Students will be able to:
- Identify the primary parts of a photo caption by completing an attached worksheet
- Compare captions that a photojournalist would use in a project to captions that an individual might use on social media
- Identify how photo captions can assist viewers in understanding a photojournalism project and increase accessibility
Captions convey important information about a photograph, but often we may quickly scroll past a caption and miss important information that a photographer wants the viewer to know.
1. Follow the "see, think, wonder" pattern to evaluate the photograph below without reading its caption:
- What do you see in this photo?
- Where could this photo have been taken?
- Why do you think the journalist chose to capture this scene or moment?
2. Check your predictions:
- Were any of your predictions correct?
- What information did you gain by reading the caption?
- What false assumptions might you make without reading the caption?
Introducing the Activity:
Photographers and publishers generally include several important pieces of information in a photo caption, such as:
- A description of the physical objects or people in the photograph
- Information that gives context to the moment captured in the photograph
- The name of the photographer
- The country or location in which the photo was taken
- The year that the photo was taken
In the following activity, students will match captions to photos from Pulitzer Center photography projects. Students should identify the parts of a caption (listed above) in each example on the worksheet.
Instructions: Match the captions to the corresponding photographs.
- Why is it important to describe what is physically in a photograph when writing a caption? How might your caption help people with different physical or mental abilities engage with a photograph?
- Why is it helpful to include context in a caption used in a newspaper, magazine, or online news source? Why might excluding context be dangerous?
- How do captions for photojournalism projects or news publications differ from captions on personal social media accounts? What do you normally include in your personal photo captions?
Option 1. Follow the @pulitzercenter Instagram, where journalists frequently post photographs from their reporting projects. Choose three photographs. Without reading the captions, write a caption for each photo that you would share on your personal instagram. Afterwards, compare your caption to the one the journalist wrote.
Option 2. Complete a photojournalism project at home or school by taking three photos of events that many people would not notice on an average day. Write two captions for each photo: one caption that you would use on your personal instagram that you would share with your friends and one that you would use as a photojournalist sharing this moment with strangers.
Worksheet Key: 1. A 2. E 3. C 4. F 5. D 6. B 7. H 8. G 9. I