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DPChallenge Forums >> Current Challenge >> Titles Can Make or Break You.
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07/24/2003 08:41:41 AM · #1
Just how important do some of you consider the title to be? I admit that I can be somewhat influenced by a good title as well. I try and let the photo stand on it's own but there is one now and then that makes me think, "This person deserves a better vote". On the other side of the fence, I do not give them a lower vote based on a title.

Message edited by author 2003-07-24 08:48:09.
07/24/2003 08:46:58 AM · #2
Titles are like borders.. They easily detract but rarely add.. I hate titles that explain the image to me.. I think some photographers use them to either shoe-horn a picture into a challenge or to cover for their lack of creativity in the image.. A good way for me is take the title away, could you guess what the challenge is from the image?
07/24/2003 08:48:15 AM · #3
OK, I just started typing "titles are like borders" ... and then I noticed Alpine had posted since I hit the reply button. I guess we kind of think alike here :)
07/24/2003 08:51:35 AM · #4
Depends on the subject. On landscape image they don't mean much. On an abstract they are incredibly important because you have to know what the artist was trying to accomplish.


07/24/2003 09:18:28 AM · #5
Originally posted by Alpine99:

I think some photographers use them to either shoe-horn a picture into a challenge or to cover for their lack of creativity in the image..


I totally agree with this!
07/24/2003 09:22:26 AM · #6
Check out this post and see what you think. It might fine-tune people's attitude to titling:
//www.dpchallenge.com/forum.php?action=read&FORUM_THREAD_ID=34863
07/24/2003 09:24:56 AM · #7
I think they are a pain in the you know what. I was always under the impression that if you had to put a title on it then it wasn't very effective, or moving, or self explanetory. I try to hold mine to one or two words, but that is not always easy, and then for DPC pictures I usually think of a better title after the challenge has started.That is the case of my "Contrast" entry this week.
07/24/2003 09:54:08 AM · #8
I rarely will give an extra point for a very catchy and fitting title. I can't stand titles that shoehorn a picture into a challenge (except of course when I do it). There can be some benefit to titles occasionally, particularly on DPC when the picture is a bit vague, you need to give people a little nudge in the right direction without being blatantly obvious. It can be a helpful tool at times, and it can kick you in the groin at times. I wish I could think of a good title for every picture, but most of the time I'm confused about what to call it. Every now and again I get a good catchy title, but most of the time they are just simple, one or two words like Dick said.

My biggest peave about titles are the ones that use all or part of the challenge topic in the title. That irks me. We SHOULD be able to take that part of the title for granted. Occasionally they work, but a lot of the time its part of the "shoehorning" effect of a title.

Bob
07/24/2003 10:09:25 AM · #9
I'm not going to downgrade anyone for a poor title. If I feel the title does not add I will ignore it and vote like it is untitled. If a title is well-considered and really adds, I will mark up, usually 1 point, only rarely 2 points.
I think above posts have really hit some of the salient points as to what to do and just as importantly what NOT to do in a title. Though coming up with a 1st class title is a PITA, we should consider it another useful photographic skill that is worth honing. Since it is such a different skill than making a good photo, it's understandable why most of us consider it a "necessary evil."
07/24/2003 10:18:52 AM · #10
Yes... I put weight on the titles when i vote. Like stated earlier, the title and the border choices become part of the overall presentation to the viewer. I don't often score lower because of bad titles, but I do sometimes.

I take several things into consideration when looking at a title. Does the title seem thought provoking? If so, I usually like it.

Does the title seem to be trying to explain something to me that I would not see on my own? If so, I usually don't like it.

Does the title 'integrate' into the theme of the photo? If so, I usually like it.

Does the title use some cheesy play on words? I usually don't like those, but do sometimes :)

Is the title being used to wedge a photo into the challenge topic where the photo would not stand on it's own? If so, I usually don't like it.

I particularly like titles that 'integrate' with the theme of the photograph. The title doesn't really need to make a statement 'about' the photo.


07/24/2003 10:24:34 AM · #11
Originally posted by jmsetzler:

Does the title use some cheesy play on words? I usually don't like those, but do sometimes :)

Is the title being used to wedge a photo into the challenge topic where the photo would not stand on it's own? If so, I usually don't like it...

But what should I do if I fill the frame with a wedge of cheese?
07/24/2003 10:25:10 AM · #12
Originally posted by jmsetzler:

Yes... I put weight on the titles when i vote. Like stated earlier, the title and the border choices become part of the overall presentation to the viewer. I don't often score lower because of bad titles, but I do sometimes.

I take several things into consideration when looking at a title. Does the title seem thought provoking? If so, I usually like it.

