250.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/493/thumb/332250.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

Message edited by author 2006-06-15 12:40:00.
06/15/2006 12:25:30 PM · #21
Hmmm... interesting thread. I haven't read all of the posts, but the following is how I feel about titles.

Titles and lack of a title can BOTH add to the meaning of a photo. For example if there is a particular feeling or emotion I'm trying to convey to the viewer, I feel the title is essential to the overall image. I also feel it's important for photojournalistic or documentary style photography where you are documenting the location or subject specifics.

On the other hand, if an image is meant to stir an emotion, but not a specific emotion, then the title is of less significance. For example if I photograph an elderly subject with obvious wrinkles and a "weathered" look, I might be inclined to allow the viewer to draw his or her on conclusions about the meaning of the image. This example could be a depiction of age, wisdom, fulfillment, accomplishment... or it could be a depiction of wear, fatigue, lonliness, desolation, despair. A lot of times an open-ended "Untitled" image can have just as much effect as a well titled image that guides the viewer to the intentions of the photographer.

Ultimately the title (or lack thereof) is very important. It just all depends on what the photographer is trying to accomplish.

My $0.05 USD (inflation due to gas prices.... sorry)
06/15/2006 12:08:08 PM · #22
Originally posted by TechnoShroom:

Originally posted by oOWonderBreadOo:

Sandpaper Heiroglyphics


Quite interesting, did you use an actual printer or rubber stamp?


yup- printer. the drum is toast. :0P
06/15/2006 11:39:53 AM · #23
this is great advice everyone! thanks so much!
06/15/2006 11:35:00 AM · #24
Titles, IMO, are part of the whole package, just as titles are important to paintings and statues.

When someone mentions "that famous painting of a woman" or "that famous statue of the naked guy", you don't have a clue what that person is talking about. Now, when they say Mona Lisa or David, what do you think of?

Sure, titles can be misused (I've probably done it a few times) but they are still part of the whole package and should always be a part of DPC.

Now, as far as having the title affect voting, how can we know this for certain? We can't submit the same photo twice (1 with and 1 without a title) so how can we say it does or doesn't affect it? All we can say for certain is that when someone is trying to use the title to make the image fit, it's usually pretty obvious, in which case it would get voted down no matter what. (Atleast I think it should....)
06/15/2006 11:04:15 AM · #25
In the larger world it's a stronger photo that stands tall without a title to help it. But in the context of dpc challenges the title is an integral part of an entry. It can help your score, or hurt it. The voters are going to look at it and use it in determining your score. To ignore it's importance is like going into the ring against Mike Tyson with a hand tied behind your back - you are giving away one of your major weapons.
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