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Online portfolio question
Rob Dicker, Photographer
Lake Villa | IL | USA | Posted: 4:30 PM on 03.04.16
->> Turning to the world of the highly experienced and highly opinionated.....

When captioning photos for an on-line portfolio would you

A. write the kind of caption that would have run in a newspaper,
B. write the kind of caption as if you are entering a professional contest, or
C. Write a very brief basic caption since it's the photo that is more important.

D. none of the above.
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Kevin M. Cox, Photographer
Galveston & Houston | TX | US | Posted: 4:41 PM on 03.04.16
->> I'm obviously biased since I work for a newspaper, but when we look at portfolios we want to see A. Knowing that a photographer can write an AP style cutline is just as important as taking a good photo.

We've run into problems in the past where we find a freelancer who can take great photos, but can't caption and transmit on deadline at all. Seeing proper cutlines on a portfolio lets us know one additional variables is not a problem.

I've also gotta ask:

Personally I don't have a difference between A and B; are most of y'all rewriting captions for contests?
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Rob Dicker, Photographer
Lake Villa | IL | USA | Posted: 4:53 PM on 03.04.16
->> Many of the contests that I have entered, watched the judging or been a judge at have had captions that are less specific - they may not have the athlete's name or number, the day of the week or the town it was shot in. More straight to the point like:

"Northwestern quarterback gets thrown for a loss in the backfield by a University of Illinois linebacker."

(no names since they are not critical to the image and make it a slower read)
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Andrew Nelles, Photographer
Nashville | TN | usa | Posted: 7:50 PM on 03.04.16
->> Kevin's take is about the same as mine. Go with what is most appropriate for who you're hoping to market your work to. If you intended on using it to gain more work in news, stick with your normal news captions. Maybe expanded a bit if anything. I usually just stick with clean, simple, but complete two sentence captions for my portfolios.

Rob, we've judged a contest together where we tossed images due to incomplete captions. Remember that student's awesome portrait series that got booted for not even getting the subject's names?
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Doug Strickland, Photographer
Chattanooga | TN | USA | Posted: 7:25 AM on 03.05.16
->> When our staff judges contests, we also routinely dismiss photos with poor or incomplete captions, especially when we're down to the final few images and are trying to decide 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. If you have a great photo but clearly didn't put in the effort to ID subjects or explain an event, your photo may not be 1st place material after all.

For portfolios online, I think it's just as important. I see lots of photojournalist web sites that don't allow for captions attached to photos, but presumably the people looking to hire you for an assignment aren't the Eddie Adams Workshop. Your photos should be able to speak for themselves, but accurate and informative captions are an important part of our job - we're as much journalists as photographers.
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Steve Ueckert, Photographer
Houston | TX | | Posted: 10:10 AM on 03.05.16
->> @ Rob--Your portfolio, online or analog, should be tailored for the intended viewer / client. One size does not fit all.

If you are shooting for journalism usage, then by all means display your caption skills along with your photographic talents.

If you are shooting prep sports or cheer competitions, the prospective clients may be less interested in the "who, what, when, where, etc." and more desirous of identifiable jersey numbers and team names.

Mostly, for any portfolio, edit tightly and have another review your edit. Your selects may reflect your biases or understanding of producing a technically difficult image, neither of which suggest an image is visually strong.
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Kevin Krows, Photographer
Forsyth | IL | USA | Posted: 4:27 AM on 03.06.16
->> I agree with Steve. I'm a team photographer and have never worked a single day for a newspaper, magazine, or sports web site in 10 years. As such I have no need for captioning or tagging images. My audience knows the teams I shoot for, the sports, and I am not permitted to identify athletes by their names with any of the schools I represent on my site.
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Doug Pizac, Photographer
Sandy | UT | USA | Posted: 3:46 PM on 03.06.16
->> Kevin Krows... You're not permitted to identify athletes by name? Interesting. I have not heard of that. While the current players are readily identifiable, how do you find a particular #53 in your archive when over the years you will have multiple kids with that number? Having the kid's name in the metadata would make it easily searchable.

Regarding the main topic of the thread, your base caption should be complete -- who, what, when, where, why -- including correct spelling and proper grammar. As Kevin Cox, Andrew Nelles and Doug Strickland point out, showing you are capable of doing it all can be the difference between getting a job or not, or winning/losing a contest. Like picture taking, it is always better to have and not use it versus not having it and wishing later you did.

Regardless if you decide to have captions or not, there is one bit of information you need to have embedded if you're doing an online portfolio -- copyright ownership information so if your images are used by others you have some recourse. Or better still, if someone likes your image through a third party such as a Google photo search you can be contacted and paid for its licensing.
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Rob Dicker, Photographer
Lake Villa | IL | USA | Posted: 9:35 PM on 03.06.16
->> Well then, it's settled. Full captions, good grammar and spelling.

Now all I need is a word-side editor.

Thanks everyone.
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Thread Title: Online portfolio question
Thread Started By: Rob Dicker
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