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Picture Prompts

145 Picture Prompts to Inspire Student Writing

A school year’s worth of short, accessible image-driven posts that invite a variety of kinds of writing.

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creative writing using pictures

By The Learning Network

Image from our related Picture Prompt “ Creative Juices .”

We’ve been publishing our Picture Prompts series four days a week since 2016. Below, we’ve rounded up all the prompts we published for the 2021-22 school year.

These short, accessible, image-driven prompts invite students to pen short stories, poems and memoirs; share experiences from their lives; analyze illustrations, graphs and charts; and tell us their opinions on hot-button issues.

You can find even more in our roundups for the 2016-17 , 2017-18 , 2018-19 , 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years. That’s nearly 900 prompts, many still open for comment by students 13 and up. We have also published a short, visual post highlighting four popular prompts from this school year.

To learn how you can use Picture Prompts to build literacy skills, promote critical thinking, inspire discussion and foster creativity in your classroom, watch our three-minute tutorial video or our on-demand webinar . For dozens more ideas, see our lesson plan, “ How to Teach With Our Picture Prompts (and Other Times Images) .”

If you use this feature with your students, or if you have other ideas for how to use photos, illustrations and graphics to encourage writing, let us know in the comments.

What story does this image inspire for you?

Write a short story, poem or memoir inspired by this photograph. | <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/27/learning/phone-booth-in-the-wilderness.html">Related Picture Prompt</a>

Phone Booth in the Wilderness Roller Coasters In the Waves In the Lunchroom Den of Toys Butterflies Flight Delays Two Roads Dog Park Friendship Under the Sea Found in the Crowd Under the Desk Barren Landscape Park Bench Other Selves On the Court Holiday Party Little Red House Candy Cornucopia Doors Mystery Money Royal Dining Up in a Tree Around the Fire Galaxy Plundered Shelves Confetti Solo Climb At the Fountain Heated Conversation Yellow Creatures Meadow in Starlight Storm On the Subway Giant Jar Family

Share experiences from your own life.

Pet Ownership Creative Juices Horror Stories One Great Summer Memory Dining Out Riddle Me This Your Go-To Recipes Hitting the Road Comic Con Craze October Thrifting Harry Potter Self-Compassion Holiday Shopping Giving Gratitude Festive Wear Measuring Time Winter TV Shows Sacred Spaces Your Tech Local Celebrities Winter Olympics Wildlife in Winter Group Chat Winter Getaways D.I.Y. Taste Test Spring Fashion March Madness Mask Withdrawal Your Favorite Tree Rites of Spring Fortuitous Finds Hanging Out Heartbroken Best Pizza? Everyday Pleasures Musical Instruments

What do you think this image, chart or cartoon is saying?

Hands Blasting Out of a Phone Dings and Pings Pulling at a Reflection Memorial Twisting Track Elephant and Donkey Tiny Dollar Clouds Vision Test The Whole World Work and Home Bedroom Staring Crossed-Out Words Clicking Her Heels Weapon Burger Quitting Spoonfed Brady Mesmerized Skates Melting Man Lit-Up Landmarks Literary Allusions A Brick on an Egg Listening and Clapping Between the Ears Smiling X’s on Bubbles Eyeballs Inside Vs. Outside Amazon Boxes Area Closed High Wire Very, Very Tired

What’s your opinion on this issue?

A New Social App Morality Plays Flamboyant Fashion Home Games Powering Down Facebook Outage Old Glory Custom Cars Tourist Surveillance E-Scooters, E-Bikes Motorcycle Adventures Veterans Day Book Lovers Speed Skydiving Gift-Giving, Gift-Getting Solstice Favorite Moments in Sports Your Word of the Year Guilty Pleasures Smart Watch Wordle True Love? Prized Possessions Audiobooks Separate Together TV-Themed Trips Forgiveness Life at Sea Constructive Criticism Electric Cars Little Free Libraries Met Gala #VanLife Responding to the Shooting in Uvalde

20 Picture-Based Writing Prompts and Ideas for Kids

female student using a picture writing prompt

A picture is worth a thousand words, and that’s certainly the case with visual writing prompts! 

Be it a simple object or a fantastical scene, a picture is all it takes to spark a child’s imagination. 

That’s why I love picture writing prompts for kids who are learning how to write. 

They help alleviate the burden of not knowing where to start while providing creative flexibility for students to pen their own stories.

I especially like to use picture prompts for teaching descriptive writing. They encourage children to focus, study, and evaluate an image with all its colors and scenery, which naturally sparks more descriptive text.  

Creative Writing Exercises

get this picture prompt printable for free!

What is picture prompt writing.

