Caption Writing 2020

Captions (or Cutlines) are the words that go with an image to explain what’s happening in the photo. They are essential to the story. Without a caption, we might get the wrong information or the wrong impression about what’s going on in the photo.

To make sure the information is clear and accurate, captions for Photojournalism must be written in a standard way.

Each caption must have TWO SENTENCES.
The caption MUST have ALL of the necessary information (Who, What, When, and Where) included IN THE FIRST SENTENCE.

Today, I’d like you to practice writing captions for a variety of photos.


On the linked page below, there are 20 photos. Choose 10 of the photos and write a caption for each in the box below the photo. 

You can make up the information in the caption (names, locations, etc.) but the caption MUST be in correct style, in the correct tense, with ALL of the necessary information included.


Here are two examples of correctly written captions:
Example: Shams Al-Badry (12) works on her state capitals worksheet during Brian Goodbrake’s 2nd period AP U.S. History class. Students will have a quiz over state capitals next week.

Example: Social Studies teacher Shaunna Meyer explains the characteristics of introverts to students in her 1st period Theory of Knowledge class. Students will use this information to learn more about themselves and their personalities. 

Notice these elements of correctly-written captions:
-Correct Verb Tense (captions should be written in simple present tense): Example: runs, studies, discusses, etc. (NO -ing verbs)
, with ALL of the necessary information (Who, What, When, and Where) included IN THE FIRST SENTENCE.

People must be identified
in the correct style.
Students need to be identified by first and last name and grade.
Example: Bob Smith (10)

Staff members need to be identified by job title and first and last name if they are the subject of the photo.
Example: Science teacher Steven Ferris.
NOT Mr. Ferris – NEVER use Mr. or Mrs. titles in captions.

In the Second Sentence, refer to the person by LAST NAME ONLY.
Example: Ferris will travel to Mexico this summer.

Say SPECIFICALLY, IN DETAIL what the person is doing.
Example: ...studies the capitols of U.S. states for an upcoming test.
Example: … goes over vocabulary about transitive verbs.
NOT: …does an assignment. NOT: … does a worksheet. NOT: … reads a book.

Be sure that you identify classes by the first and last name of the teacher, the period, and the SPECIFIC name of the class: (Remember that you can make these up.)
Example: Sue Johnson’s 5th period American Lit class. NOT: Ms. Johnson’s class. And NOT: Teacher Sue Johnson’s class.  NOT: … in Sue Johnson’s math class.

Captions MUST be TWO SENTENCES LONG, and your second sentence needs to be additional information about the person or the activity. It should be RELEVANT to the photo.
Example: Smith and his classmates will present their findings to the class next week. NOT something unrelated: Smith likes cheese.

Be sure for SPORTS PHOTOS that you identify the specific sport, whether it is Varsity, JV, Reserve, or Freshman, who the opponent was,
and where and when the game was played. You must also include a second sentence about the player or the game.

Example: Ronesha Hoagland (11) shoots a free throw against Southeast during the Varsity Girls Basketball game at Lincoln High on Tuesday, Dec. 17th. The Links defeated the Knights 137 to 6.

All or Nothing: Each caption is worth 10 points.
If your caption is completely correct, you will receive 10 points.
If ANY part of the caption is incorrect, you will receive 0 points.

(For this exercise only) You may make up the names and grades, locations, times, and activity, but the caption MUST be in the correct form for you to receive any points. Seriously. Also use different names for each caption.
**Do not make up ridiculous or humorous names or activities. Write the caption as if it were going to appear in the newspaper.**

If you know the actual names of the people in the photo, you may use them, but you don’t have to.

When you finish with all of the captions, click on the SUBMIT button at the bottom of the page. If you do not get finished by the end of the period, click SUBMIT anyway. Your answers will not be saved unless you submit them. 

Be sure to include your NAME and the CLASS PERIOD on the form.

More examples of good captions:

Jason Lenz (9) practices his tuba in the Johnson Gym Hallway during Chrs Watson’s 2nd period Freshman Band class. Lenz will perform a solo during the Homecoming half time show this Friday.


Food Service Manager Millie Hoffmann serves up freshly grilled hamburgers to students and staff at a food service cart in front of Lincoln High during Festivus last Friday. For this special spring event, sponsored by DECA and Student Council, the kitchen staff also served up the usual food offered for lunch, including pizza, soda, and chips.


LaReshia Weaver (12) leads IIG in a routine during the Winter Pep Rally Friday in the Johnson Gym. Under her direction as captain, the squad will perform during half time at the State Basketball Tournament this Saturday at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.


Click here to complete the exercise AFTER YOU HAVE READ THE DIRECTIONS: