Photo Caption Contests

Here is our guide to photo caption contests.

We put this guide together after running hundreds of thousands of quick, simple, and effective virtual icebreakers for remote teams.

Photo caption contests are engaging virtual team building activities in which participants create humorous or creative captions for a series of photos. This activity fosters creativity, collaboration, and laughter among team members, strengthening bonds and boosting morale. Photo caption contests provide a fun break from work and encourage communication and teamwork in a lighthearted and enjoyable way.

Ideal group size:

6 to 20 players

Activity duration:

30 to 60 minutes



What you’ll need:

  • Online collaboration platform, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet
  • Access to a collection of photos for captioning (e.g., stock photo websites, personal photo albums)
  • Photo editing software or apps for adding captions to images

How to do it:

Step 1: Introduce the Activity

First, explain the concept of the photo caption contest to the participants. The goal is to create humorous or creative captions for a series of photos.

Step 2: Select Photos

Next, curate a collection of photos for the contest. Pictures should be diverse and engaging, with plenty of opportunities for creative captions.

Step 3: Share Photos

After choosing the photo, display each one to the participants using screen-sharing features on the chosen virtual platform.

Step 4: Set Time Limit

Next, establish a time limit for participants to come up with captions for each photo. Typically, a range of 1 to 2 minutes per photo keeps the game moving.

Step 5: Brainstorm Captions

Participants brainstorm captions individually or in small groups, using their creativity and sense of humor.

Step 6: Submit Captions

Players submit their captions through the chat function or another designated channel within the virtual platform.

Step 7: Review Captions

You can display each caption alongside the corresponding photo, allowing participants to read and enjoy each other’s submissions.

Step 8: Vote for Favorites

Next, facilitate a voting process where participants vote for their favorite captions, either through a poll or by raising hands.

Step 9: Declare Winners

Finally, announce the captions with the most votes as the winners of the photo caption contest, celebrating their creativity and humor.

Examples of games or activities:

1. Mystery Photo Caption Challenge

Participants create captions for photos that you gradually reveal, adding an element of surprise and suspense to the contest.

  1. Select a series of photos, but only reveal a portion of each photo at a time.
  2. Set a time limit for participants to brainstorm captions based on the partial image.
  3. Gradually reveal more of the photo at timed intervals, allowing participants to adjust or refine their captions.
  4. Once the full photo is revealed, have participants submit their final captions.
  5. Vote for the best captions and declare winners at the end of the contest.

This unique twist on the photo caption contest adds an element of anticipation and challenge, keeping participants engaged and entertained throughout the game.

2. Blind Captioning Battle

Participants create captions for photos without knowing what the images depict, leading to unexpected and humorous results.

  1. Collect a set of photos and assign a number to each one without showing the images to participants.
  2. Share the assigned numbers with participants, keeping the actual photos hidden.
  3. Set a time limit for participants to create captions based solely on the assigned numbers.
  4. Once teams submit their captions, reveal the corresponding photos and share the captions with the group.
  5. Vote for the most amusing or creative captions to determine the winners.

This game encourages participants to rely on their imagination and wit, resulting in hilariously unpredictable captions and plenty of laughter among the team.

3. Themed Caption Contest

Participants create captions for photos that align with a specific theme or topic, encouraging creativity and thematic coherence.

  1. Choose a theme or topic for the contest, such as “office life,” “adventures in nature,” or “pets and animals.”
  2. Curate a collection of photos that relate to the chosen theme.
  3. Share the photos with participants and set a time limit for them to create captions.
  4. Encourage participants to tailor their captions to fit the theme while showcasing their creativity and humor.
  5. Vote for the captions that best capture the essence of the theme while being engaging and entertaining.

This themed approach adds an extra layer of fun and challenge to the photo caption contest, allowing participants to explore different topics and perspectives in their captions.

4. Caption Collaboration Challenge

Participants work in teams to create collaborative photo captions, promoting teamwork and synergy.

  1. Divide participants into small teams and assign each team a set of photos.
  2. Share the photos with the teams and set a time limit for them to collaborate and create captions.
  3. Encourage teams to leverage each member’s strengths and perspectives to create dynamic and engaging captions.
  4. Have teams submit their collaborative captions for each photo.
  5. Vote for the best team captions and celebrate the collaborative effort and creativity of the winning teams.

This collaborative approach fosters teamwork and camaraderie among participants. Groups will work together to create captions that are greater than the sum of their parts.


  1. Keep it light-hearted: Encourage participants to embrace humor and creativity when crafting captions.
  2. Set clear guidelines: Define the criteria for captions, such as length or tone, to ensure consistency.
  3. Provide diverse photos: Curate a variety of images to inspire a range of creative captions.
  4. Encourage participation: Create a supportive atmosphere where the whole team feels comfortable contributing captions.
  5. Incorporate themes: Consider themed rounds to add variety and spark inspiration.
  6. Time limits: Set reasonable time limits for brainstorming captions to keep the game moving.
  7. Foster teamwork: Encourage collaboration by allowing participants to work together on captions.
  8. Use anonymous submissions: Allow participants to submit captions anonymously to prevent bias.
  9. Include voting: Implement a voting system to determine the most popular captions and engage participants.

Final Thoughts

These light-hearted activities spark creativity and laughter while fostering connections and collaboration among team members. Photo caption contests unite teams through humor and imagination, creating memorable moments that strengthen bonds and brighten spirits. Hosting this exercise will lead to countless more rounds of witty captions, shared smiles, and lasting friendships within your team.

Want more ideas? Check out our post on virtual scavenger hunt ideas.

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