The Ultimate Photography Vs Painting Comparison!

Although the photography vs painting debait has been going on for decades now, we have noticed more and more people reaching out and asking various questions about the advantages and disadvantages of photography and painting when put head to head. Due to seeing so many people asking for advice between the two, we have decided to publish this article going over the main questions that we see the community ask.

Before we go any further, we just want to say that there is always going to be a large amount of personal opinion on either side of these and we know that a large number of people actually do both photography and painting. The main arguments that we see is that a photograph captures the exact moment in time where as a painting has the artists interpretation of it. Depending on what you need, both of these can be seen as an advantage or a disadvantage for you but we will go into more detail below.

We know that some of our readers will only want to read answers to specific questions in the article so we have our table of contents below. Simply click any of the questions that you want the answer to and it will take you directly to that question rather than you having to skim the whole article.

Photography Vs Painting As Art

Both photography and painting are excellent forms of art with both having large followings with a number of direct and indirect applications in the art world. Although painting is the more traditional for of art of the two, the vast majority of art galleries will now show both paintings and photographs in displays due to so many photographs capturing beautiful and breath taking photographs.

The main points of both art forms come into play for their applications as types of art too as a huge number of art enthusiasts prefer the level of interpretation the artist has when it comes to a painting. That said though, with modern computer software offering a photographer a large amount of creative input into the end result of their image, a photographer also has a large amount of interpretation in their work now too.

A smaller number of art enthusiasts tend to prefer that a photograph is at least based on a real-life image that the photographer has been able to capture in real-time. The fact that a photograph is based on a real-life scene does tend to transfer to the wider population more than the interpretation of an artist though making photographs more accessible for appreciation to the masses than most paintings.

Due to this, personal preference and taste will both come into play when looking at photography vs painting as a type of art. On top of that, there are sub-niches within both that further divide fans with some people preferring one sub-niche of photography or painting over the others when it comes to art for viewing pleasure.

Photography Vs Painting As A Career

In this day and age, we would usually recommend that our readers lean more towards photography than traditional painting as a career path but both do have their advantages and disadvantages over each other. The barrier of entry tends to be much lower for photography and there is considerably more opportunities for photographers to make money from their trade than traditional painters these days.

That said though, once you establish yourself as a painter then the prices that you are able to charge for your commission’s do tend to sky rocket compared to what an entry-level or intermediate level art painter is able to charge. On the flipside of this though, the same goes for photographers and with social media sites such as Instagram making it so easy to share your work, it does tend to be easier to grow a photography business these days too.

if you are set on taking the painting or drawing-based route then we would highly recommend that you intergrade digital artwork as soon as possible. With more and more commissions specifically wanting digital artwork it can be a great way to bring business into your painting or drawing business quickly. There are some excellent quality drawing tablets on the market these days too that make the digital art process as easy as possible too.

We have a dedicated article going over if digital art is easier than traditional art as well as an article going over if digital art is classed as cheating or not too. Although digital art was more controversial a decade or so back, the advancements in the technology and the shift in commissions from traditional paintings and drawings to digital paintings and drawings has changed opinions on it with most artists and painters offering digital art services now too.

Photography Vs Painting As A Hobby

Both photography and painting can serve you well as a hobby with both having huge numbers of people use them as a way to fill their time. When it comes to using either photography or painting as a hobby, your own personal preferences of what you enjoy to do come into play rather than the factors covers above with many people opting to have both as a hobby.

There are people who prefer to spend their time painting as well as people who prefer to spend their time capturing photographs so if possible we would recommend that you at least try both. Thankfully, in the digital age, you are usually able to use free or cheap apps on your smartphone to try your hand at entry-level photography and digital art to see if you prefer one over the other or enjoy both equally to each other.

Is Painting Better Than Photography?

Although some people do feel that painting is better than photography as a form of art, as a career, and as a hobby, personal preference definitely does come into play. In fact, in this day and age it can probably be argued that more people feel that photography is better than painting, especially when it comes to a career as the job opportunities for an entry-level photographer all the way up to an established photographer as there where as painters tend to struggle when starting out.

Did Photography Kill Painting?

Although photography has definitely shifted how people want their portraits and landscapes capturing, painting is still very popular, especially as a hobby so we don’t feel that it is fair to claim that photography has killed painting off. As we have touched on a few times above though, when it comes to taking either option as a career option, photography definitely does offer more opportunities than painting and we only expect this gap to widen as we move forward.

Is A Photograph More Truthful Than A Painting Or A Sculpture?

One of the main advantages of a photograph over a painting or a sculpture is that it captures a moment in time exactly as it is. Both painting and sculpting offer the artist a larger amount of interpretation that can lead to an untruthful rendering of their subject. Take the “warts and all” phrase used by Cromwell to his portrait painter back in 1824 to ensure that his artist included the features of his face that were not considered to be appealing or attractive as an example.

We know that there are a large number of digital tools that allow you to quickly and easily edit a photograph these days too but there are a number of hashtags for social media as well as online sites that show raw photography free from any editing. Due to this, we do feel that the statement that a photograph is more truthful than a painting or sculpture is fair in most cases.

The Similarities Between Painting And Photography

The main similarity between painting and photography is that they are both great ways to capture a moment in time to preserve it for as long as possible. Yes, painting does have more interpretation to it than photography as covered above but both are still very popular ways to capture sights, views, and subjects to preserve them for the future.

Another similarity between painting and photography is that they are both a great form of creative expression for both artwork and as a hobby. If you are more of a creative person then either option can be an excellent outlet for your creativity with many people opting to take up both painting and photography too.

The Advantages Of Combining Photography And Painting

There are a number of advantages of combining photography and painting as artwork, for your career, and as a hobby. The main one is that it opens up what you are able to offer your potential clients and help you grow your painting or photography business quicker by offering both services when starting out. This does tend to be rare though as getting to a professional standard for either does usually take years with plenty of practise so the majority of people do usually just opt for one or the other.

If you are looking to combine photography and painting or drawing as a hobby then a number of people have started to capture a photograph and then edit it with paints or marker pens to enhance the photograph. A popular option that does tend to do well on social media is to capture photographs of famous locations and then paint irregular things there to contract reality and fantasy.


That brings our article going over the differences between photography and painting to a close. We hope that you have found our article helpful and that we have been able to help you make a decision on what form or art you want to move forward with. As we touched on, personal preference will definitely come into play, especially when looking at either option as an art form or for a hobby. If you are looking at either for a career though, photography definitely does tend to off you more opportunities than painting at the time of writing.

Similar Posts