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Picture vs. Photo: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
A picture is a general term for any visual representation, while a photo specifically refers to an image created using photographic processes.
Picture vs. Photo

Key Differences

A picture encompasses a broad range of visual representations, including drawings, paintings, and photographs. On the other hand, a photo (short for photograph) specifically denotes an image captured by a camera through the photographic process.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023
Pictures can be created through various artistic methods, such as sketching, painting, or digital illustration, offering a wide spectrum of artistic styles. Photos are the result of capturing real-life scenes or objects through a camera, relying on light and photographic technology.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023
The term "picture" can be used to describe both physical and digital representations, and it is not limited to reality; it can also include imaginative or fictional visuals. A photo, by definition, is a representation of a real scene or subject, captured through the lens of a camera.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023
Pictures have been a part of human expression since prehistoric times, evident in cave paintings and ancient drawings. Photography, and consequently photos, emerged in the 19th century with the development of photographic technology.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023
In terms of usage, "picture" is a more versatile term and can refer to any visual depiction, whether it’s a child’s drawing or a professional painting. "Photo" is more specific and is always associated with photographic images, whether in print or digital format.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Any visual representation
An image captured by a camera
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Dec 01, 2023

Creation Method

Can be drawn, painted, photographed
Captured through photographic process
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Dec 01, 2023

Relation to Reality

Can be real or imaginary
Represents real scenes or subjects
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Historical Emergence

Since prehistoric times
Since the 19th century
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Dec 01, 2023

Physical/Digital Form

Both
Both
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Dec 01, 2023
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Picture and Photo Definitions

Picture

A visual representation of a subject or scene.
She hung a picture of a landscape on her wall.
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Nov 22, 2023

Photo

Photo refers to photographic prints.
The old photo album was filled with black and white photos.
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Nov 22, 2023

Picture

Picture can refer to a painting.
The art gallery displayed an impressive array of pictures.
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Nov 22, 2023

Photo

Photo can denote a digital image.
She scrolled through the photos on her phone.
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Nov 22, 2023

Picture

A drawing can also be a picture.
The child's picture was proudly displayed on the refrigerator.
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Nov 22, 2023
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Photo

Photos are used in journalism.
The journalist captured a powerful photo of the event.
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Nov 22, 2023

Picture

A visual representation or image painted, drawn, photographed, or otherwise rendered on a flat surface.
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Oct 19, 2023

Photo

A photo is an image captured through a camera.
They shared a photo from their vacation online.
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Nov 22, 2023

Picture

A visible image, especially one on a flat surface or screen
The picture reflected in the lake.
Focused the picture on the movie screen.
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Oct 19, 2023

Photo

A photo captures real-life moments.
The photo of the sunset was breathtaking.
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Nov 22, 2023

Picture

A vivid or realistic verbal description
A Shakespearean picture of guilt.
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Oct 19, 2023

Photo

A photograph.
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

A vivid mental image.
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Oct 19, 2023

Photo

To photograph or take photographs.
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

A person or object bearing a marked resemblance to another
She's the picture of her mother.
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Oct 19, 2023

Photo

(informal) A photograph.
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

A person, object, or scene that typifies or embodies an emotion, state of mind, or mood
Your face was the very picture of horror.
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Oct 19, 2023

Photo

(informal) A photo finish.
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

The chief circumstances of an event or time; the situation
How does the new boyfriend figure in the picture?.
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Oct 19, 2023

Photo

(informal) A digital picture of any kind.
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

A movie.
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Oct 19, 2023

Photo

(transitive) To take a photograph of.
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

A tableau vivant.
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Oct 19, 2023

Photo

A contraction of Photograph.
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

To make a visible representation of
In this photo, the mayor is pictured with several aides.
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Oct 19, 2023

Photo

A picture of a person or scene in the form of a print or transparent slide; recorded by a camera on light-sensitive material
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

To form a mental image of; visualize
I pictured my grandfather as a young man coming to America.
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

To describe vividly in words; make a verbal picture of
Pictured their heroism in glowing language.
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

A representation of anything (as a person, a landscape, a building) upon canvas, paper, or other surface, by drawing, painting, printing, photography, etc.
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

An image; a representation as in the imagination.
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

A painting.
There was a picture hanging above the fireplace.
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

A photograph.
I took a picture of the church.
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

A motion picture.
Casablanca is my all-time favorite picture.
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

Cinema as a form of entertainment.
Let's go to the pictures.
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

A paragon, a perfect example or specimen (of a category).
She's the very picture of health.
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

