Last Updated on April 8, 2021
No matter where you look today you are likely to spot photography in one form or another. Whether it’s scrolling social media on your phone, to watching tv or a movie. Photography is one of the most ubiquitous forms of art in the world and I bet there are more than a couple styles that you have never heard of.
Understanding the different types of photography out there allows you to take inspiration from other styles and improve your own skill behind the camera. Read on for my attempt at hitting every type of photography out there.
Abstract photography is a very interesting style that often departs dramatically from the way we view the world with our own eyes.
Abstract photography utilizes numerous tools and processes to produce these bold artistic shots.
This exciting style of photography is for capturing those adventurous moments of life. Whether surfing huge waves or climbing the highest mountains, adventure photography is full of uniquely challenging shooting conditions.
Advertising is hard to escape in the modern world and that means you will encounter tons of this style in your day to day life. Advertising photography is found in magazines, social media, billboards and just about everywhere humans congregate.
Advertising generally focuses on brand awareness as opposed to product photography which focuses on selling specific things.
This style of photography focuses on the photographing of buildings and other structures. A high amount of emphasis is placed on capturing highly realistic images of the photographed subjects. This is one style of photography that has specific gear requirements.
This incredibly fun style centers on capturing bodies in the night sky. This includes shooting planets, comets, satellites, and the moon and stars. This can include shots of subjects seen with the naked eye or if you have the right equipment, like one of the best telescopes for astrophotography, you can shoot far more distant objects. Shooting far off objects is specifically called deep sky photography and requires a telescope. Milky Way and Time Lapse photography are other sub sets of this popular photography style.
Black and White Photography
Most people are familiar with black and white photography. Capturing images without color can provide a dramatic effect on the viewer making it an incredibly popular style. You can shoot in color and revert to black and white in post production and you can even shoot in film for black and white photography.
This style of photography is all about capturing images for couples as a gift from one to the other. They are intended to capture romantic and intimate poses usually captured in a bedroom setting. They are often wedding and anniversary gifts.
This style of photography is centered on capturing human subjects in their environment without knowledge of their picture being taken. This is to capture them in a more natural state of being. This style of photography is often a part of street photography. It is focused on capturing reality as it really is and telling a very human story through images. Documentary and photojournalism also utilizes this type of photography. Laws must be followed but when done well this is an immensely powerful photography style.
With cityscape photography the goal is to capture a realistic image of urban and city landscapes. This style of photography is the metro version of classic landscape photography and can be shot in the daytime or at night. Cityscape photography offers a lot of room for artistic expression and can incorporate numerous techniques.
In commercial photography the goal is usually centered on capturing a product or for the promotion of a service. You will find examples of this style in business mailers, brochures, and other paper advertising.
Composite photography is the art of taking multiple images and incorporating different elements of each image and combining them into a single image. This style can include double exposure photography, multiplicity, and montages. This style can be found both in professional advertising and hobby photography. One cool version of composite photography is focus stacking which is the capture of the same scene from multiple focal points. The images are then stacked to create a large depth of field.
This very popular style of photography is for the capturing of live music events as they happen. This includes everything from large arena concerts to small club shows. Professional concert photography is an exciting field to get into and is one of my personal favorite styles to shoot. This style can be challenging and requires a solid understanding of the right settings to shoot concert photography.
This term refers to a large number of different creative photography techniques that can be utilized for creating different or unique images. In this style the techniques used are just as important as the pictures created. Some common examples of creative photography are fisheye, forced perspective, HDR imaging, and even crystal ball photography.
Crystal Ball Photography
You may be wondering what the heck crystal ball photography is. Well as you read above, it is a style of creative photography. It is capturing an image through a crystal ball by keeping the camera right close up to the ball. It’s an interesting style and when done right can produce a very cool image.
Much like the movie version, documentary photography is intended to capture a particular aspect of life or a subject in a realistic manner. This allows the photographer to tell a compelling story about some aspect of every day life.
Drone photography has rapidly gained popularity in recent years as drone technology has advanced. Shooting from a drone is a version of aerial photography that allows the drone photographer to capture images from the sky. This style of photography is popular for real estate, landscape, cityscape and more styles.
Photographers who capture images for use in newsprint and magazines. These images cover ever topic imaginable so it incorporates a wide range of photography styles.
