It’s no wonder that you want to know more about all the different types of photography. With the rise of photo sharing apps like Instagram, we are entering a world where anyone with a smartphone can become (and probably is) a photographer. But what does that really mean? Most of us may not think too much about the pictures we’re snapping on a daily basis, but if you’re hoping to grow as a photographer, it’s important to know exactly what you’re doing when you’re lining up your next shot — and how you can better it, thanks to some tried-and-true techniques.
The 17 main types of photography
Below is a list of all the different types of photography, along with some points about what it takes to master each one.
Aerial photography, also known as airborne imagery, is when you take pictures from an aircraft or another flying object, allowing you to photograph a place or thing from a bird’s eye view. It’s especially great for photographing landscapes or cities, as it offers a unique perspective that viewers may not otherwise get.
Black and White photography
While black and white used to be the only option for photos, some photographers still keep up the tradition, using the limited color palette to add drama and definition to their pieces. While black and white photography isn’t good for everything, it is great for photos that have shadows and contrast, keeping your photographs looking crisp and clean.
For composite photography, you don’t just pick up a camera and take photos of what you see. In fact, these kind of images can feature dozens (and sometimes hundreds) of photographs, which photographers treat and morph into one single image. This style of photography is definitely not for beginners but can be fun for artists who feel comfortable with Photoshop and other creative tools for treating images.
Candid photography is one of the main types of photography that is what most people think of when they think about photography — it’s documenting the everyday life. It captures moments as they spontaneously happen, without having the subjects pose or act a certain way — in fact, oftentimes the subjects aren’t completely aware that they’re being photographed. This gives the subjects a more relaxed look and the photographs a true-to-life feel.
Infrared photography utilizes filters or special features to take an ordinary image and make it extraordinary. It typically involves overlaying images with different colors, such as adding red to photographs of a mountain or purple to a grassy field, giving the images an otherworldly, almost fairytale-esque feel.
Fashion photography usually has an ulterior motive: to sell something. To do this, photographers often glamorize the product, using the location, the model, and the lighting to lure in the customers’ attention. These photos are often approached with a lot of forethought, meaning most are posed and not candid.
Food photography is one of the biggest trends on social media, and honestly, who’s really surprised? I could scroll through pictures of delicious treats all day, just dreaming of how they would taste. While food photographers are generally chefs or bloggers, even amateurs like to play their hand at this one, filling their Instas and Snapchats with their envy-worthy meals. These photos usually employ a lot of natural lighting as to not wash out the colors or attract attention to grease or other unwanted elements.
Night-long Exposure Photography
This kind of photography captures how the world changes after dark, something most of us aren’t able to see with the naked eye — and something cameras can’t capture naturally. Out of all the types of photography, this is an art for only the most skilled photographers, as it takes a lot of knowledge about light, aperture, and shutter speed to capture these images.
Macro photography generally takes a small subject — like tiny plants, bugs, or objects — and blows them up in an image to make them seem larger than life. Their characteristics often seem exaggerated or magnified, giving these subject a surreal, otherworldly look. These photographs usually require special lenses and attachments to capture the small, easily overlooked details.
Anyone can take pictures of the inside of a building or home; interior photographers are able to turn these ordinary features and turn them into art. Artists who dabble in interior photography are able to find the drama and beauty in oftentimes ordinary spaces, though sometimes the interior design speaks for itself.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have architectural photography, which deals mostly with photographing buildings and their design. Photographers that dabble in architectural photography often have a good eye for visually interesting exteriors and know how to capture them in a way that preserves their charm.
Conceptual/Fine Art Photography
Conceptual and fine art photography is perhaps one of the most creative forms of photography, simply because it requires so much idealization and conceptualization. These images usually tell a story and is able to relay a message or emotion through its subject. This genre of photography includes fairytale art, where the photographer tries to
This kind of photography is self-explanatory — instead of exploring an animate subject, photographers study outdoor landscapes and their natural beauty. Under this branch of photography, you’ll usually find images of national parks, mountains, and forests.
Wildlife photography is a pretty difficult medium for artists, considering they have to capture animals in their natural habitat without somehow influencing them. And since animals can be hard to predict, it takes a skilled photographer to know when’s the right time to take the picture — otherwise, the perfect moment will pass before you even realize what’s happening
Documentary photography generally consists of a series of photographs that tell a story, usually document a time or a place. Documentary photography has been used to chronical significant events such as wars, social movements, or the life of significant figures, often highlighting certain details that might otherwise go unnoticed.
Portraiture is often about capturing a person’s emotions or expressions with little glam or pizzaz. The face — especially the eyes — is generally the focus of these photos, though it may also include a certain body pose or stature.
Photojournalism, like documentary photography, is meant to chronicle a certain point in time; however, photojournalism tends to capture live events as it’s happening and is used primarily to inform people about the goings-on in the world. This is the kind of photography you’ll often see in newspapers and magazines and often takes a certain knack for expecting the unexpected to excel in.