If you’re unfamiliar with picture prompts, they are a type of writing prompt that uses an image to start a story. 

Students then create a story, using the picture as either the setting or simply a jumping off point. 

The benefit of visual writing prompts is that it gives students a place to start. Not only that, it encourages them to use more adjectives and write in more detailed sentences.

Most students need some guidance beyond “write about this.” The again, too many details can be overwhelming. 

Picture prompts give kids just enough information to act as a stress-free starting point, and from there, they can tell their own stories.

They aren’t necessary for every writing activity, but they’re a fun and simple way to spark creativity—and they often prompt students to think (and write!) outside the box.  

How to Use Picture Writing Prompts

Students who struggle to write may naturally gravitate towards picture prompts. 

In fact, picture writing for kids is particularly helpful for reluctant writers who struggle with expressing themselves in words.

The prompts can be paired with any number of writing activities, from freewriting to journal writing to creative writing.

Choosing pictures for kids to write about will largely depend on the skill level and age of your student.

As a general rule of thumb, you want to use the most interesting pictures for writing prompts you can find.

As kids get older, their writing world expands, so their prompts can be more in-depth and structured.

You can even try using two unrelated prompts and have your students develop a story that incorporates both perspectives.

Here are a few more specific ways to use visual writing prompts:

1. Choose pictures that aren’t so clear-cut. Ambiguous images lead to more brainstorming, providing plenty of room for interpretation and creativity.

2. Give students ample time to look at and study the image. 

3. Give them 5-10 minutes to write everything they can think about when they look at the picture. 

4. Use the 5 Ws to start the conversation. This encourages young writers to look closely for clues about a possible storyline.

5. You can also give them a series of pictures for story writing . This is a great option for older elementary up to middle school students. 

As you can see, picture prompts are pretty open-ended. You can tweak and use them whichever way works best for your student. 

Want to try using picture prompts?

We’ve provided 20 creative, engaging visual prompts below.

Have fun! 

For more writing fun, try these fall-themed prompts , winter writing prompts , or one-sentence story starters .

20 Picture Writing Prompts for Kids

The icebreaker.

ice breaker picture prompt

The Gardener and the Magical Plant 

the magic plant picture prompt

Adventures Of The Dive Club

adventures in the ocean picture prompt

The Lion and the Lost Lambs

the lion and the lamb picture prompt

Runaway Cow

curious cow picture prompt

Sunset at the Meadow

creative writing using pictures

A Kitty of a Different Kind

a special kitty picture prompt

The Missing Plane

the missing plane visual writing prompt

Best Friends in a Snowstorm

two birds in a snowstorm picture prompt

The Icky Sticky Ice Cream Cone

the icky sticky ice cream cone picture prompt

A Bug’s Life

bug's life picture prompt

The Secret Spy Frog

the secret spy frog picture prompt

The Surprise of a Lifetime

the surprise of a lifetime picture prompt

The Hidden House in the Woods

hidden house in the woods picture prompt

Beneath the Waves

beneath the waves picture prompt

The Boy and the Giant Roly-Poly Pumpkin

the giant mystery pumpkin picture prompt

The “Cat-tastrophe” Shower

the cat who didn't want to shower picture prompt

World-Famous PupStar

the world famous puppy picture prompt

The Sinking House

the sinking house picture prompt

The Dinosaurs and the Broccoli Forest

dinosaurs in a broccoli forest picture prompt

Download and Print FREE Picture Prompts (PDF)

No matter what grade your kids are in, they will love these fun (and often funny!) elementary picture writing prompts.  

The concepts are suitable for a wide age range and can be used by first graders all the way up to middle school students.

Now when you hear the dreaded, “ I have nothing to write about! ” just pull out these picture prompts, provide pencil and paper, and let your young writers create!

About The Author

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Jordan Mitchell


creative writing using pictures

10 Pictures as Writing Prompts to Spark New Ideas

If you’re a visual person, pictures as writing prompts may get your creative juices flowing better than a written prompt. Try these pictures as writing prompts on for size.

Have you tried to come up with ideas for stories using writing prompts and not had much luck? That doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with your imagination. It could just be you’re using the wrong kind of writing prompt . When most people think of writing prompts, they think of a short sentence or paragraph, describing a situation. But in truth, there are other ways to trigger that spark of imagination – like using pictures as writing prompts.

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How images trigger imagination, writing prompts from pictures, 10 pictures as writing prompts.

Some people are what we call “visual learners.” That means they need to see something in order to be able to process it. For these folks, visual stimulation is more important than written stimulation. So it stands to reason that an image could cause a bigger spark in their imagination than a sentence.