Event style is a popular professional type of photography. It entails capturing an event as it happens. This includes weddings, parties, business launch events, concert photography, and pretty much any other event where people gather together.
This popular style of photography covers professional and amateur pictures of families. This can be capturing posed or candid images of a family. These pictures are often shot to remember important milestones or to capture random moments for future personal enjoyment. Baby and newborn photography is very popular. Check out the best newborn photography cameras for more info.
Fashion photography includes shooting pictures of clothing on display or of it being worn by models on the catwalk. Fashion photographers could be shooting in studios with professional lighting or at an event that offers less than ideal lighting conditions. This is a very dynamic style of photography and images are often used for media or advertising.
Fine Art Photography
This is when the artist is the photographer. Images in the fine art genre are meant to instill a particular feeling or to make a statement. The subject of the image is not always the primary focus as these images are meant to make the viewer think about a larger concept.
Fish Eye Photography
This is the style of photography where an ultra wide angle lens is utilized. This creates a distorted image. The distortion is located at the edges of the image. A fish eye lens shoots in the 8mm – 16mm range.
Food photography has been gaining a lot of popularity in recent years. Whether it’s shooting images for commercial and advertising purposes or for promoting a new dish being offered at a restaurant food photography is a form of still life. This style can focus on the finished product, the ingredients, and even the process itself.
Find the best camera for food photography
Forced perspective is a technique that can be used in virtually any other style of photography (though some style would rarely use it). This is when the viewer sees a different angle than the subject of the photo. This technique can produce interesting and even funny results.
This is a specific type of portrait photography that generally uses females as the subject (but not always). These photographs often have a sensual aspect to them and are used for personal use, advertising, and fashion.
Golden Hour Photography
With olden hour photography we are focusing on shooting at specific times of day. This includes shooting an hour before sunset and up to an hour after the sun has risen. These times offer soft warm lighting that is popular in landscape and cityscape photography.
Head Shot Photography
Another specific style of portrait photography, headshots are just focused on the head and shoulders of the subject. These are popular shots for actors, musicians, TV personalities and the like to use. These are also frequently shot for corporate and even online profiles.
High Dynamic Range Photography
HDR photography has gained popularity in recent years. It has been around since film was the only way to capture a picture. In this style you will shoot multiple pictures using a range of different exposures and then bring them together. This can allow the photographer to highlight specific details within the scene that could not be accomplished with a single exposure. The images are stitched together in post production in a photo editing software.
Just as you probably guessed, this is when capturing images indoors. This term generally is used to refer to the particular settings needed to shoot in the more challenging lighting conditions of shooting indoors. We refer to shooting indoors as indoor photography when there is no intention of using the images for a commercial purpose. Otherwise it is called interior photography.
This style of photography is generally shot using filters that allow only infrared light to pass through the filter. These filters prevent light on the visible spectrum from passing through.
This style of photography has the goal of capturing movement. This is done not because of the subject is moving but because the camera is moving. This means the photographer must be moving while shooting the image. This is referred to as intentional camera movement. One example would be using a long exposure and then throwing your camera up in the air while the image is captured.
Landscape photography is incredibly popular and can be a lot of fun to pursue both as a hobby and professionally.
Landscape photography can be shooting both natural features and man made features. This style covers shooting in all seasons, shooting forests, mountains, nature photography, beaches and more.
In lifestyle photography the goal is to tell a story by capturing real life situation. In this style you will never stage a shot as the goal is to get life as it happens, like it happens.
Long Exposure Photography
This style refers to the technique of capturing an image using a slow shutter speed. This is often used as a way to capture movement and show that movement in an image. This technique can be used both at night and during the day.
Macro photography is a popular style where the photographer captures images of small subjects from close up. In macro photography you will enlarge the subject you are shooting by more than a 1:1 ratio. Popular macro photography subjects include bugs and flowers.
Find the best camera for macro photography
Milky Way Photography
Milky Way photography is exactly what you would think, it is capturing images of our galaxy. In this style of photography a special equipment is used so that you can shoot in high resolution in nighttime lighting conditions.
I love minimalist photography as it can create a bold statement. In this style the goal is to capture an image using the least amount of visual elements as possible. These visual elements can include eliminating color, lines, and various image textures.
