Information about students and events vanishes each year because the yearbook staff did not write captions for photos or they were not written with enough information. Well-written, informative captions are a must for every yearbook.
The old saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” However, without a caption, readers may get a thousand different messages from a picture-and all of those messages may be wrong.
Talking with students about the 5 Ws and 1 H used to mean that the news lead most certainly was the topic at hand. No longer. Talking about the who, what, when, where, why and how could also mean you’re discussing the writing of in-depth captions for your yearbook.
Some yearbook evaluation booklets even grade books down if they use present participles to begin their captions. I think present participles are a really good way to begin a caption.
Each story happens in context.
Consider Gone With the Wind. The story, read and reread because of Scarlett’s passion for Ashley, also shows most readers as much as they care to know about the Civil War. The story takes shape in context.
The same principle applies to a yearbook story. Showing one student’s struggle in context will give readers information about the rest of the school.
With the trend in yearbooks moving toward less copy, strong captions for the pictures play a more important role than ever before. Today’s captions answer the important 5Ws and H questions (Who?, What?, When?, Where?, Why?, and How?) for the reader instead of a brief identification of the subject and an obvious description of the action. Captions report on behind-the-scenes information to supplement, not repeat, the body copy.