FCIT hosts over 25,000 photos from various locations and time periods. Many of the images make excellent writing prompts. You’ll find most of our photos either in ClipPix ETC or Exploring Florida. If you happen to have a set of 3D glasses for your class, our collection of over a thousand stereoviews is another great source for interesting photos.

Here are some suggested directions to use with the photos:


  • Describe all the sights, sounds, textures, and smells you would experience if you were in this photo.
  • Describe everything you can about the weather in the photo, but do not mention any of the objects in the photo.
  • Describe how you would feel if you were walking though the location shown in this photograph.
  • Describe the things that make this picture beautiful.
  • Describe this photo to a friend on the other end of a phone call.
  • Describe what this location will look like in 100 years.
  • Describe your personal response to the photo.
  • Imagine this photo is the setting for a scary movie. Describe how the picture would change.
  • What can you tell about the people in this photo by their body language?
  • What has happened in your life that this photo reminds you of?
  • Where does the person in this photo live? Describe the location.
  • Write a haiku inspired by this photo. (Best for nature photo with small details.)


  • Compare and contrast two photos.
  • Explain what caused this to happen?
  • Explain why you would or would not want to meet the person in this photo.
  • Explain why you would or would not want to visit the scene in the photo.
  • How did the photographer contrast two elements in this photo?
  • How does this photo relate to something that you have read?
  • If you could change one thing in this photo, what would it be? Explain why.
  • What questions does the photo raise?
  • What will happen next?
  • Where is this? What clues tell you the location?
  • Write directions for a friend to find their way through this scene.


  • Add characters to this photo and tell a story about why they are there.
  • Add thought bubbles to the photo and write in the bubbles.
  • How did the person in the photo get there?
  • If this animal could speak, what would it be saying?
  • Invent a diary entry written by one of the people in the photo.
  • One object in this photograph is magic. Write a story about who uses it and what happens.
  • Pick three photos. Write a story that includes at least one element from each of the three photos.
  • Something is hiding in this photo. Where is it, what is it, and why is it hiding?
  • What happened just before the photo was taken?
  • What happened just after the photo was taken?
  • What is behind the door, through the window, down the road, etc.?
  • What is going on just outside the frame of the photo?


  • What do you think the people in this photo are talking about? What are their opinions about the topic?
  • What do you think the person in this photo is thinking?
  • What is the feeling in this photo? What makes you think so?
  • What is the most important element in this photo and why?
  • What message do you think the photographer was trying to convey?
  • When was this photo taken? Why do you think that?
  • Why did the photographer take this photo?
  • Why is this an important location for people to visit?
  • Why should this particular location be preserved.

And here are just a few of the 25,000 available photos just to get you started:

Roy Winkelman is a 40+ year veteran teacher of students from every level kindergarten through graduate school. As the former Director of FCIT, he began the Center's focus on providing students with rich content collections from which to build their understanding. When not glued to his keyboard, Dr. Winkelman can usually be found puttering around his tomato garden in Pittsburgh. Questions about this post or suggestions for a future topic? Email me at winkelma@usf.edu. To ensure that your email is not blocked, please do not change the subject line. Thank you!

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