Possibly a silly question about titles...
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  1. #1
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    Default Possibly a silly question about titles...

    I've never entered any images in competition, but I hear a lot of people on the forums mention how a good title can really help. My question is, why is the title so important in competition? If I entered a technically perfect image (for example) without a title (or with a poor one), would it lessen my chances of winning?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Possibly a silly question about titles...

    A good title can help explain what otherwise may be confusing about an image. A good title can create a story ( emotion which equals impact) in the minds of the judges. For example we have a friend who is entering a nice but basic portrait of a dad with his toddler daughter. Holly suggested titling it "Single Dad". All of a sudden the judges see an extra story in the image, the father's struggle to raise a child on his own, how he misses his wife , how the little girl will never know her mom etc. That story helps add impact. A bad title can hurt an image if the meaning is so obscure the panel is confused. Judges will try to not let a poor title hurt the score but if for even a monment the judge is distratced trying to figure out what the heck the title means, then you lose that moment of initial impact. For example a foreign word. Unless you know for a fact that all the judges speak that language, you may do more to hurt the image then help it. An awesome image does not need a title to make it fly, but a title is one more tool in your tool box. Why not use every little edge you can. Presentation is one of the 12 elements. The title is part of the presentation. That all being said, if you were at IUSA you probably saw some of the foreign entries. When they title their prints, the translations are not always fluid or appropiate. We as judges understand that and usually just disregard their titles when that happens. It does not hurt their images.

    Keith
    Keith A. Howe
    M.Photog.,M.Artist, Cr.,D.F.Ph.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Possibly a silly question about titles...

    Bobby,

    The reason the title is so important is the way the images are judged.

    The title is announced THEN the image is revealed to the judges. So the title kind of sets a tone as to what they are about to see.

    I'm not a judge but I've sat in on several print judgings at our PPI state convention. Which if you ever get a chance is a GREAT learning experience. I've learned more watching these then I have in many of the programs I've attended.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Possibly a silly question about titles...

    bobby
    it's not a silly question
    i've heard others through the years pose that same question
    artist seem to want to call everything "untitled #0"

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Possibly a silly question about titles...

    Keith's answer was very good. All I would add is to think of the title as the "icing on the cake", sometimes the icing can make up for a dry cake.
    Michael E. Timmons
    M.Photog.Cr., F-ASP

    www.timmons143.com
    www.theportraitgallery.net

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Possibly a silly question about titles...

    michael
    not sure what your really saying
    a great title don't compensate for a poor image

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Possibly a silly question about titles...

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    sometimes the icing can make up for a dry cake.
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe_Galioto View Post
    michael
    a great title don't compensate for a poor image
    Dry cake is still cake - it's still good. I think what Michael was trying to convey was the idea that a title can make you think deeper about a print and not miss what might be really good about the image - or the cake for that matter.

    Keith
    Keith A. Howe
    M.Photog.,M.Artist, Cr.,D.F.Ph.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Possibly a silly question about titles...

    One more thing about titles, they can set an expectation and create anticipation. Imagine you friend wants to set you up on a blind date. He tells you the girls name is Bertha or Mildred. That's going to set a different expectation in your mind then if he tells you her name is Heather or Jennifer. How much would you look forward to meeting Bertha compared to Jennifer?

    Keith
    Last edited by Keith_A_Howe; 01-28-2011 at 03:21 AM.
    Keith A. Howe
    M.Photog.,M.Artist, Cr.,D.F.Ph.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Possibly a silly question about titles...

    The title is part of the Creativity. As was said, before, the panel 1st hears the title & then then views the image. Hopefully they are not disappointed. A good title can help convey what you were trying to say with the image. It should make them excited to see the image and thrilled once they actually do. After viewing hundreds of images a good title can help one image stand out from others.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Possibly a silly question about titles...

    Sorry, I have to be devils advocate here, just trying to learn the reasoning further.

    should a photo not speak for itself? and Merit on impact without words?

    if you need translation in a title to add impact, has the photo not accomplished what it should as an image on it's own.

    I am actually surprised to find out they read the title first? kind of defeats it being a "Photo" competition when the first thing the judges use to judge the photo ...is words?
    Should it not be initial impact of the image? How it moves you as a viewer or does not move you.

    I'll accept lashings on this , just think it is good to figure this all out before i try to enter for the first time....
    Suzanne Bird, CPP
    Ontario CPP Liason

    Photography unleashed!
    suebird@urbandogphotog.ca
    613 296 4658

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