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DPChallenge Forums >> Current Challenge >> Can the title justify the photo?
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06/18/2004 12:42:54 PM · #1
Looking at the entries for the "choices" challenge, and thinking especially towards the "newspaper" challenge, I've been thinking about titles a bunch.

I find that I'm refusing to vote a 9 or 10 to a great photo, if it's really the title that evokes "choice" and not the photo itself. I believe that the photos should quite clearly show a choice that's self-evident, without the title, and I hope such photos end up winning, because there are a few great ones in the bunch.

What do other folks think? How open are you to the title justifying why a particular photo belongs in a particular challenge?

For the newspaper one, I'm thinking it might be different. I expect, based on the description of the challenge, that the title ("headline") will play as big a role as the photo in that one.

-Will
06/18/2004 12:51:53 PM · #2
In my book, the title can help you see how it meets the challenge, but it shouldn't be the only way it meets the challenge. The picture should meet the challenge without any title and shouldn't need it.
06/18/2004 12:59:04 PM · #3
I agree. Too often, the title does more of the creative 'heavy lifting' than the photo itself. And while I'm at it, any title over six words is too damn long.
06/18/2004 01:00:33 PM · #4
I find that while reading the newspaper that the picture should draw your attention first, but usually can't tell the entire story. It should make you want to know more about what's happening in the picture. Then the title should simply state the content of the article. It should especially tell something that is NOT in the picture. E.g. A homeless man sleeping on the sidewalk with his little dog (probably a chihuahua or toy poodle) keeping watch. The title: Supervisor Carlisle to Support Allowing Homeless Shelters to House Pets along with Owners. Something like that. The picture can't tell the whole story, but a cute dog sitting loyally next to his destitute owner will definitely catch your heart and get your interest.

In other words, I agree completely that the title HAS to tell you alot about the picture, or at least explain what the picture signifies, in a newspaper article that is.

A picture meant as art, rather than an addition or eye catcher for a newspaper article, should be able to stand on its own. Definitely.

Message edited by author 2004-06-18 13:18:56.
06/18/2004 01:05:18 PM · #5
The way I see it (pun intended), the photo should be able to stand on it's own merits, with the title adding to it.

When I go through a challenge, the photo should reflect the challenge clearly, without a title even being involved. A well-chosen title can accent the shot, or create a mood.

If I look at a stunning image a dog standing up, with a title "Waiting to go to sleep" (which there were none in the waiting challenge), well it simply is never going to make it past 4 in my way of voting. The image has to meet the challenge clearly without a title.
06/18/2004 01:05:29 PM · #6
Do a forum search on this (if you have a few hours to read, LOL).
My personal opinion is that any work of art is normally titled, and the title and the physical work stand together. A great title can help an image, a poor one (e.g. too long, blatantly explanatory, etc.) can hurt it. No title is an option the artist has as well.
Shots that are "shoehorned in", with the title making most or al of the connection to the challenge, tend to do much worse than their technical merit would otherwise suggest, implying that voters in general take this into account.
06/18/2004 01:22:13 PM · #7
A photo can meet the challenge in multiple ways, some of which I may recognize whereas others may elude me. Consequently I do not judge topicality, but restrict my criteria to the presentation, i.e. image and title.

I agree that the photo should bear its own strength without having to be propped by anything external like a title. On the other hand, I feel that a good title can charge a photo. A weak one will pull it down.
Again, the challenge, for the photographer, is to choose wisely - for the voter, to consider the overall effect.

The same, I believe, is true for the Newspaper challenge, with the possible exception that respective titles can also be read as captions.
06/18/2004 01:40:24 PM · #8
a contrived title hurts the photo.
an esoteric title can hurt or help
a title that attempts to stretch the photo into the category hurts the photo
a title in a foreign language helps a photo
a title that is funny can neither hurt nor help the photo, but may influence the voting to the positive.
a very long title will not help save a picture of kitty cats.
a title referencing water droplet shots will bring equal amounts of ire and faint praise
this one is important.

a title which contains a big big lie about where you took it to make the place seem more glamorous, will usually improve your score.

essentially, a wonderful photo should do well even if the challenge is not met to the extreme, and a terrible photo will do bad no matter how much it meets the challenge, on average.

06/18/2004 01:41:02 PM · #9
Since the Newspaper challenge states "...Make your title the headline." I think the title will almost need to tell a more complete story than the image itself.

I'm sure we'll get more than a few flower pics, with captions like, "Summers here"

For the most part, the image shouldn't rely on the title, but should tell the story of the challenge. A picture of an apple and an orange doesn't tell me that I have to choose between them (as in choices, for instance -- not to single out any specific images).

