These Simple Writing Techniques Will Make Your Photo Captions Stand Out
The captions that accompany your photographs are the second thing your audience will fixate on, right after the image itself. It is also one of the most essential elements of marketing as it provides the viewers with both the basic and thorough information needed in order to fully understand the visual and its relevance to the topic at hand.
Depending on where you are publishing your images, and for what intention, your captions can vary heavily in tone of voice, type of information required, and length.
No matter what you decide to write on, it is crucial to have your captions clear, accurate, complete, and relevant to the image. Think of it this way – even if you had an impeccably eye catching photograph, the value can greatly decrease when paired with a poorly written caption that is both uninformative or misleading.
In the world of real estate photography, getting you listings successfully off the market in a short span of time is the goal. One of the key elements in achieving this is pairing your properly edited images with captions that stand out and leave nothing to be desired.
Below, we discuss simple writing techniques that can make your images look even better:
How do you write a good caption?
Below is a list of do’s and don’ts when trying to come up with a good, quality caption.
#1 DO offer new information. When writing a caption, do not simply copy paste from a different section of your post. Set something aside, rephrase and summarize, or share totally new information regarding the topic.
#2 DON’T stick to the basics. The most read-worthy captions go listing down facts. While these are still important and should be incorporated, try to mix in an interesting piece of information about your post and how the photo helps in telling the story.
#3 DO add a hook. A hook is something that entices the viewer to continue reading and become even more curious about how valuable the information you have to offer is.
#4 DON’T just state the obvious. Do not just describe what is going on in the image, tell the viewers something they cannot see instead. Describe the significance of certain elements included or what it says about the location.
#5 DO caption a stock photo. In some instances, you may need to utilize a stock photo in some of your marketing materials as a real estate agent. Still, add your own twist to the visual with a good caption that can serve as a teaser to your post or even a call to action.
#6 DON’T be afraid of length. A lot of the time, concise captions make a huge impact because of its readability and neatness. However, this does not mean that longer captions are automatically ignored. In fact, studies show that viewers spend more time on longer publications with valuable information compared to short or incomplete captions.
#7 DO keep trying. Witty captions or five-star headlines do not come to mind every single time. The best way to choose the best one is by coming up with options until you find one that feels right.
Tips for writing photo captions that will enhance your content
Now that you know the basics of writing a good caption, here are a few ways you can further enhance them.
Always start off by getting your facts right.
We’ve briefly mentioned this above and it really goes without saying. However, did you know that you can be more confident in sharing information and writing captions once you check and verify that you got your facts straight? This allows you to feel less pressured in producing quality work because it flows more naturally. Facts can include location, company names, people involved, and other specific details.
Use conversational language.
In order to have captions that are easy to read and process, write is as If you were speaking to someone you know. Keeping it light, friendly, and free of clichés is the way to go.
Moreover, never assume that everyone has the same level of understanding as each other. A great photo caption can target a wide audience that spreads across varying backgrounds, cultures, and levels of educational attainment.
Use present tense.
By using the present tense, you add a sense of immediacy and impact that can call out to your readers, and puts the content closer to their perspective. This allows them to feel more in tuned and connected with the post.
Use humor whenever it is appropriate.
Wit and humor go a long way when used appropriately. Funny captions not only bring a smile or chuckle to your readers, but can also better have them remember you even when the post is out of sight.
Use quotes or lyrics wisely and whenever appropriate.
If there is a well-known quote or author that can easily connect with the visual, using it can make your overall post more interesting and relatable. However, it still depends on the quality of the quote, we highly suggest staying away from lines that are too clichés, overused, or are downright cheesy.
Moreover, always be sure to credit the original person who said that.
Including descriptions helps the image become more engaging, clarifies the story, and also helps you in refocusing your reader’s attention where you want it to be.
Use dates for historic images.
When using an image that is considered historic, include the date it was taken. This adds a lot of character and makes it more interesting.
Avoid making assumptions.
When describing elements within the photo, try not to write captions based on pure observation without ensuring that it is fact. This can cause misleading information.
