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Photography Types | From Abstract to Wildlife

Related course: Photography for Beginners

We are bombarded with visual imagery, from every angle, all the time. They are on your social media platforms, on any website you visit, any TV channel you turn over to. They are even in our newspapers and magazines.
Understanding the different genres or types of photography will help. Your photographic knowledge will develop and grow. This is why we’ve made a list of them so you can familiarise yourself with every photography niche.

Abstract Photography

Abstract or conceptual photography
are images that you don’t have an immediate association with. They stand out from the object world.
The use of photographic equipment, processes or materials are important. They are what makes these images possible.
An expressive abstract photography image with a pattern of blue and red light

Adventure Photography

Anything adventure, photographed in the outdoors, goes in here.
This is very much a niche photographic area. It includes stunning landscapes and challenging shooting conditions.
A dreamy adventure photography shot of a girl on the ocean at sunset

Architecture Photography

Architecture Photography involves photographing buildings and structures. They are accurate representations of the subjects, captured using specialized cameras and techniques.
And if you’ve ever wondered what that tilt-shift lens is for, well, now you know.
An architecture photography shot of the exterior of a multi roofed, modern building

Astrophotography

Astrophotography records objects in the night sky.
It includes Deep Sky, which is the capturing of faraway subjects using a telescope. The Solar System is the act of photographing subjects in our solar system.
Wide Angle (Milky Way) and Time-Lapse (star trail) photography are also included.
A stunning astrophotography shot of a circular pattern of star trails in the night sky

Black and White Photography

Black and white photography is the act of capturing a scene without color. Here, you capture the scene in black and white or convert it during post-processing.
This also covers low key monochrome images which use lighting in a very minimalist way.
a black and white photography shot of an atmospheric forest - types of photography

Boudoir Photography

Boudoir photography is capturing intimate and romantic images of its subjects. They take place in a bedroom or dressing room environment.
The intended use of these is for the enjoyment of the subject and his or her romantic partners. They can be given as a gift to a partner on the occasion of an engagement or wedding.
romantic boudoir photo of a girl sitting against a bed

Candid Photography

Candid photography is the act of capturing subjects without their knowledge.
Here, you can be sure of unposed subjects, resulting in real scenes and facial expressions.
a candid shot of a crowded street scene - types of photography

Cityscape Photography

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 day or night. Even incorporating many different techniques and perspectives.
Stunning cityscape photo at night

Commercial Photography

Commercial photography involves taking pictures for commercial use. They can be used to promote or sell a product or service.
Here, photographers are often commissioned or paid beforehand.
Examples include photographs for corporate brochures, menus, and leaflets.
shadowing commercial photo of a man holding a pepsi bottle - photography genres

Composite Photography

Composite photography is the combining of visual elements from separate sources. Together, they create a resulting single image. This creates an illusion that all these separate elements are part of the same scene.
This area covers double exposures (layering of two or more images), montages (a scene photographed in smaller parts) and multiplicity (capturing a single person multiple times in the same scene).
Focus stacking is also a form of composite photography. This is where a scene is captured at different focal points. When stitched they create a large depth of field.
artistic double exposure of a girl walking through a forest - creative photography styles

Creative Photography

Creative photography is a wide area of photography where creativity takes the lead. The concept or techniques used are just as important as the final image.
These can include crystal ball photography, HDR imaging, fisheye photography, cake smash, and forced perspective photography.
cool crystal ball photography capturing a cityscape

Documentary Photography

Documentary photography refers to a type of photography used to chronicle events or environments.
They tend to be both significant and relevant to history and historical events. These images focus on everyday life.
black and white documentary photo of a woman holding a baby on a cloudy day - photography types

Drone Photography

Drone or aerial photography is the action of photographing from an airborne object. This can include, but not exclusive to helicopters, planes and drones.
These images are photographed from up-down. Or they utilise an angle to create abstract or realistic images of the landscape.
Overhead shot of a beautiful and clear beach scene

Editorial Photography

Editorial photographs are images captured for use in newspapers and magazines.
These are candid images and can incorporate fashion, sports, and event photography.
editorial fahion photography shoot of a model in a white dress posing outdoors

Event Photography

Event photography is the practice of photographing guests and scenarios at any event or occasion.
These include weddings, product releases, parties, carnivals, corporate photography and live concert photography.
a crowd cheering at a concert or event

Family Photography

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.
beautiful close up family portrait of a mother and son

Fashion Photography

Fashion photography is the act of photographing displayed clothing and other items. It can happen in studio conditions or at live catwalk and fashion shows.
The images are for editorial or advertisement uses.
models and photographers backstage at a fashion show - photography types

Fine Art Photography

Fine art photography is where the photographer is the artist. Here, the capturing of the subject is not the main purpose.
These images can be artistic statements. They have a stronger concept than the same image photographed in a traditional style.
Fine art photography shot of white flowers on a dark surface with dark background

Food Photography

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.
colorful overhead food photography shot

Golden Hour Photography

Golden hour photography refers to the hour before sunset and an hour after sunrise.
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.
beautiful beach scene at golden hour

Indoor Photography

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 similar to interior photography. these are without a specific editorial or commercial aim.
An interior photography shot of a cosy living room - photography genres

Infrared Photography

Infrared photography refers to an image where harnessing the infrared light is important. It can take place with analog or digital photography. The infrared light passes through to the camera sensor, blocking the other visible light.
You will need a filter for this. Or you can create it using post-processing software.
Infrared Photography of a sprawling Cityscape at sunset

Landscape Photography

Landscape photography is the capturing of nature. They can be man-made features or the disturbances found in physical areas.
These can include tree photography, 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.
stunning shot of boats on a turquoise sea with a mountainous landscape behind - types of photography

