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Italian Language/fare una fotografia and scattare una foto


Dear Lauren,  

Thank you, again, for your help with my previous  questions.  

Can you please tell me if the abbreviation “foto” must only be used with “scattare” as in “scattare una foto"?  Or, can "scattare una fotografia" also be used?

Also, can only the complete word “fotografia” be used with “fare” as in “fare una fotografia”?  Or, can "fare una foto" also be used?

In other words -  is it incorrect to say:  “fare una foto”  and  “scattare una fotografia" ?

Thank you.  



Hi Rich,

Both 'foto' and 'fotografia' are interchangeable with both the verbs 'scattare' and 'fare,'. As I am sure you have gathered, 'foto' is an abbreviated version and thus is the one that you are most likely to hear being used by Italians. That is the reason that I wrote that instead of 'fotografia' but they are both equally correct.

At least in British English (I am not sure how it will be in America) but we hardly ever say, "Shall we take a photograph?" preferring to use "photo" as it sounds far less formal. This is the same with Italians.

Hope this helps,
Kind regards,

Italian Language

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Lauren O' Hagan


Although not my mother tongue, I have spoken Italian fluently for more than 12 years so I am very confident to answer any questions about the Italian language. I am also competent in Roman Dialect if there are any questions relating to this.


MA Applied Linguistics First Class Honours in Modern Language Studies (Linguistics, Italian, Spanish) Received the top grade in the whole of UK for GCSE Italian, receiving a letter of congratulations from the Italian Consulate Completed my two-year A Level in 1 year with a grade A country. Carried out many translation jobs for a wide range of clients and topics including self-help, literature and exam papers. For personal reference, I have also translated Federico Moccia's Tre Metri Sopra Il Cielo and 2 of Francesco Totti's book.

El Pensador, University of Bristol

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