You can use a picture writing prompt in the same way you would use a written writing prompt: as a spark to trigger a bigger idea. Use a writing prompt picture as a jumping off point. Look at the person in the picture, and think about how they got there. Or think about where they’re going. Look at the setting in the picture, and imagine what might have happened there—or what will. 

Once you start, you may find that the ideas are endless. So all you really need is that initial inspiration!

Want to give it a try? If you’re a visual learner, here are 10 images you can use as picture writing prompts.

1. Hands in a River

hands clawing cliffside

Dirty hands dig into the ground as a body emerges onto a riverbank out of the ocean. What horrific events led to this moment?

2. Busy City Street

back of person

A person stands in the middle of a busy city street with their back to us, looking down with their hands in their hair. What are they thinking about? Where are they headed?

3. Bored Child

sitting kid amongst legs

A child sits on the ground with his chin in his hand, looking glum, surrounded by standing adults. What is his imagination dreaming up?

4. The “Smile”

cyring girl with smile drawn

A woman in the dark with smudged black makeup holds a piece of paper in front of her mouth with a smile drawn onto it. What’s the backstory?

5. Desert Destruction

house full of sand

We see the inside of an abandoned house in the desert, with peeling walls and a hill of sand blocking a doorway. What events led to this? Where are the house’s former inhabitants?

6. Subway Drummer

drummer in subway

A man sits on a subway platform, playing a drum joyfully as a train goes by in the background, even though no one seems to be paying him any attention. What happens next?

7. Boy on a Bridge

kid on bridge

A young boy stands on a bridge, looking thoughtfully out at a river. Is he longing for a family member—or does he see a fantastical creature off into the distance?

8. Woman With Roses

cyring girl with flowers

A woman clutches a bouquet of roses and starts to cry. Why? The romance novel plots this photo could inspire are endless!

9. The Fire

man in front of fire

Two people stand in front of a fire, one of them hunched over in despair, the other masked and holding something in the air, looking triumphant. Is it a war? A protest? Something else entirely?

10. Misty Hand

misty window with handprint

A dark window is clouded over with mist, and a solitary handprint appears. Whose is it? What happens next?

What Sparked Your Imagination? 

Did any of these images spark the idea for a story for you? If one image doesn’t work for you, move on to the next. Remember it doesn’t have to come to you whole-cloth. Just write down a piece of it. Then the next piece. Then the next. Chances are, once you get going, you won’t be able to stop!

creative writing using pictures

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70 Picture Prompts for Creative Writing (with Free Slides)

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Visual writing prompts help young writers generate new ideas and overcome writer’s block. We’ve put together 70 picture prompts for creative writing that you can use in your writing centers or lesson plans to get your students’ creative juices flowing.


Picture Writing Prompts for All Ages

Writers of all ages and experience levels can get stuck thinking about what to write. Writer’s block is not just a challenge for reluctant writers. Even professional writers have days when they feel less than inspired.

Visual prompts can result in a vast array of story ideas. A single image viewed by ten writers will result in ten completely different stories. Even if you use verbal cues to get students thinking about the picture, each student will still write a unique response to the image.

Visual creative writing prompts are fantastic for elementary school because younger students often relate more to a pictorial prompt than a written one, but don’t shy away from using these with high school and middle school students as well. Pictures make a fun alternative to your typical writing prompts and story starters and can help shake up your regular routine.

How to Use Picture Prompts for Creative Writing

There’s no limit to the ways you can use writing prompts. Here are some of our favorite ways to incorporate image prompts into your writing times.

No matter how you decide to use them—whether at home or in the classroom—photographic writing prompts are a great way to cultivate a daily writing habit and encourage kids to explore new topics.

70 Pictures for Writing Prompts

We’ve selected 70 of the most interesting pictures we could find for this exercise. When choosing photos for writing prompts, we look for high-quality photos with intriguing subject matter, but we try to go beyond that. We want to share images that suggest a story, that make the viewer ask questions and wonder why things are the way they are.

We want to feel propelled to explore questions like, What happened before the photo that led to this moment? What are we witnessing in this photo? What’s about to happen?

A photo doesn’t make much of a story starter if it doesn’t suggest that there might be a bigger picture lurking beneath the surface.

We hope you and your students love these picture prompts for creative writing as much as we do. If you love them, go ahead and scroll to the bottom to grab your own copy.

We’ve included a couple of questions with each picture that you could use to spark pre-writing conversations in your classroom, which can be helpful when working with younger students who might need a little more direction.

creative writing using pictures

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Whose cat is this? What is he looking at? Where is he?

a cat sits alone against a blue wall

What is the owl thinking about? Is he alone? What does he hope to eat for dinner?

an owl sits outside

Who are these frogs? What is their relationship with each other? Why are they taking photos?

two toy frogs stand in a field. One takes pictures of the other.