Lifestyle Photography

Lifestyle photography is a genre that aims to capture people in real-life situations. They tell stories, rather than to show an obvious and staged 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 subjects in a more natural, believable way.
overhead shot of a person drinking tea and eating cereal while looking through a magazine - types of photography

Long Exposure Photography

Long exposure photography is capturing a scene with a long shutter speed setting. This allows you to capture stationary elements of a scene while blurring or obscuring the moving elements.
These are possible during daytime or nighttime.
long exposure shot of a lonely looking tower on white water and against white sky - types of photography

Macro Photography

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.
Perhaps the most popular macro subjects are insects and flowers. But there is so much more beyond that.
a macro shot of water droplets on a leaf

Milky Way Photography

Milky way photography refers to photographing the milky way. Here, we use a camera that works well in low light conditions while allowing us to keep the resolution of the image high.
One trick to try is including landscapes in the foreground of these images.
beautifully colored seascape photography at night - milky way and other types of photography

Minimalist Photography

Minimalist photography refers to capturing a scene using the least amount of visual elements. These components can include, yet not exclusive to color, texture, lines, and forms.
minimalist photography of a white arrow in a white wall -different types of photography

Mobile Photography

Mobile, or smartphone photography refers to all photography captured using your mobile or cell phone.
And when we say all, we do mean all. From fashion to food to macro, your phone is a versatile tool.
a person holding a smartphone to take photos of buildings

Newborn Photography

Newborn photography is the capturing of a newborn baby. This can be with or without other members of the family.
This is the only area of photography where safety is the number one element. The photographer is responsible for the safety and welfare of the subject.
Photographers often composite images to create interesting scenes. Images that give the impression that the baby is alone are a popular technique.
sweet close up newborn baby photography portrait - types of photography

Night Photography

Night photography refers to all photography taken at nighttime. Here, the photographer needs 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 specializations as light-painting and spiral photography.
spiral light painting at night

Pet Photography

Pet Photography is the act of photographing pets in a portrait manner. Examples of these could be photographing cats, birds or horses.
cute pet portrait of a brown dog outdoors

Photojournalism

Photojournalism is the act of communicating news using photographic images. The primary use of these images are in magazines, using an editorial platform. They also incorporate still life, candid photography, documentary and war photography.
Travel, street, portrait and architecture are just a few. These genres cross-over to make photojournalism possible.
a photojournalist shot of three monks walking down a street - different types of photography

Portrait Photography

Portrait photography is the act of photographing people. Here, we look at their physical expressions and features. These include self-portraits, silhouettes and high-key (using well-lit scenes) images.
Also, faceless captures (guillotine method) and environmental portraits are also possible.
close up black and white portrait of an old man

Product Photography

This is a branch of commercial photography, where we capture an object for advertisement uses. You may find these images in catalogs and brochures, or online.
These include jewellery and water splash images, to name a few.
a product photography shot of a pineapple and product bottle on a wooden chopping board

Real Estate Photography

Real estate photography is capturing a property for commercial or editorial reasons. Here, lighting techniques and use of camera gear are very important.
This genre includes interior photography. This is where we only capture the inside of the house. We can all guess what exterior photography means.
An interior photography shot of a luxurious dining room

Seascape Photography

Seascape, or ocean photography is a niche of landscape photography. Here, the sea or ocean is the main focus. Other possibilities are shooting people, boats, islands or other geographical objects such as rock formations and cliffs.
Coastal photography is also included in this genre.
serene seascape with an island in the distance

Social Media Photography

Social media photography is the act of sharing your images on social media platforms. They include, yet not exclusive to Instagram and Facebook. These images can be editorial, still-life or fashion photography, to name a few.
Or they can be part of commercial campaigns. All types of photography have the capacity to be social media photography images.
three people on smartphones standing outside an airport - social media photography

Sports Photography

Sports photography is the act of photographing all kinds of sports. These can be fast-action sports, such as car racing and airshows. they can be more relaxed, such as marathon and yoga photography.
Different sports require different camera gear, lenses, settings and techniques.
sports photography action shot of a martial arts fight

Still-Life Photography

Still-life photography is the act of photographing arranged inanimate objects to create a pleasing scene. Food or floral photography is an example of still-life photography.
a still life of four glass bottles holding flowers - different types of photography

Street Photography

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.
black and white street photography of a woman standing in front of a stone wall

Time-Lapse Photography

Time-lapse photography is a type of photography where a succession of images are 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 daytime or nighttime (incorporating both is a ‘holy grail’).
Spectacular time-lapse photo of a planet moving through space

Travel Photography

Travel photography is the act of documenting 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 utilise both colour and black and white photography.
serene travel photo of the canals in Venice at sunset

Urban Exploration Photography

Urban exploration or urbex photography is the act of photographing abandoned places and spaces. This genre incorporates architectural and interior photography.
This type of photography is exciting due to its dangerous and legally ambiguous nature. Research is very important in this niche.
Interesting urban exploration shot of the interior of a multi leveled abandoned building

War Photography

This involves photographing armed conflicts and its effects on places and people. It is a form of documentary photography and photojournalism. The resulting images are for editorial use.
atmospheric documentary photo of a girl walking through destroyed buildings - types of photography

Wedding Photography

Wedding photography includes all activities relating to weddings. It will encompass portraiture, family photography, posing and even drone photography.
They can be black and white images, and include specific props and gear, such as a photo booth.
Beautiful wedding photo of the bride and groom holding hands in front of a sunflower field

Wildlife Photography

Wildlife photography is about documenting animals in their natural habitats. Specialized equipment, such as telephoto or macro lenses, are very important.
Wildlife photography of a mother and baby elephant in their natural habitats

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