Without a doubt, the most tedious activity for me in processing a shoot is applying keywords and writing captions. There’s magic in the develop module when you make a photo the best it can be. And the process of ranking and finding the best images in a shoot is one of discovery. But the act of applying keywords and writing a title and caption is just plain work. Yet, it’s very important work. It’s how you’ll find pictures in your archives in the coming years in your library. If you distribute your images, it’s how other people will know who is in your photos and where they were taken. And, if you do things right, once you’ve titled and captioned a picture, you’ll never have to do it again. Wherever your images go, the title, keywords, and caption will follow and be presented along with your photograph.
The problem is that when you go to write a caption, you’re faced with a user interface that does not inspire words to flow: the empty text box. Just looking at it can bring on a slight case of writers block.
So, what’s the best way to fill this box up with important information even when you’re blocked? My answer has been to follow the lead of the people who write more captions than anybody else: the Associated Press. AP titles typically include the names of the subjects in the photograph and captions are typically composed of two sentences. The first sentence describes what is going on in the photograph as well as where and when the photograph was made. The second gives context. There’s more to the AP guidelines than this, but just these points can serve to break a writers block and allow you to quickly get to a half way decent caption.
Once you have the basics taken care of, you can either just move on and caption the next photograph or you can spice it up a bit. However, I’d be careful of adding too much spice. After all, it’s the picture that should be provide the zest. The caption is just supporting information to go along with it.
Keep in mind that you can further accelerate the process of captioning and key-wording by editing the metadata for multiple photos at once. To do this, go into the Library’s Grid mode (press G on the keyboard), and select multiple photographs to caption. Then, when you write a caption, it will be applied to all of those photographs at once. The trick here is that your selection must be done in the Grid view. If you are in any other Library view and select multiple photographs in the film strip at the bottom of the Lightroom window, your edits will only apply to one image. On the other hand, if you’ve already written a title and a caption for an image and want to quickly apply it to others, you can use the Synchronize Metadata command.