What is the difference between photo and image?

  • 1
    Related: Difference between “picture” and “photo”.
    – RegDwigнt
    May 3, 2011 at 22:29
  • I saw it but I said photo and image not picture May 3, 2011 at 22:34
  • 1
    I saw that, hence "see this related link" and not "closed with extreme prejudice". (^_^)
    – RegDwigнt
    May 3, 2011 at 22:37
  • 10
    The more interesting question is the one both of these questions avoid: what's the difference between a picture and an image.
    – Marthaª
    May 3, 2011 at 23:44
  • I would say, an image is a mere representation which does not necessarily depict reality, (for example I also can have "an image of another person" in my mind), a picture is often more chosen for a more concrete representation. Though, a picture can be an image and an image can be a picture. Just "to picture" is a little more concrete than "to imagine".
    – skymningen
    Aug 14, 2013 at 6:05

5 Answers 5


A "photo" is something that was taken with a camera.

Short for "Photograph". Photo means 'light'.

An "image" is something generated or a representation of something in any other way. This can be a combination of different photos, part of a photo that has been greatly edited, or really, anything that has been made in Adobe Photoshop.

All elephants are gray things, but not all grey things are elephants. All photos are images, but not all images are photos.

  • 8
    More succinctly, a photo is a type of image created by a camera.
    – Marthaª
    May 3, 2011 at 23:43
  • 2
    photography = light writing
    – Mallow
    Nov 13, 2012 at 7:02
  • 1
    @Marthaª , but What is the difference between "image" and " picture " ?
    – FNH
    Aug 30, 2013 at 17:26

Every photo is also an image, but not every image is a photo. An image can also be a drawing, a vector graphic, a bitmap file, many more. The distinction also very much depends on the context. In software, images and photos belong to the same group of objects and behave similarly, for example when placing an image/photo into a document or on a web site.

  • I like the examples and other supporting information, and in some ways it reads better than MikeVaughan's answer. However, I do think it's worth mentioning that a photo (in principle) comes from a camera.
    – John Y
    May 4, 2011 at 2:43
  • A bitmap file is a file type, i think you meant a Raster Image, in contrast to a Vector Graphic. as a jpeg and a bitmap are both raster image formats.
    – Justin808
    May 4, 2011 at 2:59

Photo: A representation of a person or scene in the form of a print or transparent slide; recorded by a camera on light-sensitive material Image: A visual representation (of an object, scene, person or abstraction) produced on a surface.

from wordweb dictionary.


1) photo related to camera and image related to sensor scanning system.

2) photo is the exact representation of objects and image is the similar representation of objects in any way.

3) so all photos are images and all images are not photos.

  • 1
    Better to say: "Not all images are photos."
    – GEdgar
    Aug 14, 2013 at 1:34
  • “Sensor-scanning system”? Since when is film one of those new-fandangoed buzztoys, let alone a camera obscura?
    – tchrist
    Aug 14, 2013 at 3:27

Images of the Virgin Mary, Jesus, St. Joseph, and all other imaginary saints are images I remember from my schooldays at the Grey Nuns convent in my hamlet. They do not represent real people or real situations or real scenes.

  • Maybe it would be better to explicitly say that "all photos are images, but not all images are photos", and then support that with your convent example?
    – Dan Bron
    Jul 31, 2015 at 17:13
  • @DanBron would that improve the quality of this answer in any way? Jul 31, 2015 at 17:23
  • I think so: it would make the fundamental premise of your answer clear.
    – Dan Bron
    Jul 31, 2015 at 17:24
  • @DanBron - I'm not the author. I'm questioning whether this answer is salvageable (or worth being saved), with its veiled combative tone toward religion, without any citations or supporting evidence. Jul 31, 2015 at 17:34

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