Speaking (Photography)


Idioms & Expressions:

photogenic (adjective, this means that someone usually looks attractive in photos)

My sister is very photogenic. All of her Instagram posts get a lot of likes.


camera shy (adjective, this describes a person who does not like to have their picture taken

I hate it when everyone wants to pose for a photo. I’m very camera shy.


shutterbug (noun used for a person who’s always taking pictures

My brother bought a camera and now he’s turned into a shutterbug.


shooting (verb that can be used for “taking” pictures or video)

My friend is going to be shooting video at the wedding.


get the picture (verb phrase that means “to understand something”)

Do you get the picture?


pretty as a picture (an expression that means something is attractive or visually pleasing)

She looked pretty as a picture in her new dress.


in the picture/out of the picture (these expressions mean that someone or something is “in the situation”)

My sister left home, and now she’s out of the picture.


the big picture (this is a noun that means “the whole story”)

It makes sense if you think about the big picture.


paint a black/bright picture of (in this case the verb “paint” means to “describe something as______”)

The politician paints a black picture of his opponent.


a picture is worth a thousand words (this expression means it’s easier to simply show a picture of something rather than explain)


Part I: Group Discussion

  1. Do you like taking photographs?

I do like to take photographs, but I’m not very good at taking them. I believe it takes talent and skill to take a good photo, and I don’t have the requisite talent or skill to take an amazing photo right now. But if I see a beautiful view, I want to take a photo of it!

  1. What are some situations when people take photographs?

Well now, people take photographs for almost any reason! One look at Facebook will tell you that people find photos of their lunch very, very interesting, and they will often post them. I think people should only take photographs of things that are worth looking at.

  1. Can you give me an example of a happy time when you took a photograph?

When I lived in Korea and had a group of pretty good friends, I took a lot of photos with them. Whenever we’d go out to a restaurant or bar, we’d usually take photos to document the occasion. But the funny thing is that I don’t really look back on those photos much! I think the act of taking a photo is more important than having the photo.

  1. Why do some people dislike taking photographs?

I think people are worried that they won’t look very flattering in their photos. Not everyone is photogenic, so this makes sense. I think that also some people don’t like taking photos because they would rather just enjoy a place without having to worry about taking a picture of it.

Part II: Group Discussion (Cont’d)

Describe a photograph that you like. You should say:

Where you saw this photograph    

I saw a photo online of a lion roaring. I was reading a blog written by a motivational speaker, and he posted the photo one day.

What (or who) is in the photograph        

The photo is simply a lion in the middle of roaring. It is in black and white, and the lion is the only thing in the photo. It has a black background, and the effect is that it’s quite intense.

How things in the photograph are described

Everyone has to describe this photo in the same way. There is nothing to see in it except for the lion. It’s a striking photo.

And explain why you like this photograph      

I like it because it reminds me to be strong and to work hard at getting what I want. It also reminds me to not let people push me around by making unfair demands. The photo is basically a life lesson, summarized by one quick photo.

Part III: Class Discussion

  1. Can you compare the photos that you take with those that professional photographers take?

Absolutely. My photos aren’t as well-composed or color-corrected or as well-lit as those taken by a professional photographer. I think the difference is immediately apparent if you look at my photos vs. those taken by a pro. There is a lot about photography that I don’t understand.

  1. Some people prefer to take still photographs while others prefer to make videos. Why?

Video has its own rhythm and texture. People may find it easier to shoot video, since they only have to point the camera at the subject and try not to let it shake too much. I think that people realize taking a great photo is pretty difficult, so they take some video instead.

  1. Do you think still photographs will be replaced by videos in the future?

Absolutely not. I think photos are one of the only relics of the 20th century that will never go obsolete. The reason is that a photo is easier to stage than an entire video, and it only asks for the viewer’s glance, rather than for the viewer’s extended attention, as any video does.

  1. What are popular places for people to take photographs in your city?

I think people like to take photos at Tay Ho. It’s a pretty area, especially when they sky is blue. I see people taking couple’s or engagement photos there all the time, and I see people taking photos of the buildings across the water as well.