If you write anything online or offline, you probably use photos in your content. This is because humans–your readers–are visual creatures. Using photos in articles make it easier for users to understand and process information. Photography is an important element of storytelling, especially for photo bloggers.
So the question is, how do we use photography in our storytelling to grab attention to our written words? The short answer is…you guessed it right! Captions for your photos.
What Is A Caption?
A caption is an explanatory text that you put close to your images. While a picture is worth a thousand words, sometimes you need a few words to magnify its effect. Captions for photos can summarize what’s in the photograph or tie it to your story.
Why Is It Important?
The caption is an important element in your blog post for several reasons. Let’s dig into those reasons…
1. It’s in prime real estate.
When you flip open a magazine, you’re more likely to first pay your attention to the photos than the writing. Therefore, the area surrounding a photo is where readers pay their first attention to.
According to research by Kissmetrics, photo captions are read 300% more times than the actual article copy!Click to tweet
This is explained by the law of proximity. We consider images and captions as a single entity and pay more attention to them. A caption can grab this attention and compel the user to read your article to find more information.
2. Captions are scannable.
Even though you would like your audience to read your story from top to bottom, that’s hardly ever the case. As Steve Krug explains in his popular book, “Don’t Make Me Think”, humans are more likely to scan your article than read it top to bottom.
Having scannable items in your article makes it easier to navigate and digest information. This is why captions usually have unique font styles. This scannability makes the caption an important factor in deciding the worthiness of your content.
3. Captions connect text and photos.
A great use of caption is to put important information from your text into them. This makes the user connect to your story via the photograph. For example, let’s say you are writing about animal extinction. A caption that mentions important numbers or facts can compel the reader to read more.
4. It helps to make more sense of a photo.
They say a photo is worth a thousand words. However, this is only true if your photo’s composition draws the attention of the viewer to its subject. In this sense, a caption can be thought of as a composition tool. One way to draw your viewer’s eye to your photo’s subject is to use a composition tool such as the Rule of Thirds. Similarly, a caption can draw a viewer’s eye to an important aspect of your photograph. What sets a caption apart from other composition tools is it can draw attention to information that is not even present in the photo!
5. It helps Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Technology is making a lot of progress in image recognition. That being said, search engine bots don’t understand what’s in a photo. At least on a massive scale. Detailed captions next to the photo aids Google in making sense of what’s in the photo. In return, this can help you get more traffic from Web and Image search queries.
How Can I Write More Effective Captions For Photos?
Writing an effective caption is an artform itself. You have limited space to grab the reader’s attention and compel them to read your story. In the coming weeks, we’ll be publishing a great article from Erin over here at the from PhotoBlog team. She’ll show you exactly how to write effective photo captions that inspire your readers to dig into the rest of your article. Stay tuned!