Need a better way to practise writing? Below, you’ll find 5 image-based descriptive writing prompts which are a great way to go! 

If you’re studying creative writing, you’ve probably heard of them and might have even used them by now! If you’re a non-fiction writer or just an everyday writer, especially if you’re just getting started, this might be a new thing for you – but it is definitely a thing! 

Every writer gets inspiration from different sources. It could be a neighbour, a friend, a local event, a tragedy, a painting, or even music and a particular song. It’s the same with images and photos – it can spark your creativity in no time! 

Before we get into how image-based descriptive writing works and give you a couple of assignments, make sure you check our online English school where you can find courses like these: 

Basic Descriptive Writing

Advanced Descriptive Writing 

AQA GCSE English Language Paper 2 

How to use image prompts for writing: 

  1. Take a good look at the image. 

An interesting photo, or the one that is deceptively simple – is an inspiration. This could literally be any photo that catches your eye – whether you found it online or in your personal belongings. 

  1. Take a few moments to absorb the details in the photo. 

What is the main focal point? Is it the background or foreground? What about colour, light, and all other small details? 

  1. Allow your senses to experience the photo and at the same time allow words to form in your head.

A story might start, whether it is just a couple of sentences or a few words. Try imagining you’re explaining that same photo to a friend, but the friend is unable to see it – what would you say to them? 

  1. Start writing, whether words form in your mind or not. 

In journalism, there is a “Five W’s + H” rule, meaning that you should answer these questions: who, what, when, where, why and how, and it can be really helpful if you don’t know where to start as this gives you a direction to follow. 

  1. What comes to mind for you will be completely different from others as it’s based on your own experience and beliefs. 

So, keep on writing and then edit later – it all depends on your purpose. If you think you’re onto something, keep going, see how the story develops. But even if you set it aside for another time, it’s a never wasted effort. 

Credit: Erik Johansson

Task: What can you see? What do you think has happened/is happening/will happen? Where did the house come from? How do you think it got here?  Why is it surrounded by all of the bricks? Who is the woman inside the house? Why is she looking out of the window? What might she be thinking?

There are so many ways to practise and improve your writing, so check our post on Descriptive Writing Prompts to get more ideas!

Photo by JOHN TOWNER on Unsplash 

Task: Using the image above as an inspiration, write a creative piece in which you describe a day in nature.

Photo by Alex Motoc on Unsplash 

Task: Who is this girl? How old is she? What is she doing, alone, in a cafe? Who do you think she’s texting? Does she look sad, or happy, or worried to you? 

Photo by Ján Jakub Naništa on Unsplash 

Task: You’re sitting across this building. Imagine and create a life for a couple of people living there.

For the last task, pick a random photo from your phone or a computer; some that you’re fond of and describe what it is about. 

Do you want some tips on how to write more vividly? Check out this post that has all the answers you’re looking for!

Thanks for reading! If you found this useful, check our online English Language and Literature school where you can find a variety of courses that will help you enhance your English skills and grades!