Why Instagram Captions Matter
By: Emily Vanderbeek

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By Emily VanderBeek, of Isn’t That Charming

Who needs written words? A picture speaks a thousand of them. Colors collide, events are shown and emotions are displayed all without speaking. Especially on networks like Instagram, the picture speaks for itself…right? Wrong.

In a digital world where images of high heels, coffee mugs and sunsets are prevalent, a caption can be the difference between an Instagram post that’s overlooked and one that’s “liked.” I call it “breaking through the clutter.” Not every photo is going to be awe striking. Sometimes even the perfect filter can’t give a ho-hum photo added life. It’s up to you to give it a unique spin.

Here are a few ways to use captions to your advantage. After all, your sunset photo really is better than Susie’s. Help people notice it.

Give New Meaning


The cool thing about imagery is that it leaves a lot open for interpretation. What may seem black and white to one person can be looked upon as arbitrary to another. Use this to your advantage. Put a unique spin on your photos by using a caption that makes a viewer look at your photo with a different lens than they would have before.

Jazz Up Dullness


While we all like to believe that every photo we snap is frame-worthy, the reality is that it’s often been done before. Mug on a comfy Sunday morning? Been there. Top-down view of your outfit? Done that. Give frequently-captured moments your own flare with a caption that plays up a fun side of the photo.

Show Wit


Who doesn’t like a little mental sharpness & inventiveness? Look for connections between your photo & a potential caption. Write toward that connection. Make it somewhat discrete so that when the viewer catches on it’s like they’ve solved a little puzzle between the two of you. It’s that “ah-ha” moment that often brings a smile or deeper thought for others – and for you.

Emphasize A Point


Sometimes a picture really can do all the talking on its own. However, a little explanation can still provide that extra “oomph”. Captions that emphasize a point in your photo help to provide clarity while also giving context to an already fabulous snapshot.

 Do you put effort into your Instagram captions? Share your thoughts in the comments.


About The Author: Emily VanderBeek is a digital advertising professional living & playing in Chicago. She is the blogger behind Isn’t That Charming, a lifestyle blog focused on the fashions, DIY projects & inspirations that charm her socks off.


  1. Profile photo of MonicaP
    MonicaP says:

    I think I should probably get an instagram account !!


  2. Profile photo of Gissi Jimenez

    Nice tips! know working on that wittiness!

  3. Anita says:

    It was very informative to read this, even though I don’t own a smartphone.
    Not sure if this is funny or sad :D

  4. Profile photo of Sarah's Real Life

    Great, I’m totally going to overthink all my Instagram captions now…thanks a lot! :)
    But this reminds me…I know I used to be able to put links in my Insta captions, and now it’s not working anymore. Anyone know what the deal is? Am I just an idiot? If I’m posting a pic of that day’s blog outfit, I like to put a short link to the post after my witty, deep, well thought out caption.

    Sarah’s Real Life

  5. Profile photo of moiminnie
    moiminnie says:

    I think people should be more focused on producing interesting shots rather then on how to get likes with witty captions. If people like the photo, they’ll heart it no matter the caption! Also, try and shoot stuff from different angles or do a detailed shot!

  6. Profile photo of Nasreen
    Nasreen says:

    These are really great examples! I think its fun to jazz up boring captions like “Here I am in ___ ” or boring captions that have all hashtags.


  7. Jasmine polhill says:

    I think This is a good point because a lot of people like to explain in different words why they are showing not just something like “I love my leggings” but more like describing the leggings!!!

  8. Raquel says:

    Witty captions definitely help but don’t forget about hash tags too! I try to speak in hash tags so I can get my point across & be searched for easily. I also use a variety of hashtags so more people will find me.

  9. Oliver Lang says:

    Context is king, but it won’t save a bad photo.

  10. Profile photo of Sarah Loves
    Sarah Loves says:

    I never have put much effort into my Instagram captions before but this has certainly inspired me to do so in the future.

    Sarah x

  11. I totally agree! I usually write a little something, typically with a little wit. It all depends on what I want the photo to really say.
    Follow me on instagram: @misshannahrenee


  12. Geri says:

    I’m actually trying to put more thought into my captions for all the reasons you mentioned. I am always more interested in viewing photos that have captions. I know a picture is worth 1000 words, but captions do influence me.

    @gericentonze on IG ♥

  13. Profile photo of CoutureForCurves

    Hadn’t really thought about it before, guess I’ll start.
    @coutureforcurves on IG

  14. Kashion says:

    Omg! Someone FMOI @Pink_Sundaii I FOLLOW BACK

  15. Profile photo of Lauren Hochman

    This is such good advice! I had no idea! I’m now trying this.



  16. I have never put any effort into captions. I don’t use captions… only hashtags.

    This is an eye opener !

    The Creative Bent

  17. IG xxelsinaxx says:

    Sooo true! Love this post :)

    IG: @xxelsinaxx twitter: @fashionbloglove

  18. Before this article, I always posted my pictures without a caption. Oops!

  19. Lauren says:

    Great post, I never normally think too much into my captions but now I will :)

  20. Profile photo of Ashlie Elizabeth Moore

    I often think that I’m witty, but I’m mostly just punny :)


  21. Profile photo of tiffany_loh
    tiffany_loh says:

    Great tips!! There really is an art to instagramming. Use of emojis also works like a charm :)

  22. I never thought much about putting much effort in before reading this post over breakfast, and all day I made a conscious attempt to make my captions more fun or interesting…I’m no pro at it yet but it certaily makes posting instagrams more playful!

    Great article!!!!!

  23. sheila says:

    Hey Babes!.(:

    ~ I’m new here and I would appreciate if you helped me get to fifty followers at least today? Follow for follow? Shoutout for shoutout? Spam for spam?(:

    ~ QOTD: Flower crown or bows?

    • I think flower crowns!(:

  24. Profile photo of Amanda S.
    Amanda S. says:

    loved this post! i don’t post nearly as many day to day outfit posts as i could and i definitely never thought too hard on captions.

  25. Profile photo of Layla
    Layla says:

    Oooh! I love this post and love how simple captions are yet leave lots to imagination…I think I’ll start doing this and see how it goes on Instagram as I’d like to boost it a little!



  26. Cindy says:

    Excellent tips for IG, Thank you!

    Cindy’s Little Black Book

  27. Jessie says:

    Honestly, I think all of those captions were a bit lame, but yeah captions are so important!!


  28. Profile photo of Adanna
    Adanna says:

    Follow me on instagram: instagram.com/adannakpaduwa and my blog: http://maioku.blogspot.com/

  29. Profile photo of Alexia Rebing

    I hadn’t really thought much about how captions are important too!
    Great tips!


  30. Profile photo of Aimee
    Aimee says:

    I have to start working on my captions!

  31. Profile photo of Winnie Odande

    I love this. I try put more thought on my captions but this has just taken it to another level. Definitely helpful.


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