Understanding the many genres and forms of photography used nowadays is helpful. On the one hand, it’s comforting to know that you aren’t passing up excellent photos taken by photographers who specialize in subjects other than what you do.
But more importantly, viewing a variety of photographic techniques and genres may inspire you to experiment with a different sort of photography. Although not all genres are included in this list, it does include many of the more significant ones.
The various categories and subgenres of photography techniques in use today are listed below. Any link can be clicked to take you directly to that section of the article.
Scenic or environmental photography is another term for landscape photography. It is photographing a natural landscape in a way that draws the viewer into the image. Natural scenes are frequently vast and majestic, but they can also be smaller and more personal.
One of the most popular styles of photography today is landscape, which has spawned a number of sub-genres like storm photography, seascapes, and so forth. A broader definition covers “urban landscape” photographs and settings created by humans.
Even while landscape photography is a very approachable genre, it may still be challenging to master.
Some of the most passionate photographers you’ll ever encounter are drawn to wildlife photography; they may wait for hours on end for an animal to appear in the ideal location or look for animals that most people would prefer to avoid. However, since there are animals everywhere, you can even practise it in your own backyard or on a short drive from your home.
You’ll occasionally come across a photo collection of urban wildlife that is on par with the best pictures taken in farther-flung areas.
Macro photography, the skill of catching tiny creatures and objects that we typically overlook, is one of the most approachable forms of photography. Typically, macro photography techniques are used to capture shots of insects and flowers, but it may also be used to get stunning images of snowflakes or water droplets in a studio.
Simply “close-up” photography, which is not as magnified as genuine macro work but nevertheless isolates a small portion of the world that might not otherwise stand out, is a related photographic genre.
A set of extension tubes is significantly less expensive than a specialist macro lens and most likely functions just as well with your present tools. My biggest tip for photographers who only ever take photographs when traveling is to start honing your macro photography skills. Although it’s challenging to master, you’ll gain some really useful technical knowledge and take some fantastic pictures in the process.
Even if you reside in the ideal location, it isn’t always simple to snap underwater pictures. When you start capturing pictures farther than a small distance from the surface, you not only need a decent waterproof camera but also some specialized lighting equipment. You can see why this is one of the tougher genres to start playing when you factor in scuba equipment and the necessary training for longer dives.
However, if you put in the time and money, you’ll produce pictures that today’s photographers don’t take nearly as frequently. Wildlife, macro, and visually arresting portraiture are all part of underwater photography techniques.
Astrophotography, which includes everything from smartphone photos shot through a telescope to views of deep space acquired by the Hubble, is one of the most challenging forms of photography to master. Two things make it demeaning: First of all, the size and scope of the subjects that are photographed in this manner are sufficient to inspire existential astonishment in nearly everyone.
But more importantly, if you don’t have good exposure and post-processing techniques, any gaps in your knowledge will be easy to see.
There is also a genre of “astrolandscape” photography techniques that includes the Milky Way with a slice of Earth in the foreground. Although it is still tricky to take astrolandscape photos, they’re a bit easier for most photographers to master.
It’s unclear whether aerial photography is merely a subgenre of landscape photography or a distinct genre in and of itself, but high-quality consumer drones have helped aerial photography gain enormous popularity in recent years. Aerial photography also includes high-altitude photographs taken from aircraft and helicopters, as well as photographs where the focus is on a structure that is not a natural landscape.
Scientific photography is a vast subject that includes everything from astrophotography to extreme magnification microscope photography. Also included in this are certain artificial creations, such as photographs of particle colliders or the space station that occasionally go viral.
I hope this kind of photography gets more and more attention in the future since it has the potential to open our eyes to whole new views and alter the way we perceive the world.
Portraiture, which encompasses everything from family portraits to fine-art photography and professional work, is the most diverse form of portraiture. The aim of portraiture is frequently to convey a subject’s personality and feelings in a photograph by capturing these in the portrait.
A single prime lens and a flash are all that is necessary to get started in portrait photography at a high level (or whatever equipment you already have if you’re just experimenting). But it can take a lifetime of hard work to fully understand a topic or reach the goals of your business.