This refers to any type of photography that is shot with a smartphone. As phone cameras have improved they have been used for more than just capturing day in the life moments. While you won’t be able to attain professional level images, a smartphone can still get you good image quality.
Multiple exposure photography is a form of creative photography that has garnered a resurgence in popularity. This technique requires multiple layers of images of the same scene being put together.
A very popular style of photography where a newborn baby is the subject. These types of images can be of just the baby alone or with other members of the family included. This style of photography requires an added level of care due to the fragile nature of the subject.
Night photography covers any style shot at night. It offers challenges other styles do not due to the low light of shooting at night. Because of this night photography settings are an important part of getting a great image. One of the most popular things to shoot is the night sky.
Panorama photography is all about capturing a large field of view. This is popular with landscapes and a number of other styles. Panorama images can be captured in a number of ways including using a wide angle lens or by stitching multiple images together.
This is a very popular photography style where images of family pets are captured. Any animal that is a pet is a part of this style including cats, dogs, birds, horses, and exotic animals.
Photo Manipulation Photography
Photo manipulation refers to the process of editing a photo in post production. This can include altering the rightness of an image, stitching images together, and many other photo alterations. These changes can be subtle or extreme.
A photojournalist are out there capturing the images that make up the news. These are the images you will find at online news sources, magazines, and print journalism. Any subject matter you find in the news will be photographed by a photojournalist. This style incorporates many other photography styles.
In portrait photography the goal is to capture images of individuals. Portraits are used in many different mediums including family and school photos, to business profile images and more.
Prism photography is a close relative to crystal ball photography. This is when you capture an image through a glass prism creating distortions in your image. When used correctly this can produce a very interesting image.
Product photography is a subgenre of commercial photography where the goal is to capture an image of a specific product with the goal of making sales. These images are fund in online stores, product catalogs, and even in magazines.
Real Estate Photography
Real estate photography is the process of shooting homes, businesses, and properties with the goal of selling the property. Real estate photography requires being able to shoot in multiple lighting environments and shooting in small spaces at times.
This is a technical field of photography where the goal is to document a scientific subject in a realistic manner. This can cover everything from shooting huge objects to shooting things as small as cells.
Seascape photography is a subset of landscape photography where shooting the ocean is the subject. Other subjects include ships, cliffs, and other things find in and around the ocean.
Social Media Photography
Social media photography covers images taken with the expressed purpose of being shared on any social media platform. This includes amateur images and professional social media photography. These photos can essentially be from any other style of photography.
Sports photography is another of my favorite styles to shoot. It is a version of event photography where the goal is to capture a sporting event as it happens. Sports photography is very popular and requires skill and specialized gear due to the shooting conditions.
Still Life Photography
This is when you are shooting an inanimate object. This can include anything from shooting a bowl of fruit, a vase of flowers, or any other still object.
Stock photography has exploded in popularity due to the growth of online businesses. These images are captured to be shared for the use of businesses and corporations who need a large amount of images but do not want to invest in taking images themselves.
Street photography is a popular genre where the goal is to capture every day situations within a city. These photos are shot usually without the subjects knowledge in order to capture realistic depictions of life in the city. These pictures can be shot in the day or at night.
Primarily used for architectural photography where a large format camera is used. These cameras allow for the focus to be changed both horizontally and vertically.
Time Lapse Photography
This is when a multiple images are captured of the same scene with the goal of showing the changes within the scene over time. These images are stitched together so the changes can be viewed as a video.
Travel photography really incorporates other styles of photography that is taken while traveling. This can include street photography, landscape, night photography, and more.
Urban Exploration Photography
This fast growing style of photography is when urban photographers capture images of abandoned places within a city. This style of photography combines street photography, candid photography and exploration.
This is the art of capturing images of war in real time. It can tell a powerful story by being on the ground in the middle of a war zone. These images are a form of editorial photography.
This popular style of photography refers to capturing all aspects of a wedding. This includes portrait, candid, and family photography. Often times black and white photography is incorporated as well.
Wildlife photography is all about capturing candid images of animals in their natural setting. This style of photography can be very fun and exciting and it generally requires specialized equipment.
Next check out the beginners guide to photography.