An attractive sight.
The garden is a real picture at this time of year.
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

The art of painting; representation by painting.
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

A figure; a model.
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

Situation.
The employment picture for the older middle class is not so good.
You can't just look at the election, you've got to look at the big picture.
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

(MLE) A sample of an illegal drug.
If you want me to buy your weed I’ll need a picture.
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

(programming) A format string in the COBOL programming language.
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

(transitive) To represent in or with a picture.
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

(transitive) To imagine or envision.
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

(transitive) To depict or describe vividly.
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

The art of painting; representation by painting.
Any well-expressed image . . . either in picture or sculpture.
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

A representation of anything (as a person, a landscape, a building) upon canvas, paper, or other surface, produced by means of painting, drawing, engraving, photography, etc.; a representation in colors. By extension, a figure; a model.
Pictures and shapes are but secondary objects.
The young king's picture . . . in virgin wax.
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

An image or resemblance; a representation, either to the eye or to the mind; that which, by its likeness, brings vividly to mind some other thing; as, a child is the picture of his father; the man is the picture of grief.
My eyes make pictures when they are shut.
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

To draw or paint a resemblance of; to delineate; to represent; to form or present an ideal likeness of; to bring before the mind.
I have not seen him so pictured.
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

A visual representation (of an object or scene or person or abstraction) produced on a surface;
They showed us the pictures of their wedding
A movie is a series of images projected so rapidly that the eye integrates them
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Picture

Graphic art consisting of an artistic composition made by applying paints to a surface;
A small painting by Picasso
He bought the painting as an investment
His pictures hang in the Louvre
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

A clear and telling mental image;
He described his mental picture of his assailant
He had no clear picture of himself or his world
The events left a permanent impression in his mind
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

A situation treated as an observable object;
The political picture is favorable
The religious scene in England has changed in the last century
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

Illustrations used to decorate or explain a text;
The dictionary had many pictures
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Picture

A form of entertainment that enacts a story by a sequence of images giving the illusion of continuous movement;
They went to a movie every Saturday night
The film was shot on location
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

The visible part of a television transmission;
They could still receive the sound but the picture was gone
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

A graphic or vivid verbal description;
Too often the narrative was interrupted by long word pictures
The author gives a depressing picture of life in Poland
The pamphlet contained brief characterizations of famous Vermonters
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

A typical example of some state or quality;
The very picture of a modern general
She was the picture of despair
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

Imagine; conceive of; see in one's mind;
I can't see him on horseback!
I can see what will happen
I can see a risk in this strategy
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

Show in, or as in, a picture;
This scene depicts country life
The face of the child is rendered with much tenderness in this painting
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Oct 19, 2023

Picture

Picture encompasses digital imagery.
He created a stunning picture using graphic design software.
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Nov 22, 2023

Picture

Pictures can be imaginative or abstract.
Her abstract pictures were open to interpretation.
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Nov 22, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Are all pictures photos?

No, pictures include more than just photographic images.
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Dec 01, 2023

Is a drawing considered a picture?

Yes, drawings are a form of picture.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

What is a photo?

An image captured through a camera using photographic technology.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

What is a picture?

Any visual representation, like a drawing, painting, or photo.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Do photos always need a camera?

Traditional photos do, but digital images can vary.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Can a photo be a picture?

Yes, a photo is a type of picture.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

How old is the concept of a picture?

It dates back to prehistoric times.
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Dec 01, 2023

When did photography start?

In the early 19th century.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Are photos always based on real life?

Yes, they depict real scenes or subjects.
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Dec 01, 2023

Are pictures used in art?

Yes, they are a fundamental part of visual arts.
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Dec 01, 2023

What's the main use of photos?

To capture and preserve moments in time.
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Dec 01, 2023

Can pictures be abstract?

Yes, they can be abstract or realistic.
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Dec 01, 2023

Do pictures need to be realistic?

Not necessarily; they can range from realistic to abstract.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Can pictures be digital?

Yes, both pictures and photos can be in digital form.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Can a picture be fictional?

Yes, pictures can depict imaginary scenarios.
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Dec 01, 2023

Can photos be manipulated?

Yes, especially with digital technology.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Can pictures convey emotions?

Yes, they can express a wide range of emotions.
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Dec 01, 2023

Are photojournalists artists?

They are artists in their own right, capturing reality.
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Dec 01, 2023

Is photography considered an art?

Yes, it's a widely recognized art form.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

What's the main purpose of pictures?

To visually represent or communicate ideas or scenes.
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Dec 01, 2023

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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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