There are many different types of photography. Understanding which category a photo falls into will develop your photographic knowledge.
We’ve made a list of 60 different types of photography. You can familiarise yourself with every photography niche.
[Note: ExpertPhotography is supported by readers. Product links on ExpertPhotography are referral links. If you use one of these and buy something, we make a little bit of money. Need more info? See how it all works here.]
You won’t find an immediate association with abstract or conceptual photography images. This type of photography stand out from the object world.
The use of photographic equipment, processes or materials is important. They are what make these images possible.
Anything adventure, photographed in the outdoors, goes in here. This is a niche photographic area. It includes stunning landscapes and challenging shooting conditions.
Advertising photography captures items for posters, billboards, or adverts in magazines or newspapers. The internet is also a huge platform for this type of photography.
Product photography is similar as it is about selling a product. Advertising photography continues by showing a brand or service. Sometimes, they can be situational images
Architecture Photography involves photographing buildings and structures. They are accurate representations of the subjects, captured using specialised cameras and techniques.
Astrophotography records objects in the night sky. Stars, satellites, and planets are no exception. Even black holes, if you have a telescope long enough.
If you’d like to try astrophotography, check out our Milky Way Mastery course!
Black and white photography is the act of capturing a scene without colour. Here, you capture the scene in black and white or convert it during post-processing.
This also covers low key monochrome images that use lighting in a minimalist way.
Boudoir photography captures intimate and romantic images of subjects. They take place in a bedroom or dressing room environment.
Boudoir shots can be a gift to a partner on the occasion of an engagement or wedding.
Candid photography is the act of capturing subjects without their knowledge. This is helpful in event or street photos, where you want to capture reality.
You can be sure of unposed subjects, resulting in real scenes and facial expressions. Documentary photography and photojournalism become stronger when the scene isn’t falsified.
A cityscape is a representation of the physical aspects of a city, metropolis or urban area.
This is the urban equal of a landscape. They can show a city during the day or at night. You can incorporate many different techniques and perspectives.
Commercial photography requires taking pictures for commercial use. They can promote or sell a product or service.
Here, photographers are often commissioned or paid beforehand. Examples include photographs for corporate brochures, menus, and leaflets.
Crystal ball photography is capturing a scene by using a crystal ball.
You can keep them close to your camera, or place them further away towards the edges. Be wary though; the scene will appear upside down.
NB: It will burn your hand on sunny days. Trust me.
Documentary photography is for chronicling events or environments.
These types of photography shots tend to be relevant to history and historical events. The images focus on everyday life.
These images get photographed from up-down. Or they utilise an angle to create abstract or realistic images of the landscape.
Editorial photographs are images captured for use in newspapers and magazines.
These are candid images and can incorporate fashion, sports, and event photography.
Event photography is photographing guests and scenarios at any event or occasion.
Family photography is the act of photographing a family in portrait situations. The images show the relationship between those you shoot.
They can be staged and posed, or candid images to reflect the atmosphere and mood. They are for the family themselves to enjoy.
Fashion photography is the act of photographing displayed clothing and other items. It can happen in studio conditions or at the live catwalk and fashion shows.
The images are for editorial or advertisement uses.
Fine art photography is where the photographer is the artist. Here, capturing the subject is not the primary purpose.
Fine art images can be artistic statements. They have a stronger concept than the same image photographed in a traditional style.
A fish-eye photograph comes from using a super-wide-angle lens. This means focal lengths between 8mm to 16mm.
These images come out very distorted, especially towards the edges. Use it for something that calls for it.
Food photography is a niche area of still life photography. In this area, we concentrate on food, ingredients, styling and food-related scenes.
This is also a niche of commercial or editorial photography. The images here become advertisements in magazines.
Forced perspective photography is fun to make and to look at. With a forced perspective, the viewer sees a different angle from the subject.
You can use this with any kind of photography, as long as you have control over the perspective of your scene.
Glamour photography is like portrait photography, usually with female subjects. Boudoir photography is the closest genre. It uses erotic poses which range from clothed to nude images.
They could be for advertising or a style of portraiture. They are more often than not seen as a little seedy. Done well, they can produce some beautiful images.
This is when the sun is at its lowest point in the sky. The sunlight isn’t as harsh as other times of the day and gives off a warm tone.
Headshot photography is a genre like portraiture. The difference here is that the photographer only goes for headshots.
A headshot is a typical shot of the head and bust. But it can go as far as a torso shot with folded arms. Images such as these are for professional use. Either for online purposes or as a portfolio shot for actors.
High Dynamic Range or HDR photography has been a new trend for the last decade. It was a process that many film photographers used in printing their images.
With digital photography, you take 3/5/7 or even 9 images across a range of different exposures. The idea is that by stitching them together, you get detail in the highlights and shadows of your scene.
This is something you can do in Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and a slew of other editing programs.
Indoor photography refers to images captured inside. Here, the photographer needs to use camera settings or gear to help account for the lack of ambient light.
Indoor photography is like interior photography. These are without a specific editorial or commercial aim.
Infrared photography refers to an image where harnessing the infrared light is important. It can take place with analogue or digital photography.
The infrared light passes through to the camera sensor, blocking other visible light.
You will need a filter for these kinds of shots. Or you can create it using post-processing software.
Kinetic photography is all about movement. Not the subject, but your camera. Moving your camera while you shoot a scene can provide an interesting and creative image.
Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) is one of these. Here, you throw your camera up in the air as it records a long exposure. The result can be a string of lights, perfect for multiple exposures.
Landscape photography is the capturing of nature. They can be man-made features or the disturbances found in physical areas.
These can include trees, nature, deserts, and beaches. They focus on the outdoors during specific seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter).
Sunsets and even night photography are also popular in this genre.
