How to Write Captions for Your Photos

Photo of a cheetah with caption. Note that the caption for this image, published in Wild Planet Photo Magazine, details camera settings as well as the captive nature of the subject, including location where the image was photographed.
The caption for this image, published in Wild Planet Photo Magazine, details camera settings as well as the captive nature of the subject, including location where the image was photographed.

By Jennifer Leigh Warner, NANPA Ethics Committee Chair

It’s exciting when you decide to make the leap from viewing your image on the back of your camera to publishing that image for the whole world to see. So many thoughts are buzzing around your head, like “What will others think of my image?” and “Will this image impact the way people see the world?” With so much going through your mind, it’s important to not forget the ethical obligation you have to properly caption those photos for viewers.  

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What’s the Impact of that Photo? featuring Jennifer Leigh Warner

The Nature Photographer episode #8 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Grizzly 399 crosses a highway in Grand Teton National Park with dozens of photographers attempting to get a picture. © Jennifer Leigh Warner

What happens an hour, a month, a year, or a decade after we get our image and go home? How is that animal, wildflower, or habitat changed as a result of our actions in the field? What do the photographers around us that day perceive? And what conclusions do viewers make when they see the final published image? These are the questions that guide Jennifer Leigh Warner’s work as Chair of NANPA’s Ethics Committee—not a black and white list of rights and wrongs—and this is what Jennifer hopes we’ll keep in mind when deciding what’s the right photo for us—and the right way to get it and share it.

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A Fed Fox is a Dead Fox: The Negative Impacts of Feeding Wildlife for Photographs

A habituated red fox (Vulpes vulpes) begs for food from cars, a result of being fed in the past by other people. This type of behavior is dangerous for both the fox and the people. The fox has a much higher risk of being hit by a car while trying to stay close to the road for handouts. It can also lose fear of humans and begin approaching people who may, as a result, perceive the animal as aggressive. © Jennifer Leigh Warner
A habituated red fox (Vulpes vulpes) begs for food from cars, a result of being fed in the past by other people. This type of behavior is dangerous for both the fox and the people. The fox has a much higher risk of being hit by a car while trying to stay close to the road for handouts. It can also lose fear of humans and begin approaching people who may, as a result, perceive the animal as aggressive. © Jennifer Leigh Warner

Story & photo by Jennifer Leigh Warner, NANPA Ethics Committee Chair

As I drive down the Colorado mountain road searching for wildlife, I spot a red fox (Vulpes vulpes) foraging off the shoulder of the road. I pull off to see if I can get a picture before it darts back into the woods, but as soon as I open my car door, I realize something is very wrong. The normally shy fox is approaching my vehicle.

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Weekly Wow! Week of August 31, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 Winner: “Horned Puffins Posing, Bird Island, Cook Inlet, Alaska” © Molly Isaacs
Showcase 2020 Top 100 Winner: “Horned Puffins Posing, Bird Island, Cook Inlet, Alaska” © Molly Isaacs

All of this week’s Weekly Wow! images can be seen in the slideshow on the NANPA homepage at nanpa.org.

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, August 24, 2020.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2020 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. The 2020 edition of Expressions contains all of the top 250 photos from the Showcase competition as well as interesting and insightful articles. Order your copy here!

The 2021 NANPA Showcase competition is open! Enter your best photos between now and September 21st and maybe you’ll be featured in next year’s Weekly Wows or, better yet, win a prize! Get all the details on the 2021 NANPA Showcase page.

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Weekly Wow! Week of May 25, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: "The Magnificent Tail of a Violet-tailed Sylph” © Scott Trageser.
Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: “The Magnificent Tail of a Violet-tailed Sylph” © Scott Trageser.

All of this week’s Weekly Wow! images can be seen in the slideshow on the NANPA homepage at nanpa.org.

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, May 25, 2020.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2020 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. The 2020 edition of Expressions contains all of the top 250 photos from the Showcase competition as well as interesting and insightful articles. Order your copy here!

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Weekly Wow! Week of February 10, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: "Resplendent Quetzal, Paraisal Quetzal, Costa Rica" © William Pohley.
Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: “Resplendent Quetzal, Paraisal Quetzal, Costa Rica” © William Pohley.

All of this week’s Weekly Wow! images can be seen in the slideshow on the NANPA homepage at nanpa.org.

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, February 10, 2020.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2020 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. The 2020 edition of Expressions contains all of the top 250 photos from the Showcase competition as well as interesting and insightful articles. Order your copy here!

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From the President: NANPA Upper Peninsula Regional Event

Colorful fall foliage in the UP.
Colorful fall foliage in the UP.

Story & photos by NANPA President Tom Haxby

On the first evening of the NANPA Regional Event from October 3-6 in the Munising area of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, 22 NANPA members met as strangers with a common interest in photography. By the end of the event we were no longer strangers. 

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Don’t Miss NANPA’s Town Hall Meeting: Creating an Ethical Field Approach

Photo of photographers and a moose.

Learn about ethical nature photography practices in this month’s Town Hall Meeting.

There’s still time to register for NANPA’s next online Town Hall on Wednesday, October 24th, at 5 PM EDT.  Jennifer Leigh Warner, NANPA’s Ethics Committee chair, will help you learn how you can have a more ethical approach to photographing wildlife and how to better label your images so you can maintain public trust in the credibility of your images. Join us for this webinar where we will discuss some basic tips to approaching wildlife and how to properly label your images. We will also discuss what the NANPA Ethics Committee has been up to this year.

NANPA Town Hall Meeting: Creating an Ethical Field Approach
Presented by Jennifer Leigh Warner
October 24, 2018, 5pm EDT
Target Audience: Everyone

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Volunteer Profile: Jennifer Leigh Warner

Jennifer Leigh Warner

Jennifer Leigh Warner

Volunteers are the life blood of membership organizations.  At NANPA and the NANPA Foundation, volunteers serve on committees, help plan conferences, present webinars, judge competitions and evaluate grant applications.  Volunteers serve on the Board of Directors and play other key roles in keeping NANPA vibrant, relevant and growing.

This is the first of an occasional series of volunteer profiles, saluting those whose hard work, ideas, passion and commitment benefit NANPA and its members.

NANPA recently had the opportunity to ask Jennifer Leigh Warner a few questions about her volunteer experiences.

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From the President – June 2018

Don Carter, NANPA President

 

This is my last letter as president. Gordon Illg becomes president on July 1 and I look forward to working with him this coming year. NANPA is an amazing organization and I know under Gordon’s leadership, NANPA will continue to do great things for its members.

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