How did the dog get a phone? Why is he taking selfies? What is he doing with the pictures he takes?

a dog lays on a field and takes selfies

This cat doesn’t look too happy. What’s bugging him? Did he get too many phone calls or is he waiting on an important call that’s taking too long to come?

a black and white cat sits beside a phone

What do these chicks think of the dog? What does the dog think of the chicks? Do you think they can communicate with each other? If so, what would they say?

a dog lies beside two chicks

Where do these lemurs live? What are they looking at? What is something unusual that might happen to them?

a lemur lies on a branch while another hides in the background

What is this fox doing? Is he yawning and stretching or is he trying to scare someone away? What kind of mischief does he like to get up to?

a fox stretches and opens its mouth

Is this wolf alone? If not, who is with him? What is he planning to do? Does he have a family to feed or protect?

a lone wolf stands in a misty clearing

What is this child doing on the laptop? Can he actually read and type or is he just playing? If he can read and type, how did he learn that at such a young age? What other cool things can he do?

a toddler wearing a toque and glasses types on a laptop

Where is this woman? Is she lost? How did she get to this street? What interesting things might she discover as she explores this new city?

a woman stands in an empty street holding a map

Why is the dog wearing glasses? Can he see through them? What are he and the girl doing? How does he feel about it?

a woman holds a dog. Both wear glasses.

Who are these two little boys? What is their relationship with each other? What is the teddy bear’s story?

two boys sit in a bath holding a teddy bear

Who are these children? Why are they running? Is it a race or are they playing a game? Who’s going to win?

a group of children run across a field

Whose horse is this? Does the little boy own it or does he just visit it? Can the horse talk? How does the boy feel when he’s with the horse?

a boy sits on a fence and feeds a horse

What is this boy reading? Does the book have magical powers? Does the boy? Do the stories in the book become real or does something else special happen?

a boy reads a book that has some magical elements in it

Where is this man? How did he get there? What is he looking for?

a man dressed like a pirate looks through a telescope

Who is walking over the bridge? What’s on the other side? Is it worth the risk?

a top-down view of a person crossing a bridge

What are these people doing on the elephant? Where are they? Are they tourists or is the elephant their pet? What would life with an elephant be like?

two people ride an elephant through a field

Who made this map? It looks old. Has it been hidden away for a long time? Who discovered it and how? What does it lead to?

an old map

Whose typewriter is this? What important or secretive thing might they be working on? What could happen if the wrong person finds their work?

an old typewriter

Who are these three stuffed animals? Are they living? What is their story?

the backs of three stuffed animals

Whose ukulele is this? Why did they leave it here? Who might find it?

a green ukulele sticks out of the sand

Where is the owner of the bike? Where does this path lead? What if the bike’s not there when the owner returns?

a bike leans against a wooden railing

Whose shoes are these? Why did they leave them here? Why are they so dirty?

a pair of dirty shoes in the mud

Who was reading the newspaper? What was the most interesting thing they read? Where have they disappeared to?

a stack of newspapers, a white cup, and a pair of glasses

Who put this sign on the old truck? What do you think of it? How did the truck end up in its current condition and location?

a deserted old truck

Who set the table? Who are they expecting? What special occasion are they celebrating? What could go wrong?

a fancy table setting

Whose birthday cake is this? Are they having a party? Who is there? Who did they want to have there that didn’t show up?

a birthday cake

Who lives here? How do they access their home? What is their life like?

a home surrounded by water

Who built the igloo? Where is it? How does it feel to spend the night inside it?

an igloo

What is the history of this castle? Who lives in it now? Does it have any special or magical features?

a castle

Is this barn abandoned or do people live on the property? What kind of animals might live here? How do they keep themselves entertained?

a big red barn

What is it like living on a houseboat? What kind of community do you think forms among the neighbors? Imagine you live on one of these boats and think about how your daily life might change. What interesting things could you do if you lived here? What would you miss the most?

a row of houseboats

Where is this hut? Who lives here? What mystery might unfold if a stranger came knocking at their door?

a round hut

What is this lighthouse called? Who runs it? How often do they leave? What is the most memorable experience they’ve had as a lighthouse operator?

a lighthouse

How did this house get here? Does anyone live in it? What would life be like here?

a house on a rock surrounded by water

Where is this festive street? Are the people there celebrating something? Where is everybody?

a colorful European town

Who lives here? How did they build this house? Are they hiding from something? What does it look like inside?

a hobbit house with a yellow door

Whose notebook is this? Why did they leave it here? What’s written in it and how might it change the life of the person who finds it?

a notebook lying on a beach

What are these women doing? What are they supposed to be doing? Will they be in trouble if they get caught?