Lifestyle photography is a genre that aims to capture people in real-life situations. They tell stories, rather than to show an obvious set-up.
These images are often staged as much as a fashion shoot. They show scenes and items for editorial or commercial uses.
Here, we present these types of photography subjects in a more natural, believable way.
Long exposure photography is capturing a scene with a long shutter speed setting. This allows you to capture stationary elements while blurring or obscuring moving elements.
These types of photography shots are possible during the day or night time.
Macro photography refers to photographing tiny subjects up close. Here, we use specialised lenses or photographic equipment. A true macro image comes from enlarging a subject bigger than its 1:1 ratio.
One trick to try is including landscapes in the foreground of these images.
Minimalist photography captures a scene using the least amount of visual elements. These types of photography components can include color, texture, lines, and forms.
Mobile, or smartphone photography refers to all photography captured using your mobile phone.
Multiple exposures have made a come back in the last decade as a creative photography theme. The photographer layers images in-camera or with editing software.
Here you get two (or more) scenes in one image, full to the brim with detail. You can use digital or analogue methods by layering negatives or going over an already shot film.
Newborn photography is the capturing of a newborn baby. This can be with or without other members of the family.
This is one of the only types of photography where safety is the number one element. The photographer handles the safety and welfare of the subject.
Night photography refers to all photography taken at nighttime. You need to use different camera settings, techniques, and gear to capture low lit scenes.
They can incorporate long-exposures and time-lapses.
Astrophotography is also possible with such specialisations as light-painting.
A panorama photography shot is one that shows a large field of view. The photographer can do this in many ways. Either they use their mobile phone to record a panorama. Or you can stitch many images together.
By stepping away from wide-angle lenses, you stop any distortion entering your scene. Then you are free to show up to 360° of your scene.
Photo Manipulation is all about photo editing software. Photographers can take a few shots and then manipulate them in Adobe Photoshop.
It takes time to darken and lighten areas, and use other adjustments to make parts of the scenes pop. The photographer can create a fantasy world, one which viewers have never seen the likes of.
Photojournalism is the act of communicating news using photographic images. The primary use of these images is in magazines, using an editorial platform. They also incorporate still life, candid photography, documentary and war photography.
Travel, street, portrait, and architecture genres cross-over to make photojournalism possible.
Portrait photography is the act of photographing people. Here, we look at their physical expressions and features. These include self-portraits and silhouettes.
Prism photography is much like crystal ball photography. You capture through a prism-shaped glass element.
This creates a texture at the sides of your image, distorting areas that would otherwise be boring.
This branch of commercial photography captures objects for advertisement uses. You may find product shots in catalogues and brochures, or online.
Product photography includes jewellery and food images, to name a few.
Real estate photography is capturing a property for commercial or editorial reasons. Here, lighting techniques and the use of camera gear are very important.
This genre includes interior photography. This is where we only capture the inside of the house.
Scientific photography isn’t a creative field as such. It is a way of record keeping. These types of photography could document new discoveries. They can also show the human body in abstract ways.
It is an all-encompassing genre and can range from portraits to macro images of cells. This is a specialised field. Technical ability is more important than the creative element.
Seascape, or ocean photography is a niche of the landscape genre. Here, the sea or ocean is the main focus. Other possibilities are boats, islands or rock formations and cliffs.
Coastal photography is also included in this genre.
Social media photography is the act of sharing your images on social media platforms. They include but are not exclusive to Instagram and Facebook. These images can be editorial, still-life or fashion photography, to name a few.
They can also be part of commercial campaigns. All types of photography have the capacity to be social media photography images.
Different sports need different camera gear, lenses, settings, and techniques.
Still-life photography is the act of photographing inanimate objects to create a scene. Food, floral or product photography is an example of still-life photography.
Stock photography is one of the fastest-growing photography business ideas out there. The photographer captures images for websites that sell their images for them.
Companies, photographers and bloggers buy these images to use on their own site. It’s cheaper than having to capture the image yourself.
This is an all-encompassing genre. It includes portraits, weddings, advertising shots, and landscapes. Anything that is sellable is on the stock photography websites.
Street photography refers to images taken on or from the street. Looking at the everyday lives of people in public places is the general focus. This is also known as urban photography if the primary location is an urban or city setting.
This genre incorporates portraiture, architecture, and candid photography.
You can use tilt-shift photography with large-format cameras. This is down to the focal plane and the film planes being independent. You can change the focus not only horizontally but also vertically.
It removes the parallax errors found from photographing buildings. This genre can be very creative. From a high vantage point, you can make buildings look tiny a model village.
Time-lapse photography is a succession of images of the same scene. The purpose is to show the scene in a state of fluctuation. These images will show all changes in a scene through the created video.
These take place during the day or nighttime (incorporating both is a ‘holy grail’).
Travel photography documents an area or location through the application of photography. This incorporates portraiture, landscapes, street, and nighttime photography.
National Geographic and professional photographers such as Steve McCurry made this genre famous. They use both color and black and white.
Urban exploration or urbex photography is the act of photographing abandoned places. This genre incorporates architectural and interior photography.
This type of photography is exciting due to its dangerous and ambiguous legal nature. Research is vital in this niche.
This involves photographing armed conflicts and their effects on places and people. It is a form of documentary photography and photojournalism. The resulting images are for editorial use.
Wedding photography includes all activities relating to weddings. It will encompass portraiture, family photography, posing and even drone photography.
Wildlife photography is about documenting animals in their natural habitats. Specialised equipment such as telephoto lenses are essential.
This 60 types might be a lot to take in. We suggest you come back to this article as it collects the main genres of photography.
If you are a beginner, you are going to find loads of new ideas among these. Getting to know these types of photography is a nice start of this beautiful hobby.
But as a professional photographer, you can get inspiration here as well.