#57 Caption writing guide for your images

Why are captions important in advertising?
A caption writing style guide.

The graphic metaphor’s advantage is carried in the captions. Here is where words carry more meaning than pictures as the viewer relies on the caption for proper interpretation of the image’s meaning. Without this caption, you might not interpret a photo properly.

Note: National Geographic has an entire department dedicated to “captions” because those are the only words in their magazine some people read. It important to them.
You can alter the meaning of an image with it’s caption.
Why are captions important in advertising?

A caption writing style guide.

NO CREDIT – Put a keyline on your photo, position the caption, and select the components. Then group it and do a text wrap on the grouping. This way your caption won’t squirt off the page every time you move something. Did you read this first?

More people read captions under images than read the body. copy. Using an image without a caption is wasting an important opportunity to sell. People remember image caption material better than a headline or an illustration alone. Caption readers have not read the story yet. Many read nothing but the caption and the headline. The caption should include a reference to the product or service and a benefit. The best captions are self-contained advertisements in themselves.

Identify people and objects.

Identify everyone shown in a photo. If you can’t find a name, acknowledge the unknown person. State how the people’s names run. Usually in parentheses, e.g: (from left), (counterclockwise from top), etc.
The person dressed “in black,” or “standing to the left of the sofa” help identify factors. Explain unusual or conspicuous objects. If something looks “unreal,” tell how the picture was made. Such as fish-eye lens, wide-angle lens, telephoto lens, Photoshop. For historic or archival photos, including the image date: Mayor David Dinkins, 2006. Inform the reader when and where the picture took place.

Write the first sentence in the present tense and for later sentences, it is in the past tense. The first sentence tells the reader what is happening in the photo. Later sentences tell the context and background for what happened. Avoid injecting any opinions.

Captions are crisp, not curt.

Conversational language works best. Write the caption as if you’re telling a family member a story. They should contain all articles and conjunctions. Always check the spelling.

Do not point out the obvious with phrases as “looks on,” “is shown,” and “pictured above.” Don’t be humorous when the picture is not. Don’t create caption information that isn’t explained in the story. The caption should not repeat the information used in other display types.

House with picket fence – Put a keyline on your photo, position the caption, and select the components. Then group it and do a text wrap on the grouping. This way your caption won’t squirt off the page every time you move something. Did you read this first?