In my last article, I wrote about why it’s important to ‘be you’ in your adoption profile. I’d like to piggyback on that article with 5 tips for writing engaging photo captions on your adoption profile.

1.  Share a story. I once read a quote saying “No one takes a photograph of something they want to forget.” I don’t remember where I saw the quote or who to attribute it to, but it’s quite fitting, especially when choosing photos for your adoption profile. Your photos should tell a story, and your captions should expand on that story. For example, we included a picture of my husband and stepson painting our garage in our profile book. We could have simply captioned it, “Husband and Stepson painting the garage,” but instead we choose to tell the story of why we were painting the garage in the first place and how my stepson chose the exact shade of red he wanted the paint our garage. We talked about the aftermath of painting not only the garage, but also each other.  We made the photo become a story with a beginning, middle, and end.

2. Use action verbs. At all costs, try to avoid “to be” verbs. They are bland and don’t capture what is really happening in your life. Choose verbs that stand out and accurately describe what is happening in the picture. Instead of “We are looking for leaves in nature,” you might want to say, “We explore the many paths around our neighborhood, searching for the perfect leaf to add to our scrapbook.” Action verbs assure a more vivid image in the reader’s mind and leave people with a better sense of your family.

3. Don’t be afraid of the “messy” parts of your life

When my husband and I were putting together our profile book, we included a whole page of silly photos—no makeup, tongues sticking out, funny faces, and lots of laughter. These photos captured our everyday life: messy, silly, and fun. To caption these photos, we had to share less-than-perfect parts of our lives, but they’re us! All aspects of your life are important to potential birth parents, so be sure to include silly captions about the time you made a pizza, but your 6-year-old was crabby, so you held him upside down until, giggling uncontrollably, he put a pepperoni on the pizza. That’s real life, and that’s what people want to read.

4. Use vibrant adjectives, similes, and metaphors. A picture may say 1,000 words, but the words you write can say a lot about a picture. Spice up your captions with adjectives, similes, and metaphors that paint a picture in the reader’s mind. Are your spouse’s eyes blue, or are they the color of the sky right before sunset? The difference in how it’s written will make you stand out.

5. Write with all of your senses. 

While you’re only using your sense of sight when you’re reading a profile and looking at the pictures, try to engage the other senses when writing captions.  Explain exactly what your chocolate chip cookies smell and taste like when you take that first gooey bite before it’s cooled completely. Discuss the sound of the wind when you’re on your morning run. How does it change with each season? The more you can engage all of the senses of the person reading your captions, the more your profile will stick out in their mind.

Remember to think of captioning your photos as telling the story of your life. Your life is vibrant, colorful, and beautiful, so your photo captions should reflect those qualities.