In the waiting challenge, how many people would see the correct interpretation for the second place winner as waiting for enlightenment if it weren't for the title? How many people would see it as "meditating," rather than "waiting?"
06/18/2004 02:49:46 PM · #10
The newspaper challenge is different, but normally I try to avoid looking at the title before the photo. If the image alone can't tie into the challenge, and needs the title to explain why it is in this challenge, I will look to see if it helps, but it does cost the picture points if it needs text to make it's point. Of course once you read the title it can make you like the work more if it is a clever title, but that shouldn't change your scoring on how the photograph impressed you before the title was read. Some times, rarely the title makes me see something in the shot that I missed, something that makes it a good shot, and then a title can really help.
06/18/2004 03:06:47 PM · #11
Originally posted by jbeazell:

In the waiting challenge, how many people would see the correct interpretation for the second place winner as waiting for enlightenment if it weren't for the title? How many people would see it as "meditating," rather than "waiting?"


This is exactly the kind of example I'm talking about. People in this thread seem to claim overall that an image can't place at the very top unless something intrinsic about it represents the challenge. But the waiting winners seem to betray that idea.

Overall, I haven't heard from anyone who doesn't read the titles at all. Seems like everyone at least glances over them before voting.

-Will
06/18/2004 03:38:02 PM · #12
Originally posted by wkoffel:

...People in this thread seem to claim overall that an image can't place at the very top unless something intrinsic about it represents the challenge. But the waiting winners seem to betray that idea.


Some claim that a photo will place well, if the majority of voters interpret the topic met, whether considered or not.

Message edited by author 2004-06-18 15:38:20.
06/18/2004 04:53:21 PM · #13
Originally posted by wkoffel:



...

What do other folks think? How open are you to the title justifying why a particular photo belongs in a particular challenge?

For the newspaper one, I'm thinking it might be different. I expect, based on the description of the challenge, that the title ("headline") will play as big a role as the photo in that one.

-Will


I'm not really open to a title justifying the challenge topic.

Generally I will look at the Challenge topic just above the photo I am voting on to insure that I'm voting the right way, then survey the photo in relation to the topic. If I see no relation to the challenge and have to read the title, and the title doesn't clue me into something I may have overlooked bam best you expect from me is a 4.

Take the "choices" challenge; for me there are about 4 pictures that if we dropped the challenge and the titles and vote on just the pictures with no explanation needed, They would move from the middle of the pack to the top. Quality and Time was invested in the shots, just entered into the wrong challenge.

An anybody could take it shot (average pic) that the picture meets the challenge does better in my book than a excellent shot with a fabricated story line.

We have been given an assignment (challenge), we are being graded on the assignment, not our artist skills alone. Complete the assignment with creativity and you can't lose.

As for the Newspaper challenge I do think the title will be important. Let's say you take a picture of a very old lady and title it "Ethel reachs 101 years old" that is news worthy and would require that caption to convey what the photo is about. I will definatley look at both for the newspaper challenge for the voting process.



06/18/2004 04:58:08 PM · #14
Originally posted by lockjawdavis:

And while I'm at it, any title over six words is too damn long.

Then you would love the full title of the play usually known as Marat/Sade.
06/18/2004 08:05:10 PM · #15
Will all the people who don't think the title should be taken into consideration when a voter determines whether or not an entry meets the challenge please use "untitled" from now on. Saying that you vote on the photo without looking at the title makes about as much sense as voting on the title without looking at the photo. Have you ever tried to submit an entry without a title? To my mind the title and the photo together comprise the entry.
06/18/2004 09:25:26 PM · #16
I must agree that a title must not 'shoe horn' a submission into the challenge but do think its important, a submission entitled 'untitled' is almost as bad as having the challenge title in it, i.e. "waiting for..."

I'm still a newbie here and learning all the time. On a recent challenge amongst all the helpfull comments on my entry I also got one on my title. The challenge was wheels and my entry was 'Retired after 50 years' The comment said 'after 50 years' was redundant (I'm sure the pun was intended) and 'Retired' would make a much better title - less is more!
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06/18/2004 09:50:55 PM · #17
Ironically, I think my submission for waiting is actually hurting my score, not that my scores can be hurt much more than they already are :)

I've gotten 2 out of my 6 comments were based ONLY on the title, and have NOTHING to do with the picture. I should have used a different, or no, title for this one :)

oh well.... it will be interesting to see how the titles of 'newspaper' will come out :)
06/20/2004 01:21:25 PM · #18
Well, I'm probably one the quilty ones in the Choices challenge. I got a nice photo, and had to submit it, otherwise it would go passed the submission date. I do get some critic regarding my photo not matching the challenge, but also get some usefull info regarding my photos and tips to improve.
Then again, if my title was "to submit or not", it would almost fit the challenge?
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