The key difference between image and shadow is that the image is the reflection of the light rays by an object whereas the shadow is a dark shape projected onto a surface when an opaque object obstruct the light rays.
The term image generally refers to an optical representation of a real object. A shadow is black in color while an image is colorful, and represents the real colors of the object it represents.
What is an Image?
Although the word ‘image’ has many meanings, in this article, we are specially focusing on an optical representation of a real object. For example, think of the image you see when you peep into a puddle of water or the image you see when you look at a mirror. The image you see in these instances is called a mirror image or reflection.
The mirror image is a reflected duplication of an object that appears almost identical. However, if you observe the image carefully, you’ll notice that the image is reversed in the direction perpendicular to the mirror surface. All other features of the mirror part are similar to the real object except this left-right reversal. For example, the image has the same colors and details of the real object.
What is a Shadow?
A shadow is a dark area or shape cast on the ground or some surface by a body intercepting light. Thus, a shadow forms when an opaque object (an object that is not transparent) blocks the light. You need three things to form a shadow: an opaque object, a source of light and a screen or surface behind the object. A shadow won’t form if one of these objects is not present. This is why we can’t see shadows in the dark.
If you observe the above object, you can notice various characteristics of shadows. The most noticeable characteristic is its color; a shadow is always black in color irrespective of the color of the real object. You’ll also notice that a shadow only shows the outline of an object; it does not show the details of the object. Moreover, the size of a shadow varies, depending on the distance between the object and the surface/screen and the distance between the object and the source of light.
What is the Difference Between Image and Shadow?
An image is an optical representation of a real object while the shadow is a dark shape cast on a surface by a body intercepting light. This is the main difference between image and shadow. An image reflects the real colors of the object whereas a shadow is always black. Moreover, an image gives both the outline and details of the object whereas a shadow only gives the outline of the object, not the detail. Finally, an image undergoes left-right reversal whereas a shadow does not.
Summary – Image vs Shadow
An image is an optical representation of an object, which is identical to the real object. However, a shadow is a dark shape or area cast on some surface due to an opaque object blocking light. This is the basic difference between image and shadow.