Four Ways to Describe a Photograph

We see hundreds of photographs every day. Whether it’s on social media or in advertisements; photos are a huge part of our lives. They allow us to document special moments, educate about current events and communicate emotions. Photos have started revolutions and helped to overthrow dictators. They also allow us to relive our favorite memories and see people who may no longer be with us. It is useful to be able to describe the technical aspects of a photograph.


Foreground v Background

When you want to describe something in a photograph, you may need to indicate if it is in the foreground or the background. The foreground the part of the image that is closer to you, and the background is the the part that is far away.

“In the foreground there are four men walking.”

“In the background there is a long street with cars parked on the sides of the road.”

The Beatles’ Road Into History on Abbey Road, Iain Macmillan

Color or Greyscale/Black&White

Most photos are taken either in Color or in Greyscale (also known as “black and white”). In the past, it was only possible to make photos in greyscale. Today, whether a photo is in color or greyscale is an artistic choice.

“This photo of the Hindenburg disaster is in greyscale.”

“Today most photos are taken in color.”

The Hindenburg Disaster, Sam Shere 1937

Landscape (horizontal) or Portrait (vertical)

The terms “portrait” and “landscape” can describe the subject of a photo: “portrait” meaning that it is a photo of a person and “landscape” meaning it is a photo of a natural scene. However, these terms can also be used to describe the orientation of a photo. A photo take horizontally is in “landscape orientation” and a photo taken vertically is in “portrait orientation”.

“This photo is in portrait orientation.”

“If you take a photo of a mountain, it will probably be in landscape orientation.”

Dorothea Lange | Migrant Mother | 1936

Natural or Artificial Lighting

Lighting is the most important factor in photography! “Photography” literally means “the study of light”. So the type of light the photographer uses is very important and can change the mood and quality of the photo. A photographer may use “natural light,” meaning light from the sun, or “The photographer used artificial lighting.”

“Landscape photos are almost always made with natural light.”


Moon and Half Dome, Yosemite, California. Ansel Adams. 1960


Present Continuous – English Grammar Exercise

You can use present continuous to describe actions happening right now, in the present. It can also be used to talk about things that are going to happen in the future. Check out some examples below!

Actions happening right now

She is eating a sandwich.
They are doing their homework.

Actions in the future

Tomorrow I am going to the beach.
We are eating dinner at 8 o’clock tonight.

You can form the present continuous by using the present tense of “be” + a verb with -ing.

Try this quiz to practice the present continuous.

Present Continuous Quiz

Complete the sentences with the present continuous form of the given verb.

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Southern Shrimp and Grits – English Reading Comprehension

Recipe /ˈrɛsəpi/

Learning a new language isn’t just about learning vocabulary and grammar, you must also learn the culture of that language. You must consider where it is spoken, who speaks it, and what the traditions and customs are of its native speakers. So, what are some ways you can go about learning the traditions and customs of a group of speakers? Well, one great way to start is by learning to cook their food! As mama always says, there’s no better way to a person’s heart than through their stomach!

Here is a recipe for a typical dish from South Carolina, in the south eastern part of the United States. It is usually served at brunch alongside an ice-cold mimosa (a drink made from champagne and orange juice) and great company!

Now have a look at this video: Southern Shrimp and Grits


2 cups (470 milliliters) chicken broth

2 cups (470 milliliters) milk

1/3 cup (76 grams) butter, cubed

3/4 teaspoon (3.5 grams) salt

1/2 teaspoon (2.85 grams) pepper

3/4 cup (100 grams) uncooked old-fashioned grits (substitute with polenta)

1 cup (130 grams) shredded cheddar cheese


8 thick-sliced bacon strips, chopped

1 pound (450 grams) uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon (5.7 grams) Cajun or blackened seasoning

4 green onions, chopped


Mix the broth, milk, butter, salt, and pepper in a large saucepan. Bring the ingredients to a boil. Slowly stir in the grits (or polenta). Cover the saucepan with a lid and cook for 12 – 14 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Stir occasionally. Once the sauce is thick, stir in the cheese until it has melted. Put the sauce aside and keep it warm.

Cook the bacon in a large skillet until it becomes crisp. Once the bacon is crisp, set it aside on paper towels and keep 4 teaspoons (20 milliliters) of the drippings. Saute the shrimp, garlic, and seasoning in the bacon drippings until the shrimp turn pink.

Serve the shrimp over grits and sprinkle with green onions.

Now try the following quizzes to check your understanding of the article.

Southern Shrimp and Grits | Match

Match the ingredients with the pictures.

Southern Shrimp and Grits | Fill in the Blank

Fill in the blank with the correct command.

Southern Shrimp and Grits | True or False

Decide if the statement is true or false.