Thursday, January 26, 2006

Photo Captions: Choosing Words Carefully

The carefully chosen word or well-turned phrase can help make a simple photo come to life. Pictures are only loaded by the words that are chosen to describe them. Read Anne Van Wagener's It's a Great Image. Now What? about the power of a great headline to lead into a photo. She uses the photos of the coffins of U.S. soldiers coming home from Iraq as an example.

Contest: Choose the Right Word

Active verbs. Oh yes. Powerful words? Think harder. It's also about context. In the last post I wrote about using a thesaurus if you don't have a good short-term memory or quick retrieval process. ( most right brain folks don't ).

Look at the pictures in this Slide show I took documenting malaria in Africa and use the visual thesaurus ( link to the right) to pick the right words to describe what you see. Kind of like sending me those word magnets for refrigerators, except this is for cyberspace. These photos aren't awfully dramatic so they beg for good captions.

Send your words back and I'll post them here at Crossing Media. E-Mail Pithy Words Back. Or send a haiku. If you want more background on what the stories behind the pix are contact me too. Or Google " malaria, Africa". I'll send the winner an 11' by 14" print of the photo of their choice from this slide show. The contest ends on March 1, 2006.

Caption Writing 101

The AP Stylebook details writing a good workman-like caption. But if you don't have that spiral-bound hard-copy, here's a link to Kenny Irby's Hot Tips for Writing Photo Captions that may prove helpful, kind of Caption Writing 101. " Don't assume" says Irby , or " make judgements". As the photo is a point in time use the present tense. "Be willing to allow for longer captions when more information will help the reader/viewer understand the story and situation," says Irby, especially quotes.

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