Photography: Title vs Content


0. The coming of the prophet 1. Love 2. Marriage 3. Children 4. Giving 5. Eating and Drinking 6. Work 7. Joy and Sorrow 8. Houses 9. Pets 10. Clothes 11. Buying and Selling 12. Crime and Punishment 13. Laws 14. Freedom 15. Reason and Passion 16. Pain 17. Self-Knowledge 18. Teaching 19. Friendship 20. Talking 21. Time and Space 22. Good and Evil 23. Prayer 24. Pleasure 25. Beauty 26. Religion 27. Death 28. Forms Of Existence 29. Real vs Virtual 30. The Farewell


Most photographers simply fail with titles to their photos. They just put a description of the content into the title area. That is in my unhumble opinion just not the way to promote the photo.

It is – or should be – absolutely useless to describe the content if the content does not actually show it. It should be obvious what the photo is talking about, what is the message, what is the effect to be caused upon the viewer. If the descriptive title needs to tell what the photo is about, then the photo is generally a fail.

I find it pretty boring and even annoying to see descriptive titles with the photos. A descriptive title is an insult to the viewers intelligence. An average viewer is well able to see what the photo is about. And that is the point with photography, to show a clear message.

Even if the photo shows some mysterious scenery, leaving the viewer with questions, then the photo should speak for itself. If the viewer see things happening, then it is okay. If the viewer has absolutely no clue what’s been exposed, then it’s not okay. But neither case should there be a descriptive title.

So please do not title the photo for example “swan in the fog”, or “people walking hand in hand” or “flower on the left, frog on the right”, jeeez! Yes I see such kind of titles over and over again and they make me sick. The viewer is supposed to know what he / she is seeing.

Better titles are “missing you” or “good night” or “i wish”, you know, not descriptive but rather a feeling. That promotes the feeling but does not describe the photo.

Moreover, why should titles be stronger than the photo? Is the photo by itself not good enough?

I say this: The very best title is: NO TITLE … And certainly not “IMG_0084” … come on!


0. The coming of the prophet 1. Love 2. Marriage 3. Children 4. Giving 5. Eating and Drinking 6. Work 7. Joy and Sorrow 8. Houses 9. Pets 10. Clothes 11. Buying and Selling 12. Crime and Punishment 13. Laws 14. Freedom 15. Reason and Passion 16. Pain 17. Self-Knowledge 18. Teaching 19. Friendship 20. Talking 21. Time and Space 22. Good and Evil 23. Prayer 24. Pleasure 25. Beauty 26. Religion 27. Death 28. Forms Of Existence 29. Real vs Virtual 30. The Farewell