Identify the main people in your photo
When your photographs include someone highly important to the company or topic at hand, be sure that you mention their name and spell it correctly. For images wherein there is a large group of people, but only a few of them are well-known or relevant to the topic, you can opt to identify only the main individuals and use a general term for the rest, such as “and colleagues”.
Know Who Your Audience Is
In order to know how to phrase your content best, it is important to know with whom you are talking to in the first place. Who is your photograph for and what set of people would you like it to be in front of? Think of their basic demographics such as age, interests, location, and the like.
This is crucial because by successfully identifying your readers, you can better connect with them. Language and cultural background both heavily influence how a caption is received and interpreted. While you can’t please every single person in the room, it is important to be able to speak to the right ones.
Moreover, you can also know which platforms and writing style will garner most engagement.
Choose a photo caption that fits the platform
Where your image or photo illustration will be displayed is also important in determining the right set of information to provide, in what length, and type of conversational tone (whether you should sound fun and playful as if you were talking to a friend or serious and direct as if you were talking to a business partner).
If you are uploading to your own website, then you have all the freedom to decide how much or how little information you want included. You can also opt to keep it short and sweet or create photo essays that tell longer stories of your image, the location, the specifics of the home, and more.
If you are uploading to varied social media platforms in order to promote your work and strengthen your brand awareness, your caption style will also depend on the specific social media platform you are on.
Since there are literally millions of images shared around the world daily, and hundreds if not thousands of those are from your area alone, then it is vital to create good, readable captions so as not to have your post be easy to scroll past.
No matter the platform you are on, here are a few tips to keep in mind while producing your social media captions:
First consider the intention of your captions.
Is it to connect with your audience? Or perhaps it is to have them take a specific action after seeing your post? Or is it simply to strengthen brand awareness and start a conversation?
Try to ask questions.
Asking questions can encourage conversations and engagement. The more answers you get back, the more you also get to know your target audience and better ways to connect with them.
Include a Call To Action
Especially when your caption is telling your audience about your services or explaining a topic you think they’d be interested in, ending with a call to action that invites them to reach out and learn more can be helpful.
It is always a good idea to help guide your readers to the next step. Whether that is simply to sign up for your newsletter, ask for a free quote, book an appointment, and so on, give the readers one less thing to think about. By guiding them on what to do next, they are more likely to take favorable action.
Whatever you say, be sure to add value.
Value can come in different forms. Your caption could perhaps teach them something new, provide fresh information, offer a laugh, or share some motivation and inspiration. Whatever it is, make sure your audience stands to gain a little bit from reading your content. Moreover, the more valuable your audience sees your post, the more likely they will share it with their own circle of friends.
Think like your audience.
To best learn how to catch their attention and pique their interest, you can try thinking like them and garner more caption ideas. How would you receive and process the message if you were on the other end, reading it for the first time? Take a break, walk around, and come back with fresh eyes. See how you would answer the following:
- Would I care about this information?
- Would I have something to say if I saw this on my feed?
- Does it make me feel inclined to respond, connect, or learn more?
- Moreover, try to ask yourself from your own perspective if:
- Would my most ideal target audience or client find this information interesting and valuable?
- Does the caption reflect my brand?
Be aware of where your caption cuts off.
Be mindful as to how many characters or spaces each social media platform allows within the preview. Some allow longer previews compared to the others and testing these out is vital to ensure all your important and attention-grabbing information is visible without them having to click “read more”.
Hashtags are a great way to broaden your reach and connect with people who share the same interest. After all, only those who are interested in the topic would use or click on the tag.
Hashtags perform stronger in certain social platforms than others but it is still important to include them so as to be a part of the conversation. It is also a great way to see what your competition are doing and how they are structuring their captions. If their methods are working for them, then this serves as a great way to gain more understanding on the market, get more inspiration, and see how you can apply it to your own posts.
You’re All Set!
Now that you know the basics (and then some) of writing captions that can successfully grab attention, easily spark engagement, and provide value to your photos, the next best thing you can do is go out there and start practicing!
The more that you can practice writing good captions for the right images, the better your content will be in the long run.