We've all heard the saying: "A picture is worth a thousand words."
That is one of the dumbest statements ever because without a complete and clear caption, the question is, "which thousand?" No picture is self-explanatory. We have to tell people what to see in a photograph.
This PDF illustrates how a variety of captions can give completely different meanings to a picture.
Keep the lessons here in mind not only when you create print communications, but when you create PowerPoint and web pieces where you use a lot of images. You can never be sure that your images will mean the same thing to your audience as they do to you.
Sometimes (especially on websites with lots of little pictures) the images don't add clarity, but sometimes distraction and confusion. The addition of unnecessary little images to websites reminds me of the early days of desktop publishing when people were so excited to be able to use clipart that they often added lots of little clipart images to every church publication whether they were needed or not.
So many of the websites and blogs where people seem compelled to add an image (and many templates come with "thumbnail placeholders") results in many images that have little to do with the content of the text and sometimes result in a "what does that have to do with anything?" distraction for the reader. Your readers are not little children to have to be entertained by pictures if you have content worth reading.
Click here or on the image to download the PDF.