- Last Updated: Monday, 01 June 2020 02:16
- Landscape Photography
- Weather Photography
- Underwater Photography
- Wildlife Photography
- Aerial Photography
- Travel Photography
- Architecture Photography
- Real Estate Photography
- Street Photography
- Portrait Photography
- Wedding Photography
- Event Photography
- Fashion Photography
- Newborn Photography
- Documentary Photography
- Still Life Photography
- Macro Photography
- Pet Photography
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Photo by Christian Holzinger on Unsplash
When you're just starting out in photography, there can be many things that might overwhelm you.
Learning to use your camera is certainly one of them. Developing your creative eye is another. But with practice, these things become second-nature.
A different type of struggle that some photographers experience is simply trying to figure out what kind of photographer they want to be.
Is landscape photography the best type of photography? Or is it portraits? What about macro or street photography?
The answer is that there is no "best" genre of photography. Instead, you have to figure out which popular photography genre is the best fit for you.
Below, I've outlined 19 different types of photography to help you quickly explore which of these genres might be most appealing.
Table of Contents
One of the most popular types of photography styles, landscape photography is all about capturing the beauty of nature.
Though many landscape photos are wide-angle, sweeping shots of a landscape, there are plenty of opportunities for vertical landscape photography and even photos of very small vignettes in a larger landscape that highlight the details of the natural environment.
Landscape photography is also perhaps the most accessible as well. All you have to do to find a subject is head outside!
Explore our collection of landscape photography tips.
Recommended Landscape Photography Books:
I like to think of weather photography as landscape photography on steroids.
Instead of focusing on the serenity of nature, weather photography puts extreme weather events front and center.
Though most people think of tornadoes and thunderstorms when they think of this type of photography, it also includes blizzards, sandstorms, rainbows, and hurricanes, just to name a few.
Needless to say, photographing weather can be very dangerous, but if you play your cards right, you can get spectacular photos and keep yourself safe at the same time.
The misconception about astrophotography is that you have to have a mountain of expensive gear to get high-quality shots. That's just not the case!
Instead, you can take epic photos of the night sky with essential astrophotography gear, like a DSLR or mirrorless camera, a fast lens, a tripod, and a remote shutter release.
Common problems with this type of photography include getting stars nice and sharp and understanding how to compose astro photos in a way that's compelling. It helps to have mad post-processing skills too.
But, as you can see above, when it all comes together, there are opportunities to create truly incredible photos.
Use these astrophotography tutorials to get started!
Of course, not all landscapes involve mountains, rivers, foul weather, or stars - there's a whole other world to explore with your camera underwater.
Granted, you'll need some additional gear to make underwater photography a possibility, but the reward waiting for you beneath the surface of the water can be epic.
So, grab a GoPro and a snorkel and see what you can find just under the water's surface!
If you ask me, wildlife photography is one of the most difficult photography types to master.
That's because more than just about any other kind of photography, photographing wildlife requires an abundance of patience, and that is not something I have.
Though you might have to wait for hours and hours in a blind for that perfect moment, the payoff can be truly magical and breathtaking photos of animals.
Fortunately, to get started in wildlife photography, you don't have to trek to some distant mountaintop. Start practicing in your backyard with your dog or the local park with birds to develop your skills.
Recommended Wildlife Photography Books:
It seems like not that long ago, the types of photography shots that were available to most of us were those found while standing on the ground (unless you had a plane or helicopter handy).
But, with the development of drones in recent years, now any of us can take to the skies and get started in aerial photography.
For me, this type of photography involves photographing landscapes from a much different perspective than I normally do.
But aerial photography isn't limited to landscapes. Instead, you can use drones to take killer photos of anything from wildlife to weddings, real estate to sports.
One look at Instagram and you'll quickly realize that one of the most popular photography types is travel photography.
Travel photography encompasses all sorts of other types of photography - landscapes, portraits, wildlife, and street photography among them - and as such, it has broad appeal.
The beauty of this kind of photography is that it helps showcase different places and peoples and helps us all feel a little more connected to one another in this big, beautiful world. It's not all that difficult to get started in travel photography, either.
Besides, who wouldn't like to travel the world taking photos? Talk about one of the most ideal photography careers!
I like to think of architecture photography as urban landscape photography. By that, I mean that instead of photographing natural elements, you're capturing the beauty of manmade structures and exploring how they've changed the urban landscape.
Though I enjoy a good shot of a city's skyline, there's something even more compelling about the detail-oriented shots of buildings.
Whether it's a beautiful arch or a gargoyle perched on high, there are plenty of opportunities to accentuate the beauty of humankind's architectural wonders.
Real Estate Photography
There are many types of photography jobs that one can pursue, including real estate photography.
Obviously, the purpose of real estate photography is to make residential and commercial properties as appealing as possible.
Fortunately, there isn't an excessive amount of gear required for photographing real estate - in some instances, you might just need your smartphone!
Get all the real estate photography tips you need to kickstart your career photographing properties!
Recommended Real Estate Photography Books:
Much like I think of architecture photography as urban landscape photography, I think of street photography as being urban portrait photography.
