The use of such photographs can be tricky: too big and they look irrelevant and self-indulgent; too small and they look just what they are: space fillers, something pretty to fill the gap. The absolute worst kind of standalone is one of a celebrity just standing there doing nothing much in particular, coupled with a one-line caption that gives the sub no room to craft anything remotely interesting.
We see examples of these daily in the Telegraph. It didn't take long to find one - this is on page 2 today - although in this case there is room for a decent caption.
It's a wrap
Downton is back
Dame Maggie Smith and Penelope Wilton wrap up warm on the set of the fifth series of Downton Abbey in Bampton, Oxfordshire. One of the new members of the cast will be the Withnail and I actor Richard E Grant.
Fifty shades of green
Fair enough, we see what you're doing there. Unfortunately, the heading halves the space available for the caption, which reads:
Charlotte Wood wears a Fifty Shades of Green hat for the Harrogate Flower Show, which starts today.
Oh, right. So is Fifty Shades of Green a brand name? We assume so from the caps, but there are no caps in the heading. And who is Charlotte Wood? Should we have heard of her? And even if she's not famous could we perhaps be told what she's doing in Harrogate please?
Such are the dangers of standalone pictures, which is why the Times's efforts stand out today. Apart from the lion, there were three or four others to catch the eye, starting with this, which took up half of page 4:
Tunnel vision The setting sun shining through peat particles creates the effect of a golden wave for Micah Lester, a professional surfer, off Thurso East, Scotland.
That's quite a difference. A few pages on we come to a half page of bluebells. This time the caption isn't quite so good - it but it's still an appealing sight.
Rhapsody in blue A scintillating carpet of bluebells was lit up by a shaft of early morning spring sunshine in Arundel, West Sussex, yesterday. Bluebells have flowered early this year due to the warm weather
Again, at least we are given some explanation of what's going on, even if it's only that flowers are coming out early - which we kind of knew
And so it continues through the paper, Morris dancers, baby lemurs, the violence in Rio, every picture that isn't directly related to a news story is given some purpose. And there is a merciful absence of sexist eye candy until you reach the business front to encounter a lascivious-looking Titania who is, SubScribe thinks, standing up but who looks as though she's reclining in anticipation.
All of this is is marked contrast to yesterday, when the iPad edition displayed a story about a resurgence in medieval names thus:
Or is it? SubScribe may be way off beam here, but we understand that there is a popular book and television programme around these days called Game of Thrones. We also understand that the central character in the early episodes was someone called Eddard Stark - Ned to family and friends. This character was, we further understand, portrayed by one Sean Bean, macho hero for men, rugged sex symbol for women.
Could he possibly be the Ned who was the inspiration for all those new mums and dads?