All I have left to do on my spread is the captions.

Captions_Header imageThat phrase might make an adviser a little nervous because captions can sometimes take a while to complete. From gathering the background information, setting up interviews with the people in the photo, interviewing, then actually writing the caption can take from a few minutes to a few hours and in some cases a few days.

Captions are some of the most important and most read words in the yearbook, especially if you’re looking at the book 10, 20 even 50 years later. Yes, trust me, even with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, when you get ready for your high school reunion, you’ll look at and actually read your yearbook. That’s why yearbook staff members must capture, not only what’s going on, but the feeling, tone and personality of the people in the photos.

There are different types of captions, but story captions seem to be the most used because they tell mini stories and some staffs only use captions. That’s OK as long as your caption tells a story.

Gathering information for captions is basically reporting: who, what, when, where, why and how. Even though you may have answered the questions, there are various ways to write different types of captions.

A simple ID caption is just names of people in the photo.1_new
Another type of caption is the simple two or three sentence one.


Story captions go beyond the two sentences and add personality, detail, description and quotes. Story captions can give the reader and in-depth discussion of what’s happening before and after the split second caught in the photo.

Sometimes a story caption may lead you to something completely unrelated to the photo, but something unique about the person in the photo.


The following links/downloads will provide you more information, examples and practice.

Just remember, no matter what type of captions or combination of captions you  choose, every photo must have a caption.

Sign up to get yearbook tips and best practices straight to your inbox!