Class Agenda: Wednesday, Sept. 11


No class on Monday.

And if you haven’t signed up for a Photoville time slot yet but intend to, please do so ASAP at the Google link.

Caption writing

Just because photojournalism is a visual medium, it doesn’t mean you get to be any less thorough when it comes to names, facts, dates, etc. You need to always make sure you get the names, locations, professions, ages (if relevant) to include in your captions. The Who/What/Where/When/Why.

Washington Post guidelines:

Freelance Image Metadata Fields

“A caption should briefly and clearly describe in a complete sentence what is happening in the picture, including an active verb (‘someone does something’). This will allow our internal systems to take sections of the sentence and automatically create keywords. In many cases, a single sentence will suffice. A second sentence is acceptable if it adds additional information, follows the required formula and does not editorialize.”

Caption example:

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – JANUARY 11: Actress Kate Winslet holds her award at the 66th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 11, 2009 in Beverly Hills, California. Winslet won the Golden Globe for best supporting actress for her role in “The Reader,” as Hollywood set aside labor strife and a recession to honor the year’s best performances. (Photo by Rich Lipski for The Washington Post)

Notice how the first sentence is in present tense, describing what is literally happening in the photo, and the following sentence is in the past tense, giving background and context. 

In a photo essay, the captions play the additional role of shaping a narrative. So while wire photos and breaking news photos might all include similar captions because most likely they’ll only be used one at a time, your captions in a photo essay will need to follow a somewhat more narrative shape. Meaning, the first one will include a lot of that 5W’s stuff, while the additional captions might fill in the blanks some more.

In-class editing exercise:

  • Practice using Lightroom for touching up photos.
  • Choose your best pictures from the scavenger hunt and submit them to me in the Journalism Share folder.
  • Screening and feedback on photos.
  • Send via WeTransfer to