Larry  Grayam

Larry Grayam

Vero Beach, Florida, United States

Send BubbleMail

Writing photo captions

Wikipedia describes its rules for writing photo captions A caption, also known as a cut line, is text that appears below the image. Most captions draw attention to something in the image that is not obvious, such as its relevance to the text. Caption can consist of a few words of descriptions, or several sentences. Writing good captions is difficult, and the examples below may be helpful. Along with the title, the lead, and section headings, captions are the most commonly read words in an article, so they should be succinct and informative.

“School bus bully” by Larry Grayam
click to visit
This “School bus bully” seems to roll right over the little guys at this Groveland Florida USA racetrack.
A normally mild mannered yellow school bus becomes a monster truck when outfitted with tremendous
tires. Locals love watching this yellow crusher at weekend monster truck shows.
Nikon D2H 14mm lens 1/200sec f8.0 EI200

Captions are the title or headline that grabs the reader’s attention while cutline’s give us the important details of a photograph. Cut line’s give us the who, what, when, where, why and how or the story of this photograph.

Who is that? (And, in most cases, identify people from left to right unless the action in the photograph demands otherwise.)
Why is this picture being published?
What’s going on?
When and where was this?
Why do the subjects look that way?
How did this occur?

These general rules of cut line writing will better inform the viewer. The rules may vary to accommodate the needs of different viewers. In an artistic journal, like RedBubble, for example the artwork may be more relevant then the subjects. Artists may be more interested in how the art was created rather than how the event came to occur. Additional cut line requirements may be required by the group accepting the artwork for publication. A gallery may limit its accepted works to only those produced in a specified geographical location a city, a park, a nation. This is required information for acceptance by many groups. Others may require a particular method, technique or equipment be used, and be so stated.

Individual groups may make specific additional requirements but the inclusion of the above elements will meet the needs of most groups. In many groups moderators are assigned to read all cut lines for required information. If you fail to inform you won’t be published.
An artist may have the shot of a lifetime, but without the required information they will not get the widespread exposure they seek.

You may decide to include links in online cut line. See Writing photo captions or Hot tips for writing photo captions and What makes a good caption for more great ideas on cut line writing.

“Writing photo captions” was featured in TUTORIALS 4/09/10


  • Isa Rodriguez
    Isa Rodriguezalmost 5 years ago

    well said. great adivce.and woah…….. im a non crusher:) LOL

  • Aw cmon, Your a heart crusher 8<)))

    – Larry Grayam

  • Judith Hayes
    Judith Hayesalmost 5 years ago

    Excellent points! Same rules we use in journalism…

  • I tried to remember that far back, Thanks MPB NIO

    – Larry Grayam

  • karenbrodie
    karenbrodiealmost 5 years ago

    Very useful info, love the title :)) Thank you for adding to the Tutorials Group :))

  • Thanks Karen its such a great group for passing along information

    – Larry Grayam

  • Per Hansen
    Per Hansenalmost 5 years ago

    Thanks for taking the time to write this down. It seems like it should be obvious, but of course it isn’t. I’ll hope it sticks in my head and have faved it for future reference :-)

  • Thanks Per i hope it is useful to you.

    – Larry Grayam

  • JanT
    JanTalmost 5 years ago

    Excellent information, Larry. Thanks for sharing this, and adding a link from the new *Tutorials Library*, alphabetized by category into forums.

  • I just hope it helps someone out. Thanks Jan

    – Larry Grayam

  • DonDavisUK
    DonDavisUKalmost 5 years ago

    Wonderful Larry, an awesome capture of a great School Bus, I’d like to have travelled in that one when I was a kid:-) LOL. Don.

  • Thanks Don

    – Larry Grayam

  • SandraRos
    SandraRosalmost 5 years ago

    Brilliant info thank you Larry

  • Thanks Sandra i hope this helps someone…

    – Larry Grayam

  • Stephen Mitchell
    Stephen Mitchellalmost 5 years ago

    Well said. Titling and explaining photographs is a difficult art.