As I understood so far, 撮る is a transitive verb, so "to take a photograph" is 写真撮る in Japanese.

However, I've just come across a sentence in my textbook that uses the expression 写真に撮る, and I'm not sure if I understand it. Does it mean the same than 写真を撮る, or does it actually mean something different?

The sentence is part of a typical fill-the-gap-with-a-suitable-particle (or leave it blank) exercise:

この公園では猿【さる】が子供を育てている( )ところ( )写真撮ることが出来る。In this park, it is possible to take a photo where the monkeys are feeding their children.

I think that the answers to the parentheses are blank「 」and「で」 respectively. I am sure about the first one, but not so sure about the second:


Maybe I'm just wrong and therefore it's getting me more confused. I would rather say:


Meaning-wise, does it make a difference to replace に by を in this sentence? and more importantly, are they interchangeable in general when it comes to 写真を/に撮る ?

I suspect my doubt might be related to this answer where they discuss 写真に収める, but it concerns a different verb so I'm not sure either.

Any help is much appreciated.


  • I think I can't go to the hyperlink you attached on safari and firefox. Is it working properly? This might be answering your question partially though, I'd like to compare ...ところを写真に撮ること... with ...ところで写真を撮ること... . So far, I don't have any grammatical explanation to though. Jun 2 '20 at 23:31
  • @kimi Tanaka, I think Ringil has fixed the link. Thank, you!
    – jarmanso7
    Jun 3 '20 at 5:56

So, I'm grasping at straws a little, but I can see some sort of logic... I would say that


is the right way to fill in the blanks. I feel like you need the を somewhere if the 写真 isn't being 撮る’d. So why is the 猿が子供を育てているところ is being 撮る’d in my suggestion?

To explain that, I think it's helpful to view the とる family of verbs (取る・撮る・捕る etc.) as all having a sense of 'capturing' rather than ‘taking’ (however loosely!), so I'd rationalise it that instead of "taking the photo", you are actually "capturing the moment that 〜" i.e. 〜ところを撮る, within/onto a photo i.e. 写真に.

I would therefore posit that there is a slight change of emphasis away from the actual action of taking a photo with 〜の写真を撮る, to a more whimsical notion of capturing a moment/memory using a photo with 〜ところを写真に撮る.

I am, however, not particularly sure in this instance, so happy to be corrected by a native speaker!

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