What is the difference between photo and image?

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  • I saw it but I said photo and image not picture – Amirouche Douda May 3 '11 at 22:34
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    I saw that, hence "see this related link" and not "closed with extreme prejudice". (^_^) – RegDwigнt May 3 '11 at 22:37
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    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 '11 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 '13 at 6:05

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.

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    More succinctly, a photo is a type of image created by a camera. – Marthaª May 3 '11 at 23:43
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    photography = light writing – Mallow Nov 13 '12 at 7:02
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    @Marthaª , but What is the difference between "image" and " picture " ? – Fawzy Hegab Aug 30 '13 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 '11 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 '11 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.

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    Better to say: "Not all images are photos." – GEdgar Aug 14 '13 at 1:34
  • “Sensor-scanning system”? Since when is film one of those new-fandangoed buzztoys, let alone a camera obscura? – tchrist Aug 14 '13 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 '15 at 17:13
  • @DanBron would that improve the quality of this answer in any way? – GalacticCowboy Jul 31 '15 at 17:23
  • I think so: it would make the fundamental premise of your answer clear. – Dan Bron Jul 31 '15 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. – GalacticCowboy Jul 31 '15 at 17:34

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