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Title Shots

By Mike Pasini, Editor
Imaging Resource Newsletter

You don't have to be Rocky Balboa to get a shot at a title. All you need is your digicam.

Of course, the kind of title we're talking about can't buckle your belt -- but it's a lot more useful.

"This technique works well for monuments, historical markers, restaurants (both menus and buildings), zoos, and other places relatives gather."

We're talking about title shots for your photo excursions, whether they're birthday parties or museums or vacation trips. Your digicam is a lot more capable of taking legible closeups of type than your film camera (when you switch to Macro mode). And with no extra charge for the extra shots, using the camera to document what you're photographing is a real bonus.

Take, for example, a wild, unescorted, roller coaster ride through your local museum.

Check first, but most public museums permit photography of their permanent collections (the ones owned by the public). You may be restricted to shooting without a tripod and without flash (which can, cumulatively, be damaging to the art). But otherwise it's generally not forbidden (although you may have a hard time convincing the guards you're not taking forbidden video).

As you stroll through the rooms, you may happen to fall in love with one or another painting or sculpture and decide to take the shot. But by the time you leave the museum, you'll be hard pressed to remember who painted the thing, when they did it, or what they called it.

Unless, of course, you stepped up to the little placard alongside it and snapped a title shot.

Shooting the description before you shoot the thing described is a little more useful than shooting the description after. As you view it in a slide show, it reminds you what's coming up next, and lets you view it with a little more appreciation when it does. That's why it's called a title.

If the descriptive shot follows the image, it functions more like a note. A footnote, which may intrigue you enough to flip back to the image. Which can be annoying. So it's a good habit to get into shooting the description first.

Although there's nothing wrong with using your digicam to take notes. Particularly if you're taking apart some gadget with wires running all over the place and you'd like to reassemble it without any evidence of tampering.

This technique works well for monuments, historical markers, restaurants (both menus and buildings), zoos, and other places relatives gather. You can even shoot maps with it, marking your progress on that cross country drive or European junket. All the names will be spelled correctly, nothing is omitted, and it takes just a fraction of a second. Literally.


This article is reprinted from The Imaging Resource Digital Photography Newsletter,
Beginner's Flash Column, published May 5, 2000