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Please tell me, is there any difference when saying take his photo and take a photo of him? To me, the first one sounds awkward.

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  • A native speaker (AmE at least) would say, "Take his picture" instead.
    – Jim
    May 11, 2012 at 7:23

2 Answers 2

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"Take his photo" implies to me that it could be for a specific purpose or part of a process (for a journalistic reason, for documenting something, etc.):

The police took his photo, then took his fingerprints.

Last week at school, they took my photo for the yearbook.

"Take a photo of him" is used when it's done more in the casual, spontaneous sense of photography:

We took a photo of the protesters during the demonstration.

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Both are possible, depending on context. In BrEng both 'picture' and 'photo' occur (but you don't often hear 'snap' any more.)

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  • True but, whereas "take a photo of him" necessarily indicates that the object of the image is this unidentified man, "take his photo" may also mean "an image which belongs to him or which he has taken" but which shows something completely different. Am I wrong about it?
    – Paola
    May 11, 2012 at 10:37
  • @Paola: Yes, but only context would tell which was intended. May 11, 2012 at 11:57
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    You are correct, @Paola, but the most likely usage for "take his photo" is the act of using a camera, not carrying a print away from him. Likewise when you "take a shower", you could always be a plumber delivering some bathroom fixtures, but more likely you're just getting cleaned up.
    – JeffSahol
    May 11, 2012 at 11:58
  • @JeffSahol that cracked me up!
    – Jelila
    Jan 20, 2019 at 5:19
  • It's quite interesting to me that "to take a likeness" is an 18th and early 19th century term for drawing or painting a portrait see here and that this transferred to photography so completely that we now say "painted" or "drew" a portrait if no camera was involved.
    – BoldBen
    Jan 20, 2019 at 15:02

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