Describe Your Favorite Photograph

IELTS Cue Card Sample Question – Describe Your Favorite Photograph

The IELTS Cue Card section also referred to as the IELTS Speaking Task 2, is one of the parts of the IELTS test that has caused a lot of stress and anxiety among those who have taken it. 

Why? It is because, for starters, you are asked to address a subject about which you may be unfamiliar.

Second, you only have a short amount of time to prepare. To make matters worse, you must speak for a longer period without being interrupted by the examiner. Fret no more! 

Sample responses to the cue card topic ‘Describe your favorite photograph.’ are provided in this post. Keep reading.  


What is the IELTS Cue Card Question?

The examiner will offer you a topic card in Part 2 of the IELTS Speaking Test. This card is called a cue card. A brief summary of a topic will be included on the card, and some suggestions for what to include.

The theme will be related to someone you know, an event you attended, or things you like. You have a minute to plan. You will be provided with a piece of paper and a pencil by the examiner so that you can jot down some ideas.

The examiner will invite you to begin your presentation after one minute, giving your speech. 

You have up to two minutes to speak without interruption from the examiner. The examiner will listen without speaking, although they may nod or gesture to encourage you to continue speaking. 

After your 2 minutes is over, the examiner will instruct you to stop and very certainly ask you 1-2 questions about the subject. You need to give short answers to these questions.


How to Answer this Specific Question: “Describe Your Favorite Photograph”

Topic/Question

Describe Your Favorite Photograph

Guidelines to answer this question

You should say:

  • Who or what in the photograph was/were
  • When it was taken
  • Where it was taken

and explain why you love this photograph.


  • Think of a photograph that you like the most. It could be a personal photograph or simply a photograph you have seen somewhere in the past. Whatever this photograph is, ensure that you have a vivid picture of how this photo looks so you can describe it well later on. 
  • The moment you have decided what photograph to discuss, stick to it. You only have a little time to prepare so you should not change your mind. 
  • Write down ideas right away. State what and who is in the photograph. Describe what it looks like and when and where it was taken. Discuss how you feel whenever you look at it and explain why it is your favorite photograph. 
  • Keep in mind that you should maximize the time given, so you should not write sentences. Just write keywords and phrases. 
  • Employ a wide range of advanced vocabulary. Utilize complicated grammatical structures too. This will amaze the examiner and will give you a good chance of receiving a high mark on this section of the examination.
  • Be as quick as possible when taking notes. Nonetheless, ensure that you will be able to understand what you have written later on. If the examiner cannot read what you wrote, that is alright. Your grade is determined by the content and delivery of your speech, not the quality of your penmanship.
  • You may take a quick look at your notes now and then. It is permissible. You will not be prevented from doing so by the examiner. That is, after all, why you have been given a pen and a piece of paper.

Sample Responses: “Describe Your Favorite Photograph”

Sample Response 1:

“Photographs are the most effective means of preserving memorable occasions in our lives. Over the course of my life, I’ve amassed a large collection of interesting photos. These were taken in various locations with various people and meant a lot to me. A photo of my family is the most memorable in my collection.

It was taken in March 2012, when my family gathered for the wedding of one of my cousins. We had all traveled to Delhi to attend a wedding and had a wonderful time. We were running late for the last day’s reception ceremony, and when the morning chaos had subsided, and the family elders had squabbled over minor issues, we were ready to depart. My grandfather’s next-door neighbor was a happy person who jokingly invited everyone to come for a family photo. We all obliged, and the photo was taken once everyone had calmed down.

It holds a particular place in my heart because it was the last photo of my entire family. My grandfather died a few months after the wedding, and my cousin went abroad to continue his studies. As a result, December 2010 was the last time we saw the entire family happy and together, and the photograph serves as a reminder of that wonderful moment.”


Follow-up Question 1: 

What do you think are the differences between today’s photography and that of the past? 

Response:

“Photography has obviously changed a lot. From strips of films that needed to be developed in darkrooms, we only needed a smartphone or a digital camera, and we could take photos anytime, anywhere. And we can take a lot of photos without having to worry we would run out of shots. It’s really cool.”


