The photojournalist provides the viewer with facts – in an image as well as in the words used to describe it. The caption or cutline, as critical to understanding an event as the image itself, must be accurate, concise, follow AP style, and free from personal opinion.
Photojournalists are reporters with cameras; as such, they must provide the viewer with as much information as required including:
- Who is in the picture
- What is the person(s) doing
- Where are they doing it
The first sentence of the caption describes what the photo shows, in the present tense, and states where and when the photo was made.
The second sentence of the caption gives background on the news event or describes why the photo is significant.
Whenever possible, try to keep captions to no more than two concise sentences, while including the relevant information. Try to anticipate what information a newspaper editor or reader will need.