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					                Caption Writing

                    Digital Media
                   Mrs. Huddleston



Digital Media          Caption Writing   1
Caption Action
      A picture is worth a thousand
  words, then choose a few to bring
                  your stories to life



                ~ideas shared by John Cutsinger, Tina Klecka, Rick Brooks,
                                         Shannon Williams, Laura Schaub
                                     Jostens Creative Accounts Managers

Digital Media                  Caption Writing                2
Caption Action
  Captions are the most widely read
                 copy in yearbooks.




Digital Media      Caption Writing    3
Purpose
1. Captions link the photograph to and supplement
   the story.
2. Captions tell the reader what happened before
   and immediately after the captured action of the
   photograph.
3. Captions identify all people in the photograph
   on whom the action is centered.

Digital Media         Caption Writing       4
Guidelines
1.    ALL pictures get captions, no exceptions.
2.    First sentence is always in present tense.
3.    Later sentences are always in past tense.
4.    Should be between 3-5 sentences. (One
      sentence summaries technically are not called
      captions; they are referred to as cut lines.)


Digital Media           Caption Writing       5
What goes in a caption?
1. Answer 5Ws and H.
2. Identify ALL people in photograph. In crowd
   shots, identify up to 7 prominent people.
3. Use same naming guidelines as in story writing.
4. Identify people going to left to right in the
   photograph, but do not label within the caption
   “Pictured left to right are . . .”
5. Include date of photograph if relevant.
Digital Media        Caption Writing       6
Avoid:
1. The obvious. Do not simply restate what is
   going on in the picture. Give background
   information that is not evident to the reader.
2. The irrelevant. Stick to the facts of the story.
3. Editorializing.
4. Beginning with names. This is simply very
   uncreative and is the lazy man’s method of
   writing captions.
Digital Media          Caption Writing        7
Avoid:
5. Repeating information in the story.
6. Clichés.
7. Overusing gerunds. Gerunds (verbs ending
      in “ing”) are fine to use on a limited basis, but
      not for every lead.



Digital Media            Caption Writing         8
Avoid:
8. School name, mascot name or school initials.
    This should already be obvious since this is the
    publication for this particular school.
9. School year or “this year”. All copy should
    obviously be about this school year.
10. Making predictions. You are reporting on what
    has already happened, not what might happen.
11. Compound and complex sentences. Always use
    simple sentences.
Digital Media         Caption Writing        9
Avoid:
12. “Pictured above,” “Shown here,”
13. “Seems to,” “Appears to,” “Looks as if,”
    “Attempts to,” “Tries to,” or other phrases that
    fail to give an actual result.
14. To be verbs: is, are, was, were, etc.
15. “During” as a lead. It is fine when used in
    moderation in the body of the caption.

Digital Media         Caption Writing        10
Definite Do’s:
1. Check your facts.
2. Use quotes. Quotes should only be used if they
   add to the content of the story. Be sure to cite
   the person speaking and their grade level/title.
3. Use action verbs.
4. Elicit emotion. Draw the reader into the
   photograph and into the story. Don’t be afraid
   to make them laugh or cry.
Digital Media         Caption Writing       11
Definite Do’s:
5. Use headlines. They should be short and
   clever, but never misleading.
6. Vary leads.
7. Use placement directions if captions are not
   directly tied to a photograph.
8. Record accurate figures. Never use ambiguous
   words such as “many,” “numerous,” “some,” “a
   lot,” etc.
Digital Media       Caption Writing     12
Definite Do’s:
9. Use “said.”
10. Vary font. The font of captions should be
    different from that of all other copy on the
    spread. (usually size 8)
11. Check your grammar.
12. Spell check. Enuf sed.


Digital Media          Caption Writing        13
Sports Captions:
1. Include the result of the action in the
   photograph.
2. Let the reader know who won the game; always
   give a final score.
3. Identify the game and the players’ positions and
   jersey numbers for both teams.
4. Do not use nicknames or mascot titles.

Digital Media         Caption Writing       14
    Complete & Accurate
     Reporting
    1. Attend activity or event.
    2. Interview subjects in photo.
    3. Interview subjects involved, but not in
       photo.
    4. Get photographer’s notes.
    5. Research history of activity, event or
       subject.
Digital Media         Caption Writing      15
    The “Formula”
    1. Short headline.
    2. First sentence: Answer as many of the
       5Ws and H as possible. Present tense.
    3. Second+ sentences: Answer remaining
       5Ws and H and give other background
       information. Past Tense.
    4. Quote from person involved in action or
       eyewitness of action. Use “said.”