two women playing on a piece of wood

Who might be represented in this statue? Why is she being pulled by lions? What amazing things might she have done to deserve a statue in this prominent place?

a statue of a woman being pulled in a carriage by two lions

Where is this? Who is riding in the hot air balloons? Where are they going and why?

hot air balloons fly over a town

How old is this tree? Where is it? What are some of the most fascinating stories it could tell?

an old oak tree

Where is this carousel? Who is riding it? Can you think of a special or strange story about how it came to exist in this particular place?

a woman rides a carousel

What are these people thinking about? What’s at stake for them? What happens if one of them sneezes?

tightrope walkers walk on tightropes

Where are these penguins? What are they talking about? Which one of them is the leader?

4 penguins stand in a huddle

What is this place? Was it designed to be open like this or was it once part of someone’s home or a public building? How have people’s opinions of this place changed over time?

a room with statues in it

Who are these kids? Is this what they’re supposed to be doing? What happens when their teacher sees them?

kids play around in a dance studio

Who is supposed to ride in this boat? Where are they going? Will they make it there?

a small boat with a fancy seat

Is this plane special to someone? What did they have to do to get it/build it? Where will they fly to in it?

a yellow plane

Who decorated this train car? Which passengers will fill it up? What will they talk about?

an upscale train car with fancy seats

Whose skis are these? Why are they sticking out of the snow? How did their owner get down the mountain without them?

two skis and two poles stick out of a snowbank

Where does this gondola go? Who rides it? How does it feel to ride it?

a gondola

Who’s driving the monster truck? Why is it at the beach? What is it going to crush? Who is watching?

a monster truck does tricks on a beach

Where is the boat going? Who is on it? What is their mission?

a ship sails away from shore

What city is the helicopter flying over? Why? Is the driver looking for something specific or do they have a special delivery?

a helicopter flies over a city

What’s the little boy doing in the boat? Is he alone or is someone with him? Where is he trying to go?

a little boy holds an oar in a boat

Who is in the sub? What’s it like inside? What are they doing?

a submarine

Whose book is this? What’s it about? What’s happening to it?

a book that has water flowing out of it

How did that piece of land with the house on it break off from the rest of the world? Why? Where is it going? Is anyone in the house?

a fantasy graphic with a piece of land separating from the earth and floating away

Who is this girl? Where is she? Who is she shooting at?

a woman in the woods shoots a bow and arrow

Where does this scene take place? Is the lizard/dragon good or bad? What is its relationship with the girl?

a girl standing on the tip of a cliff pats the nose of a giant lizard

What do these books represent? What kind of world is this? What (or who) is inside the books?

a row of books designed to look like houses

What are these dinosaurs discussing? Where are they? What do they do for fun?

two dinosaurs

Whose cottage is this? Do they still live there? If not, where have they gone? If so, what do they do there?

a fairy tale cottage in the woods

What is the moth thinking about? Is it alone? What’s the biggest challenge it faces in this moment?

a moth on a flower

Who is the owl looking at? Has it read these books? What is its greatest talent?

an owl wearing beside a stack of books

Where are these trees? Why are they pink? Do they have any special powers or features?

trees in a wood covered with something pink

What do you think? Which kind of pictures do you like best for creative writing prompts ? Let us know in the comments.

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creative writing using pictures

Ideas, Inspiration, and Giveaways for Teachers

We Are Teachers

Try These Picture Writing Prompts To Inspire Creativity in Students

Use a picture to write a thousand words!

Jill Staake

Creative writing is a challenge for many students, often because they can’t come up with anything to write about. That’s why we love picture writing prompts. Each one sparks the imagination and helps young writers jump right into crafting a story to match. We’ve rounded up a whole collection of intriguing images for use with kids in grades K-12.

Tip: Start by showing students the picture (or let them choose from among several) without making any comment about what they’re seeing. For kids who still struggle to get started, suggest a potential title or opening sentence, like the examples included here.

Elementary Picture Writing Prompts

Middle school picture writing prompts, high school picture writing prompts.


When kids first see these picture writing prompts, they may or may not immediately feel inspired. If they need some help, ask them questions like “What led up to this moment?” or “What’s going to happen next?”

Finally Seeing Eye to Eye

Cartoon illustration of a large bear with a tiny mouse standing on its nose, looking into its eyes (Picture Writing Prompts)

“So, we meet at last, face to face,” Lord Squeakerton said to his enemy, the Count of Catnip.

Monkey face with mouth and eyes open in surprise

It takes a lot to surprise a monkey, but you don’t see something like this every day.

