A picture has a lot of meaning

Everybody knows the thousand year old cliche, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” but I don’t think we actually think about how true it actually as. There’s so much that a photo can show that couldn’t be done justice with only words.

We were tasked with doing a close read of an image (one we might use in our e-portfolio) and analyzing what everything in that photo meant. That includes its composition, lighting, body language of the subject, subjects of the photo, and a lot more stuff.

I chose this photo (which also happens to be my Facebook photo):

It’s me at Harry Potter World in front of Hogwarts. I thought this would be fitting for an “about me” picture. I think the lighting is great, and you can see the sunlight hitting my face.

I’m not the focus of the photo. Instead, the photo is aligned in a way where the background takes up most of the focus. Mainly because in this moment the photo wasn’t really about me, but it was about the place I was at. That moment was about me being AT Harry Potter World.

Interestingly enough, the outfit I’m wearing is similar to the other colors in the background. I’m wearing a mint green top that goes well with the blue sky and the green trees in the back. I think it adds to the overall cohesion in the photo (if there is such a thing as having a cohesive photo). It feels very balanced.

You can’t see the entire details of my face, but I’m definitely smiling which suggests that this is a good moment in my life. I think that’s also inferred by where I’m at. It suggests that I’m on vacation, it’s also a happy time in my life.

I guess one thing is that not everybody would know this is Harry Potter World. I’m not sure that if I saw this in the background of someone else’s picture I would know where this is without a caption. I don’t think that’s an issue if I were to use this in my e-portfolio because it isn’t showing off my travels, but just showing a picture of me and who I am.

I think the image communicates that I’m an easygoing person, just from the smile. Maybe even that I like nature based on how many trees there are in the background. I think the image conveys me as a pretty approachable person.

Looking at all these aspects of the photo, I’m not sure if I will end up using it because I have a few other pictures, but I do like this one. I plan my audience for the e-portfolio to be employers, and I don’t think it’s an issue that they would see this. It’s not a full professional head shot, but it’s a personal one that shows who I am. With many employers stressing the importance of work-life balance, I don’t think they would perceive this photo in any bad way.


Doing a close read of an image is helpful especially when putting it on the web for potential important people to see. Even if you’re just putting a photo on Facebook or Instagram, it’d be good to think about what this picture shows about who you are as a person. A picture does say a lot.

Melody Ng

Melody is currently a senior studying business.

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