Digital Media        Caption Writing     16
                        In Class Activity
                        1. Create a list of
                           questions you want
                           to know about this
                           picture.




Digital Media   Caption Writing        17
                        In Class Activity
                        •     Who is the skier?
                        •     Others involved?
                        •     Name of stunt?
                        •     Day trip or vacation?
                        •     Which lake?
                        •     How long has subject
                              been wakeboarding?
                        •     Best memories of trip?
                        •     Any low points?
                        •     Interesting facts about
                              subject, trip?
                        •     Awards? PRs?
Digital Media   Caption Writing               18
                        In Class Activity
                        Write a caption based on the
                            following information.

                        •     Junior Dillon Hanson, competitive
                              wakeboarder
                        •     Lake Powell, AZ
                        •     Summer family vacation, June 2006
                        •     Best friend Steve Jones with family
                        •     Annual vacation spot – 10th summer
                        •     Placed 2nd in 2003 free-style category;
                              1st in 2004
                        •     Practiced all week for July competitions
                        •     “It was great to have the chance to
                              practice before my competitions began
                              in July. My family and friends are a
                              huge support for me. Taking first after
                              losing to a big rival last year made all
                              my hard work worth it.”



Digital Media   Caption Writing                       19
    Types of Captions
    1.   Ident (short for Identify)
    2.   Summary (usually 1 sentence)
    3.   Expanded (necessary for yearbook)
    4.   Quote
    5.   Collective
    6.   Group



Digital Media         Caption Writing    20
                   Ident
                      Junior Dillon Hanson
                      Junior Dillon Hanson,
                      freestyle competitor
                      Junior Dillon Hanson, 2004
                      freestyle champion




Digital Media   Caption Writing               21
                   Summary
                      DETERMINATION. During
                      the annual family vacation at
                      Lake Powell, junior Dillon
                      Hanson practices for the
                      Southern California
                      Wakeboarding Competition
                      in July.




Digital Media   Caption Writing             22
                   Expanded
                      CONCENTRATION. During
                      the annual family vacation at
                      Lake Powell, junior Dillon
                      Hanson practices for the
                      Southern California
                      Wakeboarding Competition in
                      July. Hanson earned a first
                      place medal in 2004
                      competition. “It was great to
                      have the chance to practice
                      before my competitions began
                      in July. My family and friends
                      are a huge support for me.
                      Taking first after losing to a
                      big rival last year made all my
                      hard work worth it.”

Digital Media   Caption Writing             23
                    Quote
                       “It was great to have the
                       chance to practice before my
                       competitions began in July.
                       My family and friends are a
                       huge support for me. Taking
                       first after losing to a big rival
                       last year made all my hard
                       work worth it. I have already
                       begun preparing for my next
                       event in August.”




Digital Media   Caption Writing                24
                             Collective
                                  CONCENTRATION. During
                                  the annual family vacation
                                  to Lake Powell, junior Dillon
                                  Hanson practices for the
                                  Southern California
                                  Wakeboarding Competition
                                  in July. DETERMINATION.
                                  While vacationing in Mexico,
                                  sophomore Jeremy Fallon
                                  learns to sail his uncle’s
                                  boat. RELAXATION. After
                                  a busy day of sightseeing in
                                  southern Italy with his
                                  family, freshman Cody
                                  Nelson takes a breather on
                                  the beach.

Digital Media   Caption Writing                    25
                                  Group Caption




Front Row: John Cutsinger, Shannon Williams, Rick Brooks,
David Kleck Row 2: Cody Cleavelin, Mitch Lorenz, Mike Hill,
Kurt Idler, Bruce Nyman Row 3: Alex Brunner, Rinn
Cleavelin, Herb Stokes, Jimmy Shellhaas Back Row: Mark
Herron, Steve Wirrig, Jack Wilson, Mike Pankoff…



Digital Media            Caption Writing           26
                           Ident Captions




Digital Media   Caption Writing             27
                           Summary Captions




Digital Media   Caption Writing          28
                           Quote Captions




Digital Media   Caption Writing             29
                           Expanded Captions




Digital Media   Caption Writing           30
                           Collective Captions




Digital Media   Caption Writing            31
                           Creative Captions




Digital Media   Caption Writing            32

				
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