Photography vs. Painting: Artistic Impressions

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Difference between Photography and Painting

Photography was first introduced into the public consciousness in 1837, and since then it has had an interesting relationship with imagination and painting. While certain types of lens-based visual arts were in existence before then–such as camera Lucida and camera Oscura for example–it was the coming of photography that would herald a divide the likes of which the art world had never before seen. While the two art forms obviously have a lot in common, they do have a number of equally obvious differences as well, some of which we will cover below.


In terms of realism, photography obviously wins out over painting. As yet, there is still no way that a painting using conventional techniques–and non-conventional techniques, for that matter–can capture the full range of color, shade and texture that a photograph can. This shouldn't necessarily be seen as a strike against paintings, as a painting rendered by a master can capture a wealth of depth, emotion and detail that belies its relatively limited color and texture palette. In fact, some would argue that a painting is in fact more "real" than a photograph, since it is rendered according to the interpretation of a human as opposed to a mechanical lens.

Interpretation And Expression 

One of the oft-repeated criticisms against photography is that it can only be interpreted one way–that is as the photographer captured the image. There is little to no opportunity for any additional interpretation other than what you see in the image. That being said, there is actually a lot of cues that can be picked up in the way that the photographer frames the photograph and the lighting used (or was present). Through these subtle "guides", a photograph can tell you a lot more than would initially be apparent. Of course painting is an art form that has traditionally always been open to interpretation, and the same wealth of detail that may or may not inform its "realism" goes into expressing ideas and emotions that may not be immediately apparent as well. It is partly for this reason that painting is considered an art form, although it must be said that photographs are capable of expressing the same qualities as well.

Medium And Execution

While photography was traditionally restricted to an image that is essentially "burned" into a piece of paper, the introduction o non-conventional techniques and materials as well as the advent of digital photography has resulted in an art form that has broken away from these confines. Paintings are of course created with a vast array of techniques, and many artists actually stick to one or two techniques throughout their artistic lives, making it basically an extension of their personalities, much in the same way that certain photographers rely on one technique above all others. Painters imbue their works with the quality of their souls and their perceptions related to the work of art itself. If successful, the art will reveal something of the artist. A particularly talented photographer can create a masterpiece every bit as magnetic as an artists work. Just take a look a girl engrossed in a fashion magazine or a boy pouring over a beautifully produced auto publication.



  • Was traditionally confined to images on paper
  • Was not considered an art form for many years
  • Has always had an uneasy relationship with painting
  • Advent of digital photography has resulted in wide and varied forms of the art


  • Is considered by many to be a more legitimate art form
  • Utilizes a wide range of materials involving various techniques
  • Has had a long and varied history
  • Not quite as realistic as photographs, although most don’t consider this a negative

Which medium is more fun?
  • Photography
  • Painting

comments 3 Comments

  • shreedhar . 3+ yrs. ago

photography is the fun of life.

  • Fort Myers Portrait Photographer . 3+ yrs. ago


There are so many kinds of photography you can do such as wedding, portrait senior, etc. There is a great difference between both.One should definitely look forward to the photography as their are great options available and it is quick also.

  • fashion photo . 3+ yrs. ago


It is very important that you choose the photography and painting wisely as both have importance in the world. In my opinion photos are always best as you can do editing also afterwards if not liked.

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