Audio Descriptions for Accessibility

Painting with sound

Sound is the primary modality for those with little or no sight to interact with the world. I’m often asked how those with no sight can watch a movie, many movies have an audio described soundtrack that explains the action on the screen clearly and concisely to the viewer. When applied to a visual medium like photography or a painting, these descriptions can offer a verbal narrative of the visual elements in a piece of art, painting a vivid mental picture for those who cannot see it themselves. As an artist, incorporating audio descriptions into your work means providing a bridge between your vision and their imagination. It also allows you an opportunity to see your art in a different way. Many artists come away from the creation of audio descriptions with a newfound appreciation for their own work.

Imagine a visually impaired individual standing in front of a magnificent painting. With the aid of an audio description, they can “see” the vibrant hues, the intricate brushwork, and the emotions evoked by the artwork. This not only enhances their experience but also grants them the freedom to form their interpretations and emotional connections with the piece. It’s a transformational experience that can be both empowering and emotionally resonant.

Where do you start?

I have found that the best person to describe the work is the artist. They invested their time into the piece, and quite often will be able to express the nuances of the composition better than someone who did not author the piece. I would encourage any artist to not only write the script for the audio description of the work, but also record it themselves. Someone who poured their time and passion into a piece is always going to bring more to a description, hands down. Recording can be done with a voice app on your smartphone, they don’t have to be recorded in a studio environment. An audio description with a bit of background noise is always better than nothing at all. High quality recordings can be done with a reasonably priced podcasting setup and the files can be hosted on a free website or someplace like dropbox. Don’t worry if you don’t have an announcer’s voice or sound professional, believe me, the passion you will infuse into the descriptions will mean more to those that are listening to it than you can imagine.

Check out our tutorial page if you would like to learn more about the basics of writing a script for an audio description, of a piece. There, you can also find some recording basics.


Ted, a stout man with a ponytail and glasses sits on a wooden bench with his black lab guide dog Fauna. They are both looking at the camera and both wearing hats. Behind them, a sunset sky with clouds can be seen over the peaks of the rocky mountains. Brown grass and snow can be seen behind them as well.

About the author

Ted Tahquechi is a blind photographer, travel influencer, disability advocate and photo educator based in Denver, Colorado. You can see more of Ted’s work at

Ted operates Blind Travels, a travel blog designed specifically to empower blind and visually impaired travelers.

Ted’s body-positive Landscapes of the Body project has been shown all over the world, learn more about this intriguing collection of photographic work at:

 Questions or comments? Feel free to email Ted at: 

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Twitter: @nedskee