What are the Different Types of Photography?
Because photography encompasses so many niches, there are hundreds of types to follow and try. These photography niches also define the personality and taste of a particular photographer. The equipment needed for the different types of photography varies somewhat as well.
Some examples of types of photography include:
- Black and White Photography
- Experimental Photography
- Travel Photography
- Landscape Photography
- Advertising Photography
- Wedding Photography
- HDR Photography
- Fashion Photography
- Aerial Photography
- Street Photography
- Sports Photography
- Portrait Photography
- Still Life Photography
- Abstract Photography
In terms of art, photography is a relatively new medium, dating back roughly two-hundred years. In just two centuries, photography has given birth to a number of sub-mediums, or “styles.”
Depending on your intended final product, one style could make or break your design. Specific styles have their own appeal, and with time, practice, and a little luck, you can learn various methods. We have explored the above-listed styles, so you can find one perfect for your own photography needs!
Black and White Photography
Black and white photography (B/W or B&W) is often used by journalists and professionals, and it continues to be one of the favored forms of monochromatic art. While photography may be new, color photography is a far more recent development. Perhaps this is why B&W images are used (and often ideal) for creating a certain sense of timelessness.
Because black and white photography is so often used in journalism, we often equate B&W photos to honesty. In the same way, serif font might trick us into believing something is more reliable/scholarly, B&W photography’s unique look gives us the sensation of truth.
Experimental photography uses photo manipulation to alter our perceptions as well as our expectations. Photographers often use this type of art to tell a story or create art specific to their cause (e.g. cover art, fantastical photographs, and even advertisements).
Travel photography can be deeply personal or highly sellable, depending on the specific content. We’ve all seen (and drooled over) travel blogs and websites, in which people document everything from Stonehenge to hotel rooms.
In defining travel photography, it really comes down to the story; the photographer captures new places and experiences and we get to view it from their perspective. They try to capture the feelings that they’re having at that strange place. They also learn landscape photography as they have to capture different beautiful landscapes as well.
Landscape photography is perhaps one of the most traditional photography styles, and it’s no mystery as to why; our world has fantastic views. Capturing landscapes through photography is a powerful skill, as it often allows honest documentation of nature.
However, you may notice landscape photography does not always capture nature exclusively. Photographing landscapes can also include cityscapes, bridges, historical buildings, and even people.
As you may have guessed, advertising photography falls on the commercial end of the photography spectrum. This style is used by brands, freelancers, businesses (small and large), and many others to market products and services. Advertising photography can be utilized across a number of platforms, especially as social media and product design continue to develop.
Wedding photography has no doubt evolved in style and cost in the past decade, growing as both a trend and art form. Wedding photographers must be focused and time-oriented, as the unique documentation of a single day falls on them.
In recent years, many wedding photographers have even utilized drone photography. Many photo studios around the world specialize in wedding photography and take pictures of couples celebrating their honeymoon as well.
In terms of income potential, wedding photography is one of the most lucrative specialties in the industry for those who are able to master it.
HDR photography stands for “high dynamic range” imaging. This technique, used to increase the dynamic range of luminosity, aims to provide a wide variety of light conditions. Used for many years, this technique dates back to the 1850s. When photography pioneer Gustave La Gray used a high luminosity range to illuminate his seascape imagery, a new technique was born.
Typically, HDR photography involves taking multiple shots of the same scene with varying exposures and then merging them together. With this technique, photographers are able to capture details in the shadow and highlight areas that would be lost or blown out with a single exposure.
Many apps and editing tools now include this feature, and some cameras also automatically merge photos to create an HDR image. As technology in cameras continues to advance, modern cameras are able to capture a broader dynamic range without the need to merge multiple exposures. Another option is to use software to replicate the effect (like you can do with this HDR Photoshop actions).
Fashion photography is a high-end genre focused on showcasing clothing and products. This style of photography is commonly associated with magazines like Elle, Vogue, Vanity Fair, and other lifestyle features.