The whole point of street photography is to portray what life is like in the city. Often, it's done with quick snapshots without the subject knowing that they've been photographed.
The challenge with street photography is to turn simple, everyday scenes into something meaningful and beautiful. That is, you have to concentrate on how the composition, framing, lighting and so forth help you tell a compelling story about the people in your photos.
Even taking selfies out of the equation, portraiture is likely the most popular photography niche in the world.
But portrait photography is much more than simply pointing your camera at someone and taking a photo.
Instead, portraiture is all about telling the story of the person being photographed and highlighting what makes them unique.
But there are many more types of portrait photography than solo portraits, including family portraiture, fashion photography, professional headshots, graduation photos, and even sports photography as well.
Regardless of the type, for the best portraits, you have to master the camera settings for portrait photography in addition to learning the types of lighting in portrait photography.
Discover more ways to improve your portraits with our collection of portrait photography tips.
Recommended Portrait Lighting Books:
Getting married is a big deal, and so is being hired to photograph that event. Needless to say, no matter the type of wedding photography, wedding photographers have an immense responsibility, and that makes this kind of photography among the most stressful.
But being a wedding photographer isn't just about having the right skill set behind the camera. Instead, wedding photographers must be storytellers, problem solvers, and have tremendous people skills.
Perhaps the most difficult aspect of wedding photography is finding ways to get practice so you can minimize your wedding photography mistakes. Working as a second shooter is a prime option for learning the ropes as it takes some of the pressure off of you while giving you an opportunity to learn from a more seasoned wedding photographer.
From concerts to birthday parties, corporate events to the county fair, event photography encompasses a huge range of subjects.
This might include portraits of the people at the event, the food they're eating, the event space in which they're gathered, and so on.
In other words, event photography is a fast-paced and challenging genre of photography that is not for the faint of heart. You have to be ready for anything and have an array of gear (especially a range of lenses with different focal lengths) if you're to be a successful event photographer.
Ultimately, though, event photography is all about helping the people in attendance relive the event years and years down the road through the photos you create.
Fashion photography primarily exists for branding and advertisements, though as photography has become more accessible and social media has risen to prominence, fashion photography is becoming more broad-based.
Whether the purpose of the photo shoot is to create photos for a magazine or to post on Instagram, the point of fashion photography is to highlight clothing, makeup, and other fashion accessories in a way that makes them highly desirable for consumers.
Because of the need to showcase these items, a lot of fashion photos are full-body shots. What's more, fashion photographers must be experts in types of lighting in photography and have excellent portrait posing skills too.
Whether you know it as newborn, infant, or baby photography, this genre is perhaps the most rewarding.
Capturing what a newborn is like in the first days after their birth is a huge honor - and a big challenge.
Babies are unpredictable, so photographing them while they sleep is one of the top newborn photography tips to follow.
You'll find that they are sensitive to temperature fluctuations, sensitive to light, and might have accidents that require a diaper and a wardrobe change.
Being prepared for these eventualities is a must, and despite those challenges, the reward at the end of the shoot is well worth the time and effort!
Get easy-to-understand instruction on maternity and newborn photography tips.
Along with photojournalists, documentary photographers strive to depict newsworthy events in a way that helps people better understand or connect to the event that's occurring.
The focus of documentary photography is on emotionality - evoking a feeling in the viewer that makes the event more real.
Though war photography is likely the best-known subgenre of documentary photography, many other events - presidential activities, state gatherings, and national celebrations - might fall under the purview of a documentary photographer. Additionally, many documentary photographers simply seek to capture daily life, history, culture, and so forth.
Still Life Photography
Still life photography is all about creating images of objects.
In many instances, just a single object or a few objects - a bowl of fruit, for example - might serve as the subject of a still life photo.
The key to a successful still life image is having excellent lighting that casts an even light on the subject while also minimizing shadows.
Even though it might not be the most popular photography type, by focusing on the lighting, you can create an interesting scene out of even the most mundane of subjects - silverware, items on a desk, kids' toys, and so on.
If you've got a keen eye for detail, macro photography might be for you.
Photographing small objects - flowers and insects, for example - is actually a lot easier than it looks, provided you have the right gear and the right approach.
In fact, you can use your smartphone for macro photography and get pretty awesome results!
Like any type of photography, becoming a pro at macro takes time, but if you commit yourself to practicing and learning, you can create some truly breathtaking photos.
When you're just starting out in photography, your pets are one of the best subjects with which to work.
After all, they're easy to access, they'll listen to your direction (hopefully!), and you can photograph them in the comfort of your own home.
Better still, because many of the same principles of portrait photography apply to pet photography, it's a great primer for flexing your portraiture muscles down the road.
So, put your dog in his favorite costume, grab your camera, and start working on your composition skills, mastering camera settings, and storytelling abilities!
For a humorous look at these and other types of photography, be sure to check out the video above by Antti Karppinen.
In the meantime, use the information I've provided above to think about the type of photography that best suits your interests and skills.
Don't be afraid to test out multiple genres as well!