Follow-up Question 2:

Do you like photography? 

Response:

“Not really, I think I am not an artistic person, and I believe photography is for those who are creative and artistic. I do take photos from time to time but not as a hobby, but more as a requirement for something and for leisure. For example, when I go on a holiday, I take photos, but that’s it.”



Sample Response 2: 

“While looking through some old paperwork, I recently came upon an old photograph. From then on, it has become my favorite photograph.  A newlywed pair is depicted in the photo. This was a black-and-white photograph, and with the passage of time, some of its components have become ruined. Other people can be seen standing behind the couple in the photo, and everyone appears to be smiling. That was, I believe, the era when black and white photography was the norm.

This is the first photograph of my parents’ marriage. Yes, they are the couple in the photo.  It is one of the few photos of their wedding. Taking a photograph back then was both difficult and expensive. The photograph is around 30 years old. It’s printed on a unique type of paper. I’ve never seen black-and-white photographs printed before. As a result, it was a unique experience for me. When I inquired about the photography of their wedding, my mother became emotionally reliving that day. She can still vividly remember everything that happened on that special day. 

For me, this is a special photograph. It depicts how a wedding ceremony was held in the past. I’d always been curious about my family’s history, and my parents’ marriage was an essential factor in this. The photographer has taken the photo from the correct perspective, and all of the elements are evenly represented in the image. Despite its age, this photograph has a certain charm to it, and it makes me happy every time I look at it. That is why this is my favorite photograph.”


Follow-up Question 1:

What do you prefer when taking photos, a camera or a smartphone?

Response: 

“Well, I prefer to take photos using a camera. I actually own one right now, and I bring it with me every time; you’ll never know when you’ll need them. I feel more connected to the subject or whatever it is that I’m taking a photo of when I use my camera instead of a smartphone.” 


Follow-up Question 2:

You mentioned that you owned a camera earlier. What are your favorite subjects? 

Response: 

“I like taking photos of a lot of things, but on top of my list, I’d have to say nature. I love taking photos of the beach, fields, mountains, and even animals. They’re just so calm and relaxing to look at.”



Vocabulary List for Answering the Question: “Describe Your Favorite Photograph”

Below are some terms from the sample responses for the cue card topic Describe your favorite photograph.’ with their definitions and example sentences to guide you. 

WordPart of SpeechDefinitionExample Usage of
the Word in a Sentence
amassverbTo accumulate a great volume or number of valuable stuff or things over a period of time“Her works have helped her amass a sizable fortune.”
ceremonynounA formal religious or public ceremony, usually commemorating a significant event or anniversary“The ceremony began with a trumpet fanfare.”
chaosnounTotal disarray and perplexity“His abrupt departure wrought chaos in the office.”
charmnounThe ability or attribute of delighting or inspiring adoration“His charm is evident, yet I am still wary of him.”
darkroom nounA place where normal light is blocked out and where images are developed“He had his own darkroom and had always enjoyed photographing.”
depictverbA drawing, painting, or another form of art can be used to show or represent anything“The rock paintings depict stylized human, avian, and mythical figures and patterns.”
digitaladjectiveConnected to or involving the use of computer technology“She recently bought a brand-new digital camera.”
obligeverbTo assist or please someone, do as they ask or desire“The staff is always willing to oblige to the needs of the clients.”
obviouslyadverbClearly; in a manner that is clearly perceived or comprehended“He obviously hasn’t learned from his experiences.”
preserveverbTo keep anything in its current or original state“He was concerned about preserving his good name.”
reliveverbTo replay an experience or feeling “Last month, I relocated here to relive my childhood memories.”
ruinverbInflict severe and usually irreversible harm to; have a catastrophic effect on“The garage was ruined because of the cyclone.”
squabblenounA loud dispute about something minor or insignificant“A cent will not make a man squabble.”
subsideverbTo become less ferocious, violent, or savage“The sounds began to subside after a few minutes.”
vividlyadverbIn a way that elicits strong emotions or vivid images in the imagination“The novel vividly depicts what it was like to grow up during WWII.”

Additional Reading — IELTS Speaking Cue Card Questions


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