On adding a title
I can see a few reasons for adding a title, think about these when our picture doesn’t have one:
- Who asks us the meaning, the goal or what we wanted to express with our photo?
- Who asks us where, when or what we captured in picture?
- Who spends more than one second looking at our picture seriously?
We seek to say something with a photo, we have already done the hard work, we captured and posted the picture. Now, we want people to look at it and react, let’s add a title. This would be step one.
On adding commentaries
What else? Our audience likes context. At the time of photo albums and slideshow evenings, the amateur photographer gathered with its audience to describe the photos he took, his or her intent, what the pictures represented, etc… In addition to the title, the photographer could complement the picture with some personal comments and context. Today, we post our pictures online, our friends may or may not look at them by themselves, from their own computer and without explanations. Many social platforms allow us to comment on our pictures. An easy way to add comments is to look up some information about the subject in our picture, check Wikipedia or and pick the most interesting parts (don’t forget to mention the source) in our comments, add a link to the Wikipedia page. We can also often find online articles that describe what we witnessed or, when feeling courageous, post our own comments.
Adding context to our pictures will allow us to learn about the subject, a necessary condition to improve our art. At the time of film photography, Ansel Adams, for instance, would research his subjects for hours off- and then on-site before releasing the shutter and burning one of the 8 plates he was carrying for that day. He had to think a lot about his subject before taking that one picture. Today, with the luxury of digital photography, we can take hundreds of pictures, post the best among them and then document them. Now, learning about our subject is a matter of minutes spent browsing the Internet, and we can even do it after posting the picture!
Download the thought piece here Posting pics on social media