Educator Resources

Analyze a Photograph

Download the illustrated PDF version. (PDF)


Meet the photo.

  • Quickly scan the photo. What do you notice first?
  • Type of photo (check all that apply):
    Portrait Landscape Aerial/Satellite Action Architectural
    Event Family Panoramic Posed Candid
    Documentary Selfie Other
  • Is there a caption?

Observe its parts.

  • List the people, objects and activities you see.
    • PEOPLE:
    • OBJECTS:

Try to make sense of it.

Answer as best you can. The caption, if available, may help.

  • Who took this photo?
  • Where is it from?
  • When is it from?
  • What was happening at the time in history this photo was taken?
  • Why was it taken? List evidence from the photo or your knowledge about the photographer that led you to your conclusion.

Use it as historical evidence.

  • What did you find out from this document that you might not learn anywhere else?
  • What other documents or historical evidence are you going to use to help you understand this event or topic?

CC0 Materials created by the National Archives and Records Administration are in the public domain.