Does the title seem to be trying to explain something to me that I would not see on my own? If so, I usually don't like it.

Does the title 'integrate' into the theme of the photo? If so, I usually like it.

Does the title use some cheesy play on words? I usually don't like those, but do sometimes :)

Is the title being used to wedge a photo into the challenge topic where the photo would not stand on it's own? If so, I usually don't like it.

I particularly like titles that 'integrate' with the theme of the photograph. The title doesn't really need to make a statement 'about' the photo.


This pic didn't score that well so maybe I'm just spouting out of my @$$, but I think the title can be what ties the image together and makes it something unexpected. Without the title this is just a badly painted red golf ball.


//www.dpchallenge.com/image.php?IMAGE_ID=28406
07/24/2003 10:30:07 AM · #13
Originally posted by joannadiva:

This pic didn't score that well so maybe I'm just spouting out of my @$$, but I think the title can be what ties the image together and makes it something unexpected. Without the title this is just a badly painted red golf ball.

//www.dpchallenge.com/image.php?IMAGE_ID=28406

I thought that was the perfect title for that photo, for just the reasons you state. Without it, a lot of people might not get the reason for the white field, proportions, or centering of the subject.
07/24/2003 10:34:42 AM · #14
Noing what you had in mind, there are a couple of things you might have tried. Take the picture straight down on the ball and white background, with the ball elevated above the background. This way you could have eliminated the tee and the shadow. I guess I only had one idea after all. Nice job as is by the way.
07/24/2003 10:58:23 AM · #15
Originally posted by autool:

I think they are a pain in the you know what. I was always under the impression that if you had to put a title on it then it wasn't very effective, or moving, or self explanetory. I try to hold mine to one or two words, but that is not always easy, and then for DPC pictures I usually think of a better title after the challenge has started.That is the case of my "Contrast" entry this week.


I would tend to agree with this in any situation but these challenges. Trends is an example of where there is international confusion as to what constitutes a trend. The titles can help. Ordinarily an image should speak for itself, with the title merely suggesting the photographer's feeling about the shot.
07/24/2003 11:44:04 AM · #16
A title can be just another element of a composition and depending on how it's used can add to or take away from a work. I wish the search function worked so I could find the thread where someone made the case quite eloquently and powerfully. They posted a shot of a pile of spectacles. The shot was decently done but nothing you would spend too much time on. . . until they revealed the title. Turns out the glasses were the glasses from hundreds of Jews killed in a concentration camp during WW2. The title added a context that completely changed how you saw the photo. I, and others, got cold chills when the realization of the TRUE implications in the shot were known. So just like light, form, shadow, compostion, color, etc. the title can be just another element of the photo and needs to be considered as such.

My 2 (your currency goes here). . .

07/24/2003 12:18:43 PM · #17
"To title or not to title
That is the question"


I think coming up with a good title can add to a shot as much as a bad title can take away. writers are forced to title there work...and has it not always been said "A picture paints a thousand words"?

07/24/2003 12:39:58 PM · #18
Originally posted by joannadiva:


This pic didn't score that well so maybe I'm just spouting out of my @$$, but I think the title can be what ties the image together and makes it something unexpected. Without the title this is just a badly painted red golf ball.


//www.dpchallenge.com/image.php?IMAGE_ID=28406


Yes you're spouting out the wazoo a little, but that doesn't make you wrong :)

My guess is your shot didn't do well because of the shadow; a lot of the comments even mentioned your title AND the theme, which is pretty rare. It likely means not only did they GET it, but they liked it.

K-Rob's Self-Portrait was titled perfectly in my mind. The subtle difference between his title and many others, told me what he wanted to say with the picture without spelling it out as obviously as most.

I bumped the score up because of it.

Subtlety is usually the key (though it doesn't have to be cryptic).

P

Message edited by author 2003-07-24 12:40:41.
07/24/2003 01:37:08 PM · #19
Joanna, I hope you don't mind me using your Night on the Town shot as an example, but... I will.

Open All Night

Look at Joanna's picture as titled, and it doesn't really stand out. It's kind of bland, and the fact that she got herself in the reflection looks a bit sloppy.

Now read her comment, and what she considered titling it... That (or something along those lines) would have been an awesome title that would have combined with the picture to tell a great story - one I'm guessing most of us can relate to.

And, Joanna, I have to say that unfortunately your title on your round shot didn't click for me at the time I voted, or more specifically the japanese flag imagery in your shot. I wish I had - I would have given it an extra point. Sorry. :-(
07/24/2003 01:59:18 PM · #20
Originally posted by ScottK:

Joanna, I hope you don't mind me using your Night on the Town shot as an example, but... I will.

