What’s in a Name? What’s in a Border?

One of my underlying interests in photography is finishing, the last step in post. By finishing, I mean the sort of packaging—borders, names, watermarks, etc. I’ve also noticed there are diverse opinions on the topic. Here is mine, but stemming from one provision: all the “packaging” I do is for web publishing only. What I do for a photograph on screen, is not be what I would automatically do for something in print. I make this provision because I see the web space as a virtual wall when presenting photographs, especially in the domain of a photoblog

Borders:  I don’t think one will ever be criticized for not using one. Misuse, however, will cause a stir. I like using slight borderson the web to contain the photo and give it slight lift from the page. I have seen this overdone, epecially on Flickr, and never can see the photograph because my eyes keep going to the border. I believe there should also be some congruency. I like the sloppy, grungey borders but when they go with the photograph. The other day I saw a big, grainy and messy border around a crystal clear color landscape. It just seemed tacked on.

Naming: When I first starting blogging, I would pine over coming up with a good title, something that would accompany the photograph and give it little extra pop. But as Steven pointed out the other day, good titling quickly becomes a daunting task when you are working with hundreds of photos.  I’m still in the middle regarding this addition. The title is as visual as the photograph,  and both can be as jarring and as amplifying. For this medium, it’s a post title more than it is a photograph title.

Watermarking: I recently read a post from Stuck in Customs. Trey brought up a sufficient reason to never watermark. I agree on most of his list, especially for copyright reasons. However, I don’t watermark for fear of images being stolen. I do it more as a signature, as more of a discreet mark to say it is mine. To connect with something earlier, I don’t stamp for print. I do stamp for the web. Do I need to? No, there isn’t a clear reason. I do try to sneak it in there as least distracting as possible. Of the “finishing” types, I could go either way on this one.

My summary is that on one hand, any finishing is not necessary. But I think once you start adding those extra-photograph elements, they should be in the right of the photograph and the audience. Thoughts?

In regards to the photo, this was a snap taken of someone walking by while I was setting up for something on the tripod. I wanted to title is “It was always you” to add some mystery.

p.s. For the football fans: ♫ eat’em up Tigers! ♪ eat’em up ♫

4 thoughts on “What’s in a Name? What’s in a Border?

  1. One of the reasons I like Duotone is for the colour framing which – for the most part!! – works well I think. I’m not sure what I’d do regarding framing with a different theme.

    I used to spend far too long thinking up an apt title for my posts and still enjoy using the occasional pun and so on, but sometimes the picture is too strong for anything other than what it is (hence my recent ‘Orange’!).

    Love the air of mystery in your image – who is he; where is he going ………

  2. This is almost an optical illusion to me. When I look at the top of the photo, I think he’s walking toward me, then I get to the shoes and see he’s actually walking away. The shadow on the knee on the left leg makes it look like it’s bending toward me, but it’s just a trick of the light. I like it!

    The interesting thing about borders is that, in our WordPress world, we don’t have complete control over how the image is presented. A white border within the blog is clearly visible, yet it disappears when the blog post is viewed in email, in a news reader, and on a mobile device where the images are often just presented on a clean white background. For a time, I was doing a narrow black and a white just to cater to the different formats used to view my blog. Lately, I’ve tried dumping the border entirely.

    I agree on the naming – I’d never try to name each photo. Captioning would be too difficult. I find titles for the blog post hard enough.

    On watermarking, I’m with you – I don’t think I need one to protect my images. No one is going to steal my photos. I do think of it as a simple signature. Watermarking is harmless until the watermark dominates or distracts from the image.

  3. Interesting post. I experimented with borders and signatures, and decided it wasn’t for me. That said, whenever I print and frame my images, I always use a mount; it seems to give a necessary degree of separation between the photo and frame.

    I don’t mind slight borders or watermarks on images, but they should never detract from or dominant the image.

  4. A thoughtful post. I will create a digital mat/edge to some of my work, but the intention is that it is part of the whole piece, rather than a separation it extends the context. I have signed and dated some of my printed pieces.
    Your photo uses lines and perspective in a very effective manner. Well done !

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