You can use photos to develop ideas for creating characters.
Turn your imaginary characters into believable characters.
Use photos to establish physical characteristics
Look at images in magazines or in photo albums or online.
Choose an image for a character you want to develop.
Write a character sketch, just as an artist would draw with charcoal. Flesh out what your character looks like.
Add details that make your character unique and memorable: body shape, statuesque, angular, plump, scars, tattoos, piercings, lanky, a hulk, petite, piercing violet eyes, honey brown eyes, disarming smile, large ears, moles, hair style.
Craft your character’s personality
Analyze photos to build a personality for this character.
Is your character touching anyone in the photos?
Are they leaning towards anyone?
Note how their looks imply character traits: stoic, friendly, menacing, open-minded, pleasant, formidable, playful, serious.
A furrowed brow might indicate stress. Crow’s feet at the sides of the eyes could indicate someone who laughs often, or is frequently outdoors in the sun.
Expand your analysis
What feelings do you get when you look at your character in the photo?
Does their facial expression match their physical posture?
Imagine what happened right before the picture was taken.
Conjure up what happened right after photo was taken.
Who took the photo?
What is the photographer’s relationship to the person in the photo?
Images in school yearbooks
What do their photos and captions in their yearbooks say about them?
What is revealed in these photos? Is your character in any clubs or active in sports?
On the debate team? The newspaper or yearbook staff?
Bring your character to life
Look into the eyes of the character in the photo. What is the story behind the story?
What do their clothes say about them? Where did they shop for clothes? Did they make their own clothes?
Of course, jobs and hobbies are also important to invent a character.
How do they spend their time?
How do they spend their free days?
If they had a million dollars, how would they spend it?
How much schooling did they have?
What did they have for breakfast?
Use these ideas for starting points to produce original characters.
More prompts on character development.