Open All Night

Look at Joanna's picture as titled, and it doesn't really stand out. It's kind of bland, and the fact that she got herself in the reflection looks a bit sloppy.

Now read her comment, and what she considered titling it... That (or something along those lines) would have been an awesome title that would have combined with the picture to tell a great story - one I'm guessing most of us can relate to.


But does it make it a better picture, or just make you relate to it more ? Or is that what makes a better picture - that you care about the subject - that it makes you think ?
07/24/2003 02:03:33 PM · #21
A title should 'fit' the piece, not explain it.
It can also 'charge' the work by a) pointing a specifically suitable context or
b) rendering a specific, universally recognizable 'feeling' by metaphor
c) simpling naming the subject or primary aspect of the subject as precisely (and briefly) as possible, especially when the subject is a process
d) applying laws of prosody to a 'prosaic' construct (involving the senses)
e) conjuring a title so far removed from the essence of the work that the association of title and work triggers laughter, surprise or controversy.

Some types of titles (literary forms) are easier to create than others. Parody is easier than irony. Clichees are easiest. It is better to prove care and consideration than making hurried and lazy choices. Apt choices are more difficult and rare, and spectacular, than mediocre ones.

It is my theory, that titles are part of a work (even when it is 'untitled'). If all the parts are solid and well fitted, the house ought to be liveable, for a good while. Sometimes all the parts are so well integrated, the house can weather a storm.

Message edited by author 2003-07-24 14:04:41.
07/24/2003 02:20:08 PM · #22
Originally posted by zeuszen:

A title should 'fit' the piece, not explain it.
It can also 'charge' the work by a) pointing a specifically suitable context or
b) rendering a specific, universally recognizable 'feeling' by metaphor
c) simpling naming the subject or primary aspect of the subject as precisely (and briefly) as possible, especially when the subject is a process
d) applying laws of prosody to a 'prosaic' construct (involving the senses)
e) conjuring a title so far removed from the essence of the work that the association of title and work triggers laughter, surprise or controversy.

Some types of titles (literary forms) are easier to create than others. Parody is easier than irony. Clichees are easiest. It is better to prove care and consideration than making hurried and lazy choices. Apt choices are more difficult and rare, and spectacular, than mediocre ones.

It is my theory, that titles are part of a work (even when it is 'untitled'). If all the parts are solid and well fitted, the house ought to be liveable, for a good while. Sometimes all the parts are so well integrated, the house can weather a storm.



Well Done!
07/24/2003 02:42:06 PM · #23
Originally posted by Gordon:

But does it make it a better picture, or just make you relate to it more ? Or is that what makes a better picture - that you care about the subject - that it makes you think ?


Does it make the picture, the image, technically better? No. Does it make the artwork, the attempt to communicate an idea or emotion or tell a story, more effective? Yes. (And, yes, making me relate to it more is part of that - the emotional impact.) Which should get more emphasis when voting on challenge pictures? I guess that's up to the inidividual voter.

Message edited by author 2003-07-24 14:43:59.
07/24/2003 02:55:58 PM · #24
Originally posted by ScottK:

Originally posted by Gordon:

But does it make it a better picture, or just make you relate to it more ? Or is that what makes a better picture - that you care about the subject - that it makes you think ?


Does it make the picture, the image, technically better? No. Does it make the artwork, the attempt to communicate an idea or emotion or tell a story, more effective? Yes. (And, yes, making me relate to it more is part of that - the emotional impact.) Which should get more emphasis when voting on challenge pictures? I guess that's up to the inidividual voter.


I have to agree with both of you a photo should be able to say something to the viewer on intial viewing without the title. But at the same time if the title is perfect for the photograph then the photographer's visions of what the photo means will be seen clearly.

I learned something this week from my little boy don't think like an adult when naming a photo keep it simple and whimsical more people will relate to it.
07/24/2003 03:01:29 PM · #25
Originally posted by ScottK:

Originally posted by Gordon:

But does it make it a better picture, or just make you relate to it more ? Or is that what makes a better picture - that you care about the subject - that it makes you think ?


Does it make the picture, the image, technically better? No. Does it make the artwork, the attempt to communicate an idea or emotion or tell a story, more effective? Yes. (And, yes, making me relate to it more is part of that - the emotional impact.) Which should get more emphasis when voting on challenge pictures? I guess that's up to the inidividual voter.


It is, IMHO, not a question of which should get 'more' emphasis. It is a question of looking at both title and photo as one thing. Is the photo better with or without this (or that) title? I believe you've answered this question already, and effectively.

I wouldn't leave anything but the final score up to the voter. Questions like this are up to those who consider them, i.e. you and me.


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