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Image vs. Photograph: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 8, 2023
An "image" is a visual representation, while a "photograph" is an image specifically captured by a camera.

Key Differences

An image encompasses a broad range of visual representations, including photographs, illustrations, and digital renderings. A photograph, on the other hand, is a specific type of image created through photographic processes, either chemically with film or digitally.
An image can be a mental picture or a conceptual visualization, while a photograph is a tangible or digital capture of a scene.
The term "image" can refer to a likeness or depiction that isn't necessarily bound to the reality a photograph typically represents.
Photographs are considered a subset of images, specifically denoting a capture of life's moments, while the concept of an image is more abstract and all-encompassing.

Comparison Chart


A visual representation
An image taken with a camera


Can be digital, drawn, or mental
Typically digital or printed


Broader, ranging from art to icons
To capture real-life moments


Created or imagined
Captured through photography


May be abstract or fictional
Usually represents reality

Image and Photograph Definitions


A representation of the external form of a person or thing in art.
The artist painted a striking image of the city.


A picture made using a camera, where the image is recorded on film or by a digital sensor.
She took a beautiful photograph of the sunset.


A likeness of an object produced on a photographic material.
The x-ray showed an image of the fractured bone.


A digital image captured by a camera and stored electronically.
I uploaded the photograph from my camera to my computer.


A picture produced on an electronic display.
The image on the screen was crystal clear.


A printed picture developed from a photographic negative.
He found an old photograph of his grandparents in the attic.


A mental representation or idea.
He had an image of his childhood home in his mind.


A still image taken from a film or video, which captures a single moment.
The photograph from the movie scene became iconic.


The general impression that a person, organization, or product presents to the public.
The company is trying to improve its image.


A portrait made using photographic equipment.
They had their photograph taken by a professional photographer.


A representation of the form of a person or object, such as a painting or photograph.


An image, especially a positive print, recorded by exposing a photosensitive surface to light, especially in a camera.


A sculptured likeness.


To take a photograph of.


What's the difference between a digital image and a photograph?

A digital image is electronic, while a photograph can be digital or printed.

Can an image be a photograph?

Yes, a photograph is a type of image.

What is a photograph?

A photograph is an image specifically captured by a camera.

What is an image?

An image is any visual representation, which can be a photo, a drawing, or a digital graphic.

Is a photograph always a true representation?

Not necessarily, it can be altered or manipulated.

What's the role of images in social media?

Images are crucial for engagement and communication in social media.

How do images affect public perception?

Images can influence how people perceive an individual, event, or brand.

Are all images photographs?

No, images include a wide range of visuals, not just photographs.

Can a photograph be used as evidence?

Yes, photographs are often used as evidence because they document reality.

What's a mental image?

A mental image is a picture one forms in their mind.

How has the definition of a photograph changed with digital technology?

Digital technology has expanded the definition to include images captured electronically.

What's a vector image?

A vector image is created with paths, not pixels, and is scalable without losing quality.

How does a photograph represent reality?

It captures a real-life moment as it appears.

Can an image be abstract?

Yes, images can be abstract or representational.

Are photographs always colored?

No, they can be in black and white or color.

Are images used in marketing?

Absolutely, images are central to advertising and branding.

Can images be three-dimensional?

Yes, images can be 3D renderings or holograms.

How do you create a photograph?

By capturing light with a camera onto a photosensitive surface or sensor.

Do photographs have artistic value?

Yes, photographs can be highly artistic and expressive.

Can a photograph be an image of an image?

Yes, for instance, a photograph of a painting.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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