At first glance, it may seem like Instagram is all about the photos, but the captions also play a large role in drawing in and keeping followers. Of course people love scrolling through their feeds to get inspired by gorgeous photographs and artwork, but they also love engaging with the person behind the photo, so the more authentic one is with a caption, the better.

For some, it may feel like pulling teeth trying to think of something to write to accompany the image, but writing Instagram captions shouldn’t be complicated, and you definitely don’t have to wrack your brain over it. It’s as easy as telling a story, sharing your thoughts, and educating/inspiring whoever is looking at the photo.

If you’re sharing your photographs on Instagram (and you should be!), but find it difficult to put words to your work, relax. Today I’m sharing some tips for writing better Instagram captions that, when put into action, will help you engage your current followers and bring in new ones.

1. Write Captions That Inform/Educate/Help

Look at the photo you’re sharing and ask yourself if there is something about it that can inform or help your audience. This might include info about the gear you used to take the photo, insights into the subject of the photo, or tips/advice/ideas. You can also write captions that give your audience insight into who you are and what you do, behind-the-scenes moments, and any thoughts you’d like to share.

2. Write Captions That Inspire

Instagram influencers are masters at this caption writing technique. Through their words and images they are able to move people in either thought or action. You can do the same by writing captions that tell a story, set the scene, gets people thinking, and/or creates a certain lifestyle in the person’s mind. Inspiration comes from emotion and emotion drives action.

3. Write Captions That Ask a Question

One of the best ways to engage an audience is to give them a reason to respond, and what easier way to do that than by asking a question? Not only do questions drive engagement, but they can be used to promote your brand through comments, shares, and giveaways.

4. Write Captions That Interest Your Ideal Client

Who do you want to attract? What do they like? What inspires them? Start thinking about who your ideal audience/clients are and write captions that grab their attention. You can do this by mixing in a few of the other tips, like writing captions that inspire and inform. Share thoughts on your style, tell a story about one of your favorite clients, and don’t be afraid to post a photo of yourself with a caption that gives insight into you and your business.

man holding two DSLR cameras while looking at his phone in the other hand.

The Evolution of an Instagram Caption

For the sake of simplicity I’ll keep this example short and sweet, but you’ll get the idea.

Let’s say you’re a wedding photographer and decide to post a beach photo you took at a destination wedding. You caption the image with:

It’s summer and I’m ready to hit the beach!

Even though the photo is probably awe-inspiring, the caption lacks depth. It’s just kind of there, like a filler. But with just a bit of tweaking, this bare bones example can evolve into one that grabs attention.

You can expand on the original caption by telling the story behind the photo, why you took it, what was going on at the moment, etc. You could also add more description to the caption so that followers get an idea of what the moment was like (use your five senses). For extra oomph, ask a question and/or add a call to action.

Depending on what your goal for the photo is, you might evolve your caption into something like:

Palm trees. Ocean breeze. The beach beckons! This photo will always remind me of the beautiful wedding I shot in Los Cabos last summer, and I can’t wait to do more destination wedding shoots. What’s your dream wedding destination?

This caption adds excitement, reaches out to ideal clients (couples planning a destination wedding), and gives followers a reason to respond. Followers might not only tell you what their dream destination is, but feel intrigued enough to inquire about your services.  

Related: How to Use Social Media to Bring in New Photography Clients and 7 Creative Wedding Photography Ideas to Boost Your Portfolio

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