Talking about photographs

Photographs offer learners a window into other people’s lives all over the world. Children quite naturally raise all kinds of questions about what they see, and talking about this offers a lively starting point for groupwork and investigation, including questions about perception and bias — who takes the images and why?

Questioning photos

In groups, children wrote as many questions as they could around a photo on a large sheet of paper.


Pairs wrote several possible captions for an image. Which was most appropriate, and why?

Speech bubbles

As a starting point for role play, children imagined they were a person in a picture and wrote speech bubbles for them. They compared responses.
Putting yourself in the picture

Children drew a simple picture of themselves on a post-it note and placed it on a photo they liked. In pairs, they described what it would feel like to be there [sights, sounds, smells, tastes].

Rumour clinic

Fact and opinion

Children wrote statements around a photo. They underlined those which used evidence from the image [facts] and circled opinions.

Viewing a set of photos

Children chose the image they liked best from a set, and shared their choice with a partner.

Outside the frame

Using a photo stuck to a large sheet of paper, small groups ‘continued the image’ as a drawing beyond the frame.

Describe and draw

One child described an image to another, who could not see it, and drew what was being described. This required careful use of listening skills.


Using part of a photo, small groups continued it ‘outside the frame’. They then compared their image with the complete original image.

Challenging bias

Children analysed birthday cards and advertisements — who was represented and how? Were children from a variety of backgrounds shown?