18 responses to “Page from: Will Franklin | The Herald

  1. Love the concept and the execution.
    Don’t you just love it when you get a curve ball from left field, and then have to work a miracle to save the day?
    Great job Will.

  2. Lauri Shillings

    Great job on the photoshop! Looks like they were always standing out in a sunny (yet cold?) winter field. Would be interesting to see the before/after photo.

  3. Will C. Franklin

    I’ll be glad to send the before photo if Ed will attach it to the post.

  4. David Merrill

    Excellent save indeed! And lucky for you that you were able to write the headline to match the image.

    I do have a few problems with this page, though. The least of them is the sky detail behind the text: even lightened somewhat, it’s a distraction for the reader in places. But I do like how it maintains the connection with the underlying photo.

    I also find the color choices a bit jarring. I realize it’s traditional to use red and green in holiday greetings, and the red of “Season’s greeetings” does connect with colors in the photo, but the green top headline seems disconnected somehow.

    What’s really noticeable to me, though, is what I consider excessive use of bevel, emboss, glow, and shadow styles. Those effects have a place, but because the background is the sky rather than something solid (e.g., wood or metal), embossing “Season’s greetings” is glaringly artificial. Simple drop shadows would have been sufficient to make the type stand off from the background image.

    On the large inset area that holds the text, the top and left edges are visibly beveled, but the right and bottom edges aren’t. The white highlight there is almost invisible because of the transparency that reveals the sky in the background, and this makes the effect lopsided. This is probably how the effect came “out of the box”, but for my eye at least, it needs some refinement to make the inset believable.

  5. Will C. Franklin


    Thanks for the feedback. I agree with you on all of your points. I grappled with what to do with the “Season’s greetings” while making sure folks realized it was the all-area football team. Because of that, what you see is a last-minute thing. Again, if I had this to do all over again, there are about 50 things I would change … first of which would be that I would be there when they shot the photo in the first place :)

  6. Great job tackling what could have been a dull photo on the front of the sports section. Looks terrific and clever use of headline!

  7. Lauri Shillings

    WOW! Now that I see the original pic…. Even better job on the photoshop! (click, mask, crop… )

    • I agree. Cutting out a background in Photoshop takes determination, patience, skill and time. I think this is a good example of how it should be done. But…next time…insist that you go on the photo shoot to help the photographer give you just the shot you want. I think that’s the key lesson here. I know that takes planning and coordination but I think it’s time well spent—and maybe less time than your having to do a major fix when you get a poor photo. It’s all in the planning.

  8. My friend and fellow consultant, Jerry Bellune, emailed this comment:

    “But what about the ‘integrity of the photo’, some rabid photo journalists might ask?
    You designers will take our best work, cut out the subjects and add a fake sky. How can I face people after this?”

    My response:

    “Let the rabid photojournaliste puriste terroristes scream. If it hadn’t been such a crappy photo in the first place, the designer wouldn’t have had to fix it!”

  9. As much as this makes sense (and came out well) from a design standpoint, from a news standpoint it is worrisome. If you’re willing to create an artificial but very realistic scene for a cover, what’s to say you won’t eliminate pesky but real elements in an important news photo, or even add your own (i.e. more smoke in a photo of a fire, which has been done before)?
    I’m glad to see the credit for “photo illustration” at the bottom of the page, but I don’t think it is adequate.

    • What will keep designers from adding or subtracting elements from a news photo is what has alwayskept them from doing so: journalistic ethics. No designer is any less a journalist than any editor or photographer. Since the beginning of news photography, photographers have been “burning” and “dodging” in the darkroom and Photoshop to cloak or bring out an element in a photo. For centuries, editors have eliminated “uhhh,” “errrr” and “y’know” from quotes. Trained designers have every right to demand that they be afforded the same level of discretion. And…for me…”photo illustration” does the job very well. Readers get it. Let’s give them—and our designers—some credit, please.

  10. Mary Haddad

    As a photographer and reader I have to say thank you. I think you did an excellent job of saving the photographer from having what would have otherwise been a rotten photo with his or her name on it. This is about a bunch of high school football players, not a political statement! I’m not worried about what you would do to a news-worthy aspect – had one been there. This is something for scrapbooks and refrigerators. It will be enjoyed by generations. So attractive that I may even have read it.

  11. Will C. Franklin

    I will say that I take photo manipulation very seriously. Other than your usual toning of a photo, I think you should tell the readers if you’ve altered the photo in any way. I’m a big stickler when it comes to that. I’ve worked with and learned from a lot of photographers (one in Florence who has won more awards than he has wall space for them) and 99 percent of the time, I make sure the photographer knows what I’m planning on doing with the photo, so they know what to shoot and what to expect. I don’t want to chop, crop or edit a photo they feel is award-worthy or is solid without any extra additives.

    I think designers really need to have a good working relationship with the photographers – some times you need a little help from them, some times they need a little help from you. In the end, though, it’s about getting the best out of what you have and if you can collaborate and put together something decent for the readers, I think you’ve done your job. But for the record, I would never alter a photo without putting “illustration by” under it, just because the readers have a right to know. Well, that, ethics and my strong desire to not get fired :)

    Thanks again, folks, for all of your comments.

  12. I always have this one saying that I tell all my designers.

    “It’s the photographer’s job to take a good picture, but, it is our job to make that picture look great.”

    So, in my opinion, if the photographer gives you not-so-great material, then somehow you have to make that material look like gold. Ethics aside, you did a great job Will and I probaly would have done the same thing if I were in your place. (Which I have … several times.)

  13. Thanks to both Mr. Henninger and Mr. Franklin for your responses. I didn’t mean to question Mr. Franklin’s commitment to journalistic ethics, but to point out that this could be a slippery slope.

    • Good point, Jeremy, about the “slippery slope.” But, if we are to occasionally live on the edge—and as journalists, we should!—we’re going to find ourselves at the top of slopes as well.

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