Not Coming Out

Child hiding behind a heap of pillows on a beige couch (Picture Writing Prompts)

The day started out normally enough, but by the end, Chris knew he was in over his head.

Life on Other Planets

A space scene showing a robot and robot dog standing on the surface of an alien planet, with a domed habitat behind them

“Hurry up,” Grnklor told his robopup. “We have to get back inside before nightfall.”

Reindeer Games

Boy leading a reindeer along a snowy path into the setting sun (Picture Writing Prompts)

The wind had died down, but the setting sun seemed to take all the warmth of the day with it.

Something to Celebrate

A young boy raises his arms in triumph as a young girl points at a computer screen, smiling (Picture Writing Prompts)

Their classmates could hear their shouts of joy from all the way down the hall.

Home Sweet Mushroom

Illustration of a mushroom turned into a house, with a fence and lighted windows, under a full moon

When the fairies that lived in the garden invited her to stay with them for awhile, Maria wasn’t sure what to expect.

Loch Ness Mystery

Model of the Loch Ness Monster rising from a lake

“There it is! I told you, Nessie is real!” Angus whispered to Lee.

Lonely Bear

Worn teddy bear sitting on a stone bridge

It was hard to say who was lonelier that night, Amil or his lost stuffed bear, Jasper.

Sometimes You Lose

Boy sitting on the ground with his face in his hands

When his team lost the championship, Miguel was crushed, but it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to him.   

Middle school writing prompts can be a little more complex, with pictures that have a lot of potential interpretations. Encourage students to delve deeper into the story by describing how the characters feel and why they behave the way they do.

Octopus’s Garden

Diver encountering a large octopus with fish in the background (Middle School Picture Writing Prompts)

Wouldn’t you like to be under the sea, in an octopus’s garden in the shade?

Around the Corner

Girl peering around a corner at a boy walking a dog

After finally pressing “send,” she couldn’t resist peeking around the corner to watch him read the text.

Beam Me Up!

Small child sitting in a field watching a flying saucer beam up its tricycle (Middle School Picture Writing Prompts)

Milo’s earliest memory was of watching his beloved tricycle float into the sky above him, caught in a beam of light.

Giraffe Council

Three giraffes shown from the neck up against a cloudy blue sky

“It is now 3 p.m., and I call this meeting of the Mighty Council of Giraffes to order,” announced Imari.

Woman leaping across a chasm silhouetted by an orange sky

As the sky turned orange, Keisha ran faster than ever, and used the last of her energy to push off and soar over the water below.

The End of Days

A boy stands with his bicycle watching as bombs rain down on a city skyline (Picture Writing Prompts)

Despite their best efforts, they arrived too late—the battle had already begun.

Do Shoes Grow on Trees?

A bare tree covered with hanging pairs of shoes against a clear blue sky

The day I threw my own shoes into the tree was the day I really started to grow up.

Wandering Robots

Small cardboard robot in a field of daisies (Picture Writing Prompts)

Everything about NB-317 was made of cardboard, except his heart—that was made of flesh and blood, and very capable of being broken.

Dream Come True

Blue house floating in the sky above mountains, held up by blue balloons

It all started when Quinn watched her favorite movie the night before they assigned partners for the eighth grade science fair project.

Storm at Sea

A pirate ship on stormy seas, with a purple sky and dramatic streaks of lightning

As the rain lashed his face and lightning tore apart the sky, Kiran had to admit he’d always thought it would be a lot more fun being a pirate.   

High school writers are ready to dig deep, exploring character development and detailed plots. These pictures offer a jumping-off point to set their imaginations free.

First Contact

Alien figure with a human in a spacesuit visible in the window behind them (High School Picture Writing Prompts)

This was it—the moment that would change what it meant to be human forever.

One Life to Live

An old man wearing a cowboy hat sits in front of a house (Picture Writing Prompts)

His face said his life had been a hard one, but his eyes told a different tale.

Winter Walk

Snow-covered field with a winding trail of footprints

Snow fell, creating a blank canvas to record the story of that fateful walk.

Modern Mary Poppins

Woman standing in the middle of a wheat field on a gray day, holding an umbrella and bag

She dropped into our lives on a gray day in midwinter, a hint of the spring that was to come.

All That Remains

A chair sits in the hallway of an abandoned building under a shaft of light from above (High School Picture Writing Prompts)

Dust motes filled the air of the abandoned hallway, replacing the voices once heard there.

The Question

Figure holding flowers behind its back, with a woman turning to look in the background

Their happily ever after began quietly, with a bouquet of wildflowers.

Night Lights

A person holding an umbrella walks down an alley toward a street filled with neon lights

Misty rain both blurred and emphasized the lights that lit Suri’s way home that evening.