Weddings are among the most significant occasions in many people’s lives, which places a great deal of duty on wedding photographers. In addition to having strong camera and lighting skills, wedding photographers also need to be able to interact well with others and seamlessly capture the right emotions.
I have a lot of admiration for skilled wedding photographers because this is a challenging genre of photography to master and you only get one chance to get it right.
Sports photography covers a wide range of subjects, from major international competitions like the Olympics to adventure-based photography in the most inaccessible corners of the globe. This kind of photography techniques, which frequently calls for a very quick shutter speed and top-notch autofocus abilities, includes even a parent taking pictures of their child participating in sports.
Fashion photography is a close relative of portraiture yet different enough to be considered a separate genre. The top fashion photographers are well-versed in both the clothing styles they’re documenting and lighting and photography techniques because this is a fast-paced world. Though not always, especially in the age of Instagram, fashion photos are typically taken for brands and marketing.
Anything meant to promote a product, including commercials and even stock photographs, is considered commercial photography of people. Even though I’ll cover that topic later in this post, commercial photographers frequently just photograph the things themselves. People are still used to advertisements all the time.
The aim of commercial photography techniques is often to produce photos that reflect the feelings and messages that the target brand is attempting to communicate. For these photographers to make the client’s vision come true, they need special training in studio lighting and visualization.
In street photography techniques, moments from everyday life are documented in public spaces like parks and sidewalks. In seemingly routine situations or encounters, good street photography finds significance and purpose, provoking viewers to consider something they may otherwise pass by.
Street photography is frequently linked with black and white work on 35mm film, but contemporary street images can be created with nearly any camera and post-processing technique.
Other than weddings, there are larger categories of events that merit classification as a distinct photography genre. For instance, event photography includes taking pictures at parades, concerts, business events, and other gatherings.
You may anticipate unpredictable events and fast-moving scenes, as well as intriguing human interactions and occasionally excellent lighting (as for concert photographs). Event photographers that are skilled at capturing emotions can help viewers relive the experience.
One of the most popular types of people photography is travel photography, which includes both candid and portrait shots of people living in different parts of the world. We feel more connected and aware of how other people live when we see the startling parallels and differences between individuals around the world captured in good travel photography.
Pets are a big part of many families, so even if pet photography doesn’t quite fit into one of the article’s more general sections, I’ve included it at the conclusion of “people photography.” Pet photography techniques requires the same talents as portraiture, such as a grasp of light, the ability to work in a hectic environment, and the ability to capture your subject’s personality. Besides selfies, this might be the most common type of photography done today.
Product photography is another subfield of commercial photography, and it often involves studio photography with controlled lighting to highlight the subject product (though sometimes outdoors or on location). Similar to commercial portraiture, a product photographer’s objective is to reflect the company’s brand.
Even if they sell the same basic type of product, such as apparel or backpacks, an outdoor brand will have distinct needs from a high-end lifestyle business.
Thanks to social media, food photography techniques has seen a notable increase in popularity in recent years. It used to mostly be a sub-genre of commercial work, such as cookbooks, menus, and ads, but today it’s becoming more of a component of documentary photography.
However, food photographs usually attempt to portray their subject in the most mouthwatering manner, regardless of the final product. Food photographers sometimes use fake items that look more appetizing than the real thing when taking pictures of food. For example, they might use glue instead of milk when taking pictures of cereal.
Still Life Photography
Still life photography is another vast category of photography that involves capturing images in a studio of a staged scene to make it look as good as possible. Despite the fact that still life photography occasionally features living things like plants, I’m classifying it as “manmade objects” because it can feature nearly anything.
Even seemingly mundane items like silverware and office supplies may make for some of the most intriguing still life paintings I’ve ever seen.
Architectural photography, which includes cityscapes and other specifics of structures and construction, is the last category of photography on this list and one of the most well-liked. In many aspects, architecture is similar to “urban landscape” photography techniques, with both genres’ practitioners frequently using tripods and precise post-processing methods to highlight their subject to the fullest.
But dealing with straight lines is a challenge all its own in architectural photography, especially if you don’t want the finished image to look skewed or tilted.
So, what is your favourite photography style?