The rules? Well, basically anything goes ‘cos the objective is to liven up or add that needed humour on a particular page even when the subject or subject matter’s pretty dry. And as far as I can remember, there was only one instance when captions became a controversy.
The culprit was FHM Australia, which ran a feature on the Hillsborough tragedy when scores of football fans died, and printed some inappropriate captions to go along with the pictures. All hell broke loose soon after with many writing in and swearing never to read the magazine again. The issue was yanked off the newsstands and even the UK HQ had to work overtime on damage control.
Anyway, the point is, captions are taken seriously, and everyone had to master the all-important art, even the receptionist, who regularly pitched in.
Coming back to the ‘rules’, context is never an issue as captions usually has no connection whatsoever with the actual feature. Just look at the picture and think of what a regular FHM bloke would think of when confronted by the image. Easy, huh? There are other tips, but I’m afraid I’d have to monetise those. Just sms CAPTIONS and send to 31111, if you want to know. *
Honestly, I kinda miss all the captioning fun, so you’ll definitely see a lot of that now here…
It was the only ‘balloon’ John Doe managed to grab
* I’m kidding, of course