To frame or not to frame?

I had always been under the impression that a photo should stand out for itself, so I avoided any artificial additions. A photo should “work” on its own, getting the topic or its beauty across to the viewer. All that I would accept is adding a copyright line, which is still an absolute must, given the many hotlinkers and freeloaders around. This photo of Canada’s Morraine Lake would be the perfect example for such a photo:

Morrain Lake, Alberta, Canada

But recently, especially after becoming a regular reader to Jim Goldstein’s blog, I thought that my approach might be too simple. After all, competition is increasing not only on the agency market, but also online. Visitors to a website (and even more so visitors to a photographic website) might expect more. So I thought I give it a try and check whether frames could work on my shots as well:

Morraine Lake, Alberta, Canada

I think the benefits are obvious – first of all, there’s always a clear caption associated to the photo, so that a photo can be easily identified even when downloaded to another computer. The Copperplate font makes the caption easy to read while providing a classy look. But also the image seems to gain strength. The black frame makes the photo stand out; the colors appear to be more intense. Yet, I feel that all the text, and the high contrast between the fine white border and the black frame, somehow clutter the image. These features distract from the main image and message.

For this photo though, I came to the conclusion that the frame works very well. And so I am still undecided whether I should use frames or not.

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