Caption WritingA step-by-step guideto writing award-winning(thorough and informative)photo captions
Types of captions Identification bar: simply who is in photo Cutline: who is doing what Summary: Who, doing what, when, where, why
More types of captions Expanded: Who, doing what, when, where, why, how & quote Quote: Just a quote from the person that explains doing what, when, where, why, how by the who of the photo Group Identification: A listing of everyone in a group photo Montage Caption: In a photo montage, photos are numbered and captioned or cutlined according to space available
Extended caption vs. Cutline Cutlines are simply the present tense sentence (this is standard newspaper captioning) Captions can be a variety of lengths and contain a variety of information. There are different kinds of captions, but all require investigation to do properly.
Step 1 Investigate every picture as it is being taken Photographers should be reporters, too, and they should be expected to and prepared to gather information Reporters shouldn’t let photographers go out alone- the job belongs to both of them, and they can be gathering more information while the photographer shoots things
Step 2 Reinvestigate each picture that will be used. Find out who is doing what in the picture Find out what was going on before and after the picture was taken Find out when and where the event took place and be able to explain why that might be important to the story of the year Find out why this event was taking place and how it represents all the other events of the year or why this event was special
Step 3 Set aside time (5-10 minutes is good) to talk to the people in the photograph. DO NOT ask for a quote!!! DO NOT tell them you want to interview them. DO NOT expect them to give you the best story ever if you give them less than 10 seconds to think about it.
Lead-in or mini-headline Catchy phrase or clause Immediately relates the caption to the photo with a visual-verbal connection Can be visually different from rest of copy
Present Tense Sentence Provides quick and easy to read information about who is doing what in the picture. Each of these sentences should open differently
Past tense sentence Adds more information about the circumstances surrounding the picture’s event. Provides the when, where, why, or how of the photo or the event.
Quote This can be either from a person in the photo or a person related to the action of the photo. This should add information that isn’t already in the other two sentences. This should be something nobody else could say about the event.
Identification Bar (ident) John Smith (11) Junior John Smith Team captain John Smith (11) Leading scorer John Smith (11), team captain
Cutline John Smith (11) scores the winning goal in the state basketball championship game. In the state finals, junior John Smith scores the winning basket.
Summary In the state finals, John Smith (11) scores the winning two-point shot, defeating the Bonanza Bengals 102-100 at the Lawlor Events Center Feb. 11.
Expanded Slam dunk… Making the final basket of the season against the Bonanza Bengals, junior John Smith sealed the fate of the team at the Lawlor Events Center Feb. 11. Smith sunk the winning shot as the buzzer sounded, ending the game 102-100. “It was like time stood still. I didn’t think it was really like that in real life; the shot felt like it was in slow motion- like in the movies,” said Smith.
Quote Slam dunk… “Making that shot was amazing. Who would have thought the state game would be so close? When I made that basket, it was like time stood still. I didn’t think it was really like that in real life; the shot felt like it was in slow motion- like in the movies,” said team captain John Smith (11) after the 102-100 win Feb. 11.
Group Identification Boys’ varsity basketball: (Front) Bob Smith, John Smith, Randy Smith, James Smith,
Montage Caption (Top Left) Diana Lang (10) has been involved in gymnastics for ten years. (Top Right) Asa Aninao (12) began his martial arts career with a coupon for free lessons. (Bottom Right) Robert Villegas (11) skateboards almost every day after school. (Bottom Left) Seniors Hillary Hershenow, Samara Nilson and Peg Malloy warm up at the barre before dance class.