Thursday, March 12, 2015

Captions.... A picture is NOT worth a thousand words

     Photojournalism is not just about taking pretty pictures. If you take this word apart, it is photo.. journalism. JOURNALISM!!! A photojournalist must have great writing skills and nowadays, journalists must have good photography skills.  

     An example of A well written caption from Life Magazine 1963.

Larry Burrows—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
"A captured Viet Cong kneels in terror as Vietnamese guard threatens him with bayonet. The guard demanded to know where arms were hidden. No reply. The guard let him go to a prison camp unharmed. In interrogating prisoners each side in the Vietnam war occasionally resorts to terror."

     Read more about this picture series at :Vietnam 1963: LIFE Magazine Color Photos From a Deepening Conflict |

     The popular saying "A picture is worth a thousand words" is, well, technically not true. Use this picture for an example.  You see the man on his knees with anguish on his face and fear in his eyes. IT looks like he is saying no, but we wouldn't know without the caption. What about the man with the knife? WHO is he? WHERE is he? WHAT is going on? WHEN was this picture taken.

     Research has shown that pictures and graphics attracted the most attention and were looked at first. Then headlines and advertising and then text. Now you know why captions are so important.

     Captions can be one word or a mini-article if it is not accompanied by a article. Check your facts, this is journalism and if you get the names etc. wrong, you are in big big trouble. Quotes can be used as a caption but please do not use humor unless it is definitely warranted. 

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