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Discover Photo Poetry: How to Write for Photos

Kimbally Torres is currently freelance writing for On the Map Marketing as a SEO Content Writer.

Photo poetry is different from picture poetry—and it's harder than it looks.

Photo poetry is different from picture poetry—and it's harder than it looks.

Photo Poetry Is Different From Picture Poetry

For me, some of the poems that tell the best stories are poems that are placed over photographs. This modern-day poetry style should not be confused with picture poetry, where a poem is “drawn” into shapes using words and punctuation. The best way to illustrate the difference is to through the following examples:

Photo Poem


Picture Poem


As you can see, there is quite a difference in the poems. Photo poetry uses an actual photograph, whereas picture poetry is a picture drawn with words. Both formats are beautiful to read, but I like using the photo format, which is what I discuss in this article.

How to Write a Photo Poem

There are two ways you can go about writing a photo poem. First, you can write a poem, anything that inspires you, then find a photo that matches what your poem is about. If you are using metaphors in your poem, your photo can also be a metaphor, telling a bigger story. Second, you can find a photo and then write a poem that goes with the photo.

As for my writing style, I like to write the poem first and then find a photo that goes with the poem. It always surprises me when I find the perfect photo to go with my poem.

Photo Poem


Where to Find Photos

Since I’m not a huge company, I like to use for free stock photos. If you have some money to spend, you can always go to a royalty stock photo site and pay for your photos. But, the photos on Pixabay are good quality and there is quite a selection.

You could also go a step further and take photos yourself. This will really add to your photo poetry project and bring out the fun.

How to Write a Poem

If you’ve never written a poem before, you might think photo poetry is not for you. But, I have a simple technique for writing your first poem if you still want to give it a try:

  1. Choose an already-written poem. It could be by someone famous or a friend.
  2. Select 10 words from the poem and cut them out with scissors.
  3. Start arranging and rearranging the words. Move them around until you find something that sounds good.
  4. Complete your poem. Keep the words in the order you feel is poetically sound, and type the poem in your computer.

You could also write a poem using all your own original words. Think of things that make you happy, sad, angry, joyous. Think of nature and animals. Remember your first kiss or first dance. Whatever it is that inspires you, write it down. Don’t be afraid you’ll get it wrong. There is no wrong in poetry.

Photo poetry is an excellent way to express yourself and be creative. It’s a way of putting two art forms together, photography and poetry, and creating your own masterpieces.


Puspendra singh on August 23, 2019:

Go on photo how to writing

RTalloni on April 04, 2017:

Using photos as poetry prompts would be so motivating. Thanks for sharing your process.

Kimbally Torres (author) from Ft. Lauderdale, FL on March 31, 2017:

You're welcome! Would love to see the poem you come up with!

Fiddleman on March 30, 2017:

So cool! Thanks for this novel way to write poetry!