I have noticed that many people, including myself, will often post an image to social media and may not include much more than maybe the subjects name or possibly "I'am available on...". Well, that may work, but what if just a little more was added? What if an image including a captivating caption. In the image above, "Do you know what your future holds?" "Mistress of the unknown" or "Are fortune tellers real?".
Photographers and others who post images hope that the viewer will not scroll by quickly and at least spend a few seconds on an image. If the image is stunning, that may be all that it takes but most of us understand that not everyone shares the same viewpoint on what is (or is not) stunning.
In certain forums, images also get criticism for what some may feel are imperfections in the image. Too dark, too light, distracting tree branch etc.. Well, what if there was a brief (one or two lines) backstory or theme to the image. Suppose you really wanted the branch to be where it was? Not everyone will immediately understand your creative concept behind an image; sometimes a few well chosen words may help. How did you light the image? Where was it taken? Was there something funny that happened during the shoot? In the same respect, you may not want to write a book about each image that you place on social media. The viewer can easily get lost in a sea or words and the overall impact of the image may be lost.
Hashtags can certainly help, and sites such as All hashtags can certainly help when you are at a loss to know what tags to use on sites such as Instagram. Although some suggest ten or twelve hashtags, a sea of disjointed hashtags can actually distract from your image. Hashtags can certainly help when someone is searching for a particular type of image but can also confuse people. Sites such as Instagram also have a banned list of hashtags. These banned hashtags may not always be obvious so every now and again it is probably a good idea to visit a site such as Banned hashtags just to double check. Repeated use of banned hashtags can get you Shadow Banned which will reduce your reach to your audience.
Captions that draw in a viewer to your image may be the difference between a quick scroll over or a quick like to someone actually spending time to really appreciate the image itself. There are multiple sites such as Gramlike that can spark your imagination to creative captions. Inspirational quotes may be another option depending upon the type of image that you may be posting. For those who are promoting a service, it is critically important to add your location within a caption. There are MANY times I personally see a promotional post and may initially assume it is local only to find out it is located hundreds of miles away.
The next time that you post, consider adding an extra line to the image and you may be surprised at what happens!
- Bob Barford is a portrait and glamour photographer located in Southern PA.