¿Qué hay en la foto?

Learn how to approach the first question of both AQA and EDEXCEL Photo Card: ¿Qué hay en la foto?

You can watch this video to learn all about how to answer the question “¿Qué hay en la foto?” or “Describe la foto” and you can print this post to have the info detailed in the video.

If you are a UK school student and you are taking the AQA or EDEXCEL GCSE Spanish exam soon, don’t miss our section GCSE Spanish to find out more tips and useful resources. You may read our post on the Speaking exam in general click here.

Introduction to “¿Qué hay en la foto” task

qué hay en la foto , photo card....

The GCSE Spanish exam AQA and Edexcel, consists of 4 different parts (papers), each one on a different skill. Speaking is one of these 4 parts, and it is called Paper number 2. As the other papers, Paper 2 (speaking) weights 25% of the total Spanish GCSE.

There are 3 different parts in the Speaking exam plus the preparation time :

  • Preparation time
  • First: role play
  • Second: photo card
  • Third: General conversation including two different parts (2 themes)

There are 5 questions in the Photo Card. The first question will always be ¿qué hay en la foto?. You can master this question by using the PALMOW Tecnique as explained in our post and video ¿qué hay en la foto? You can suscribe for free to our website and have the PALMOW sheet you sent to you completely free. Please click HERE


The first question in the Photo Card is ¿Qué hay en la foto? or Describe la foto, and that is what this post is going to be focusing on.

Remember the photocard will be on one of the two themes you have not chosen for conversation.

You may start with….. En la foto hay……

How to know what to say: The PALMOW technique

The PALMOW technique will help you work out what to say. Please try to say at least 4 things out of the 6 we propose.

PALMOW is a word in which each letter stands for one of the 6 things you should be saying about the photo shown in the photo card: (1) P stands for People or Places, (2) A stands for Action, (3) L stands for Location, (4) M stands for Mood, (5) O stands for Opinion, and W stands for Weather.

People or Places

Herewith we propose some options (see more in the video and guide):

•Una mujer/un hombre /Un chico/una chica/ Un niño/una niña

•Unas personas (mayores/jóvenes)

•Mucha gente


Always use está + gerund (one person) or están + gerund (two or more people). Examples (more in the video and the guide):

•Está(n) hablando

•Está(n) jugando

•Está(n) haciendo….. Turismo o Comida… o Deberes…


Always use “está” o “están” . Find a list of the useful ones in the video and the guide.


Always use “está” (one person) o “están” (two or more people). Or you may say “parece” or “parecen”….tristes, cansados, …. (see more examples on the video and the guide).


Give your opinion including “why” and “but….” (two sides opinions).


See more examples in the video and guide: hace buen tiempo, mal tiempo….

Where things are …

When you start describing what’s in the photo, you may add….

En la foto hay……..

– En primer plano (in the foreground)

– Al fondo (in the background)

– A la izquierda (to the left)

– A la derecha (to the right)

– Delante de (in front of)

Always add introduction phrases

Introduction phrases ……

•Me parece que…..(it seems that..)

•Diría que….  (I would say that)

•Pienso que/Creo que (I think that)

•Supongo que/imagino que (I presume that…)

•Me recuerda a (Reminds me of…)

Practice, practice, practice

In order to do our best in the exam we need to hit the target mentioned in these tips in only a few minutes. The only way we can master the Speaking exam is by practice, practice, practice. In this sense, don’t miss our workshops, in which we will go over a lot of examples online in live lesson. We also do one to one lessons which can be one-offs on whatever you need on GCSE. Please check our one to one lessons and the coming workshops here. You can suscribe to our website and youtube channel so you don’t miss any new videos.

We have lesson plans prepare for your students. Don’t miss the lesson plan for this lesson: Describe la foto lesson plan.

Continue learning….

To learn more about the Speaking exam in general click here.

Don’t miss our workshops. We organise group lessons and we go over a lot of examples. Click here to know more.

You can also check which books we recommend in The best GCSE books to learn.

You can learn more about the Spanish GCSE Exam in AQA website link and Pearson website link, the sources of this post together with the courses, experience and training of our teachers and tutors.

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