Forest of Fear

Black and white photo of tree trunks with arms and hands reach out from behind them (Picture Writing Prompts)

At first, Mateo thought it was a joke, but the screams that followed told him there was nothing remotely funny about it.

The Yellow Door

A row of white doors with one yellow door (Picture Writing Prompts)

On their 14th birthday, every resident of Fresnia was required to stand before the Wall of Doors and make a choice.

On the Rails

Woman standing on railroad tracks holding a guitar and looking off into the distant sunset (Picture Writing Prompts)

Aliyah stood on the tracks, uncertain of where to go next.

How do you use picture writing prompts in your classroom? Come share ideas and ask for advice in the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook .

Plus, check out how we can use writing time to nurture sel skills ..

These picture writing prompts are a unique way to excite young creative writers. Find options for all grades on a variety of subjects.

Jill Staake is a Contributing Editor with WeAreTeachers. She has a degree in Secondary English Education and has taught in middle and high school classrooms. She's also done training and curriculum design for a financial institution and been a science museum educator. She currently lives in Tampa, Florida where she often works on her back porch while taking frequent breaks for bird-watching and gardening.

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creative writing using pictures


Images to Inspire

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creative writing using pictures

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creative writing using pictures

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creative writing using pictures

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Daily Quick Writes Picture Writing Prompts Narrative Opinion Paragraph Writing

Daily Quick Writes Picture Writing Prompts Narrative Opinion Paragraph Writing

The Little Ladybug Shop

Also included in:  Daily Quick Writes Spring Winter Fall Picture Writing Prompts 3rd 4th Grade

Writing Center: Build-A-Story with Creative Writing Picture Prompts

Writing Center: Build-A-Story with Creative Writing Picture Prompts

Teacher Gems

Also included in:  Writing Centers Bundle #1

Writing Picture Prompts - BUNDLE - Including 25 Winter Writing Prompts

Writing Picture Prompts - BUNDLE - Including 25 Winter Writing Prompts

Christina Winter - Mrs Winter's Bliss

Funny Animals Picture Prompts for Narrative Writing - Distance Learning

The Kinder Kids

Also included in:  Funny Picture Prompts for Narrative Writing BUNDLE

Photo Picture Daily Writing Prompts - Morning Work - Journal Writing Task Cards

Photo Picture Daily Writing Prompts - Morning Work - Journal Writing Task Cards

Hubbard's Cupboard

Also included in:  280 Daily Writing Prompts - Fun Morning Work - Photo Picture Writing Task Cards

Finish the Picture: Drawing and Writing Prompts

Finish the Picture: Drawing and Writing Prompts

Mr L's Classroom

Picture of the Day: 180 Writing Prompt Photos to inspire Creative Writing Daily!

Happy Teacher Happy Students

Also included in:  Morning Meeting Bundle: Conversation Starters, Trivia, Jokes & Photos {30% off}

Editable Funny Picture Writing Prompts | March Writing Prompts

Editable Funny Picture Writing Prompts | March Writing Prompts

HoJo's Teaching Adventures

ESL Writing Activities With Picture Prompts

A Classroom for All Seasons

Picture Prompts 1 - Leveled Journal Writing for Special Education - Pack 1

Breezy Special Ed

Also included in:  Picture Journal Prompts BUNDLE {Leveled Writing} for special education



Simply Educational Activities

Daily Quick Writes Spring Winter Fall Picture Writing Prompts 3rd 4th Grade




Funny  Picture Prompts for Narrative Writing BUNDLE

Funny Picture Prompts for Narrative Writing BUNDLE

Picture Writing Prompts - DIFFERENTIATED Prompts with Self Editing

Picture Writing Prompts - DIFFERENTIATED Prompts with Self Editing

Picture Writing Prompts for Beginning Writers

Picture Writing Prompts for Beginning Writers

Melissa Moran

Also included in:  Labeled Picture Writing Prompts Bundle

Sentence Writing with Picture Prompts

Sentence Writing with Picture Prompts

Sarah Paul

Picture Journal Prompts BUNDLE {Leveled Writing} for special education



Presto Plans


Respond to a Picture Prompt Sentence Writing for the Google Classroom

Respond to a Picture Prompt Sentence Writing for the Google Classroom

Mercedes Hutchens

Also included in:  BUNDLE: Respond to a Picture Prompt Sentence Writing for the Google Classroom

Spring Picture Writing Prompts and Sentence Starters

Spring Picture Writing Prompts and Sentence Starters

Amy Murray - Teaching Exceptional Kinders

Also included in:  Writing Prompts with Sentence Starters Bundle

How-To Narrative Opinion Picture Writing Prompts 2nd 3rd Grade Literacy Centers

How-To Narrative Opinion Picture Writing Prompts 2nd 3rd Grade Literacy Centers

Also included in:  Early Fast Finisher Choice Boards Spelling Word Work Picture Writing Prompt Menu