This popular genre is growing fast across university campuses, as many young people utilize this style in their fashion/beauty blogs. The DIY appeal of blogging has arguably begun a fashion photography revolution, specifically in females 16-25.
Aerial photography, or high-angled photography, became a reality through the invention of flight. Aerial photography was utilized during World War II, as a way to document enemy landings. At the peak of World War II, British planes managed to complete one-hundred flights a day, capturing over 50,000 images to interpret daily.
Today, most aerial photos are captured by drones. As the cost of drones has decreased in recent years, aerial photography has become accessible for the average person. Drones can capture video and imagery from a high vantage point. Shots can be taken from an aircraft; however, drones manage to capture similar imagery with very little expense. Travel photographers learn air photography along with landscape photography and it gives them freedom o capture almost everything at far-off distances clearly.
Google Maps’ publicly available photos are taken through satellite photography, allowing further development of Google’s mapping software. With a massive influx of drone usage, this trend has grown much in the last three years.
Street photography can feature the presence of people, animals, objects, and events. Whether artistic, political, or simply a tool for mapping, street photography captures its setting in a unique way.
Street photography continues to resonate with artistic photographers as well as lifestyle photographers, due in part to the blog ability of such images. Even Google Maps has done a great deal to provide accessible street imagery; Google Street (an extension of Google Maps) allows a full, 360-degree view of various roads.
When it comes to art, sports photography can often be overlooked. Athletics bring to mind coordination, business, and entertainment, but are not often affiliated with creative expression. However, sports are emotionally charged, and games and athletes can change course unexpectedly.
Art is famously difficult to define, but art (photography, specifically) is often used to capture the truth. By shooting an athlete, coach, or even a fan at the right moment, photographers can take a genuine moment and make it permanent.
Portrait photography can be useful in a variety of projects, be it commercial or political. Portrait photography gives viewers the chance to connect with the subject of a photo.
Unlike advertising photography, the subject of a portrait may or may not be made to look flawless. Portraits can include headshots or full-body shots, and they can encompass a number of emotions and imagery.
Still Life Photography
Like portrait photography, still lives can be used for both artistic and commercial purposes. Still lives often tell a story through inanimate objects. These types of photographs are unique, as they typically work well for stock photos (depending on the content) and art galleries alike. The impersonal nature of viewing objects makes still life photography a “safe” medium in many ways.
Abstract photography uses images that are not immediately recognizable, and this creates a sensation within the viewer. Abstract photos can be calming, disorienting, and/or intriguing. Not unlike still life photography, abstract images are often ideal for offices and stock imagery due to their nonspecific content. They can be sold at really higher prices as they take a lot more effort and creativity to capture them, and there is a certain artistic sense to them.
In the same way, B&W photography provides a sense of honesty, photojournalism’s core purpose is, to tell the truth objectively and without bias. This mission has become deeply controversial in some circles, with famous accounts of photojournalists shooting tragedies, such as the photojournalist who captured a woman drowning in the high tides of Plum Island, MA. Despite the varying viewpoints on photojournalists’ ethical responsibilities, one thing is certain; it is their job to help us experience stories through imagery.
As a photographer, you are limitless and you have the right to express your feelings in your best possible way. Each and every aspect of photography depicts new information and represents the true image of things that are not easily accessible by the common people. The purpose of creating niches is that so that each photographer gets full in-depth knowledge of the particular niche and discovers it to the extreme. As a photographer, you work as a discoverer and you hunt for the best possible situation or scenario. If you are aspiring to become a photographer, then you must also choose among these niches so that you serve a particular industry and earn a good reputation.
As you pursue your own artistic passions, consider these photographic styles and how they can influence your work. Creatives consistently draw inspiration from one another, and why shouldn’t various niches of photography inspire you? Photography is an overwhelmingly diverse genre of art; perhaps you’ll choose one of the techniques above, or maybe you’ll find another style that best suits you.