Comparing Two Photos

This exercise is to practise comparing two photographs. This is a common activity used in English level tests like the FCE or Aptis. If you are looking for a guide to describing a photograph, check out this masterclass.

Comparing Photos or Pictures

Comparing two pictures, images or photos is a skill that tests many different abilities and skills in English. This is why it is such a popular task in many English language assessments like the Atpis or the FCE use it to evaluate a speaker’s use of English.

Be careful with the difference between describing photos and comparing photos. Some evaluations require that candidates describe a photo. If that’s what you need to do, then check out our complete guide to describing photos and pictures. However, comparing photos or pictures is different. As a general guide, when comparing photos and pictures, a speakers should:

  • Concentrate on the similarities and differences between the pictures.
    • What do the pictures have in common? Do they have a common theme or activity?
    • In what ways are the images different? how might the experience of the people in the images be different?
  • Speculate about what is happening,
    • Talk about what people are doing and
    • talk about what relationships any people in the picture may have to each other
    • Speculate about why the photo was taken.

Exercise 1

Compare the two photographs.

Do you ever do any gardening? If not, is it something that you would like to do?

Sample answers.

Both photographs seem to show people gardening. The first photo shows two people in work clothes, specifically high-visibility jackets working by what looks like a memorial in a park. They appear to be planting some flowers or pulling up some weeds. The second photo shows a woman watering some plants with a watering can. She is wearing a summer dress, so doesn’t seem to be a professional gardener or worker, but looks to be tending to her own private garden, so maybe gardening is her hobby.

In the first picture the gardeners are working together, but in the second picture the woman looks like she is working alone.

It looks like the two people gardening in the first photo are professionals, while the woman in the second photo looks like she is a hobbyist or enthusiast. I’d imagine that the people in the first picture are working for money, or maybe volunteering, whereas the woman in the second picture is probably just looking after her own garden.

Exercise 2

Compare the two photographs.

When do you read? Do you read mostly for pleasure or for work and study?

Exercise 3

Compare the two photographs.

What would be your ideal place to eat out?

Exercise 4

Compare the two photographs.

Do you prefer travelling to remote and rural places or taking city breaks?