Labeled Picture Writing Prompts Bundle

Labeled Picture Writing Prompts Bundle

Early Fast Finisher Choice Boards Spelling Word Work Picture Writing Prompt Menu

Early Fast Finisher Choice Boards Spelling Word Work Picture Writing Prompt Menu

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85+ Picture Writing Prompts For Kids (+ Free Printable)

A picture is worth a thousand words. So how many words can you write for these 85 picture writing prompts for kids and grow-ups alike! Pictures, whether something as simple as an apple or as complex as an action scene can spark the imagination in more ways than one.

Of course, when looking at pictures you can take the literal route, and describe whatever you see in front of you. Or you can explore your imagination, and think about the ‘What Ifs..’ of a picture. What if that person is actually upset? What if this picture is of a broken family? What if the world looked like this years ago? A picture can have so many hidden meanings and can hide so many secrets. The slightest detail could mean everything. Just imagine you’re a detective solving a crime from one picture alone. Examine every detail, write it down and think why? Only then can you fully understand a picture.

For more inspiration take part in our daily picture writing prompt challenge . Each day you will be given a new picture prompt to write about.

Picture Prompt Generator

In this post, we have included a mix of simple pictures, story picture prompts, photographs, fantasy images and even some action-packed images.

You can find the complete list of our picture writing prompts below. We’ve also created a smaller PDF version that includes 30 random picture prompts. Download the printable PDF here .

You might also be interested in the following posts:

150 Picture Prompts To Inspire

Over 85 picture prompts for creative writing, story-telling and descriptive writing assignments:

picture writing prompt 1

How to Use these Prompts

Picture prompts are the perfect writing stimulus especially when you hit writer’s block . Here are a number of ways you can use these picture writing prompts to spark your imagination:

These are just some ways to use images as writing prompts. You can also check our post on 8 fun story-telling games using image prompts for more ideas.  Did you find our picture writing prompts useful? Let us know in the comments below!

picture writing prompts

Marty the wizard is the master of Imagine Forest. When he's not reading a ton of books or writing some of his own tales, he loves to be surrounded by the magical creatures that live in Imagine Forest. While living in his tree house he has devoted his time to helping children around the world with their writing skills and creativity.

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Teacher's Notepad

16 Visual Writing Prompts

A picture says a thousand words, or so the saying goes more or less.

And there is something to that for sure – we all know it.

We have all experienced it – looking at a striking image which immediately conjures up a story in our mind.

So let’s take advantage of our extremely visual brains, and use a range of very different images to inspire the creative process, and get interesting unique stories started in no time at all!

Why use these?

However you find inspiration to write a story can be useful.

Visual prompts are fantastic to help spark a creative direction for a new story you or your students are writing.

As with any learned skill, the more time we put into the art of writing, the better we’ll become.

So, encourage writing every day, through the whole range of methods we’ve got here for you to use for free!

How to use these prompts:

The point is – there is no hard and fast rule to inspiration.

And that’s just it after all, it’s all about getting inspired so that the story just flows directly out of the writers mind.

So let’s get into it.

UPDATE: You’ll also want to check out our latest collection of picture prompts – I just know you’ll love them.

Here are a selection I hope you’ll enjoy…

16 Visual Writing Prompts:

creative writing using pictures

creative writing using pictures

Tree House Island

creative writing using pictures

Kayak Trip Into The Unknown

creative writing using pictures

Lake Swing Jump

creative writing using pictures

Dog In Disguise

creative writing using pictures

Hot Air Balloon Convoy

creative writing using pictures

Waterfall Adventurer

creative writing using pictures

Monkey Guard

creative writing using pictures

Dog River Crossing

creative writing using pictures

Boy’s Jungle Hut

creative writing using pictures

Awkward Swamp Bird

creative writing using pictures

Ancient Ruins

creative writing using pictures

Underwater Adventure

creative writing using pictures

Strange Little House

creative writing using pictures

Cow Close Up

creative writing using pictures

Rock Climbing Escape

Happy writing to you all

I hope you found our visual writing prompts inspiring for your creative writing.

UPDATE: Check out our latest collection of picture prompts to inspire creative writing .

Please do check back regularly as we are releasing great new content several times a week.

Don’t forget to bookmark and Pin, and it would mean the world to us if you’d share this with your friends!

Thanks, Matt & Hayley

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  10. 16 Visual Writing Prompts

    So, encourage writing every day, through the whole range of methods we've got ... out our latest collection of picture prompts to inspire creative writing.