Describe a photo or picture

Describe a photo or picture


Watch the video of two students describing photos as part of a speaking exam. Then read the tips below.


In some speaking exams you have to talk about photos or pictures. The video and tips below will help you to do really well in this type of speaking exam.

Here are our top tips for describing a photo or a picture in an exam.


  • Look at your picture carefully and take a few moments to think before you start talking.
  • Talk for all the time you are given. If you have one minute to do the task, use every second.
  • Practise the useful language below so you can explain which part of the picture you are talking about.


  • Panic if you don’t know the words for all the things in the picture. You don’t need to know all the words for everything in the picture if you know what to say when you don't know an exact word.  
  • Get distracted and start talking about something else. Focus on the photo or picture.
  • Panic if your mind goes blank. Take a deep breath, look at the picture and start again.

If you are asked to describe a photo or a picture in the exam, here is some language you can use:

What is in the picture?

In the picture I can see ...
s / There are ...
There isn’t a ... / There aren’t any ...

Say what is happening with the present continuous

The man is
The people are
It’s raining.

Where in the picture?

At the top/bottom of the picture ...
In the middle of the picture ...
On the left/right of the picture ...
next to
in front of
on top of

If something isn’t clear

It looks like a ...
It might be a ...
He could be
Maybe it’s a ...

Total votes: 1442


Language level: 


You can practise this at home with any picture or family photo. Tell us if this advice was helpful to you.


LuisBenavidez's picture

This topic is useful for me because i didnt know how to describe a picture like the position of an object,what's happening and where is something i recommend read more

6 users have voted.
fcomorales's picture

I read the do and donts and all the others recommendations and actually help me to be prepared at the exam, my recommendation is that you have to do a little exam to yourself and think what you gone a say at the exam.

5 users have voted.
Jonathan - Coordinator's picture

Hi fcomorales. That's a great tip! If you can rehearse what you are going to say before the exam, it should help. Thanks for sharing :)
Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

4 users have voted.
Muslimgirl65's picture

İt is so useful for me but i have some speaking problems for example: i can speaking very fluently and i can explain one picture in my home but i cant do it in school even while i am speaking on the board my friends cant hear and understand me i dont know why but i try to speak loudly :/

21 users have voted.
Jonathan - Coordinator's picture

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Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

61 users have voted.
StrawberryGirl's picture

Thank you ! You are the best !

Because of you I know now how can the oral exam be like.

But maybe you have another tips for me by this things:
1. Role play
2. Describing words (like the game "tabu")

70 users have voted.
dearie's picture

hi all im wesam frome palestine, h have just joined you, thank you for this site actually i have allot experience thank you so much again

253 users have voted.
JoEditor's picture

Hi! Welcome to LearnEnglish Teens. I hope you'll find lots of useful texts and videos to help you practise your English.
Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

239 users have voted.
megisiana's picture

This will help me very much in my final exams in course .............thank you.i have it Wednesday i am studying very much in this website....................YOU ARE THE BEST.............!

281 users have voted.