Top 10 Tips for Writing Detail-Packed Captions
Captions are the most read copy in a yearbook because they provide immediate information about what is happening in the photographs featured on the spread. As such, they should be filled with facts and details that the reader wouldn’t otherwise know.
1. Interview more than one person per photo. Get the facts that may not be obvious.
2. Verify name spelling of subjects in photos with the official school registration list.
3. Group captions should begin with the group’s name followed by rows designated as “Front row, Row 2, Row 3, Back row,” in a different typeface from names or in parenthesis.
4. First sentence, written in present tense, should answer the important questions of who, what, when, where, why and how.
5. Remaining sentence(s), written in past tense, provides additional information about the event or subject that would not be obvious from looking at the photo.
6. Photo credits may be included at the end of the caption, if not credited elsewhere. Simply use “Photo by” followed by photographer’s name.
7. Photo stories, longer captions including details that might otherwise be found in copy, may result in the need for less copy. Photo stories should be at least three sentences long and could include quotes from subjects in the photograph.
8. Do’s of caption writing should be followed: answer all obvious questions, variety of phrasing, use complete name, first sentence written in present tense, active voice when explaining the action.
9. Don’ts of caption writing that should be avoided include: overuse of lead patterns, passive verbs, stating the obvious, commenting on or talking to the photo.
10. Gag or joke captions should never be used. They are unprofessional and alienate the readers.
Getting to Know Your Team
A well-trained yearbook staff is a finely tuned machine where everyone chips in to help so that deadlines are met and the book is the best it can be. Done well, it is a true testament to the power of working together as a team.
Writing a Yearbook Colophon
“A Cola Who?” This is a phrase often uttered in the yearbook room when the adviser mentions to the editor in chief that it is time to write the colophon for the last deadline. This article includes a checklist of what to include in your colophon.
Examples of Type that Works
Choosing the right type for your yearbook can amplify great design. View these examples of type that works.
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