Is it a Bird, Is it a Plane, or is it (gulp) a Caption

Less tends to be more when it comes to writing good captions, at least if you are going to keep the caption field searchable.

There is so much potentially-useful information in a caption that it is a pity to leave that out of searchable fields, particularly for news and celebrity images. The trouble is that this field is often seen as a license to produce literature.

The theory is that by giving a lot of background and extra detail you can make an image more saleable. The typical thing is to reference that someone has just broken up with their girlfriend, list the movies the person has just starred in or give a general (and lengthy) account of what occurred at the event.

Quite a lot of that information becomes very dated very quickly, but more importantly by adding so many extra words the image is much more likely to come up in searches for totally unrelated people and things. The worst we've seen was a caption used on a large set of images from the television benefit for victims of Hurricane Katrina. In each caption the photographer included the name of everyone performing in the benefit, not just the person shown in the frame. So every time you searched for images of Jennifer Aniston you would get pictures of everyone else who performed - not exactly ideal.

Our suggestion is that if you want to make the caption into a news story you try using another field such as notes.

For captions, try to keep them succinct and name only things relevant to the frame such as the person or things that can be seen, the location and so on.