Photo Captions


Owner Mary Paddington, and her daughter Grace, warm up their cat Ms. Whinny backstage at the 2017 Maryland’s Top Feline, an annual best-in-show competition held in Timonium, MD. Ms. Whinny would place second.

This is a sample of a photo caption, an aspect of newswriting. You still use AP style and summarize, but you’re brief and very economical with words. Some general rules on using captions.

• Photo caption (first sentence) should identify the people, place and action in the photo.

• Second sentence (if needed) should lend context and perspective to the photo. Perhaps why the action was significant or how it fits into the bigger picture or story being told.

• Clearly and accurately identify the people and location that appear in the photo.

• Be brief. Write tight. Captions are typically one or two lines. You have to really justify writing three or more.

• Overall, help the reader understand what he or she is looking at. See some samples here at the Washington Post for how captions can convey news and the subject of the image.


For practice. Try the exercise below. We would have done this in class. Send me your captions via emails and I will give you some extra credit in the classwork category for the final grade.



Write a caption for this photo. Here are the facts: The woman running in the photo is Becky Flanagan. She competed in the Life Time Fitness Chicago Triathlon, held this past Sunday, Aug. 30. Becky won the race and set a new swim course record. More than 10,500 diverse triathletes—including former Olympians, physically challenged, elite amateurs and first-time participants—competed in the 28th annual race. Flanagan is 31-years-old.

Published by Rienzi

A writer/teacher based in Maryland. Former New Yorker and avid baseball fan. You can often find me running, although not from anyone in particular.

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