I was wondering whether it is correct to say 'this is my son's photo' meaning a photo of my son?

Can the phrase 'this is my son's photo' imply a photo in which one can see someone's son or can it only mean that the photo belongs to someone's son? Or are both options possible?

Thank you in advance!


My son's photo could mean 'a photo belonging to my son', but it will normally mean 'a photo of my son'. The context will in any case make it clear which is intended.


my son's photo could mean

  • a photo showing my son,
  • a photo belonging to my son
  • a photo taken by my son

or any combination of those meanings

a photo of my son can only mean

  • a photo showing my son

It's worth noting that there is a third genitive form. To describe all three:

My son's photo.

Could be both refering to ownership, or to what the photograph portrays. Which is intended could be clear in context, but may not be.

A photo of my son.

Refers to what the photo portrays.

A photo of my son's.

Refers to ownership.

This last form is arguably not a genitive form, but while the exact nature of its function is debated, it's validity is not, and this is a case that shows how it can be useful.


I think this is normal in spoken English. When you write, better write photos of my son.


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