Of course, the easiest way to identify the film associated with a still is to use information printed on the still. When movie photos were used in theater lobbys or when they were sent to newspapers and magazines, they usually had identifying information attached. These examples below have the film and sometimes the star information on the bottom border of the still.
An example photo from Paramount's WET PAINT.
In the 1910s, Fox would print the title in the bottom border.
An example of a United Artists still from TWO ARABIAN NIGHTS.
An example First National photo from THE STOLEN BRIDE.
An example Warner Brothers photo from GLORIOUS BETSY.
George Kleine was identifying his photos this way as early as 1915. This example is from GLORIA'S ROMANCE.
This is an example of an 8 inch by 10 inch mini lobby card from Paramount. Paramount issued these from around 1914 through the early 1920s. This example is hand-lettered, although many of their mini lobby cards had printed logos and captions.
During the teens and early twenties, Fox would stamp film information on the back of each photo. Above is the back of a still from AN AERIAL JOYRIDE (1917). Below is an example from A HEART'S REVENGE (1918).
M-G-M would stencil a description on the back of their photos. This example is from DIAMOND HANDCUFFS (1928).
Both Paramount and Universal issued photos for newspapers printed on thinner paper with the idenfication on the edge of the photo negative. Here is an example from Universal's THE PRICE OF PLEASURE (1925).
Other studios would attach a typewritten "snipe" to the back describing
the scene on the photo.
However, still codes were usually inscribed on the photo negative and you
can see an index of still codes starting with
numbers and still codes starting with letters
to help you identify these photos.
Last Modified December 31, 2020