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10 Different Types of Photography

Photography is the process of creating images that capture the likeness of the subject matter by recording light. The subject matter of photography differs depending on the genre but can be anything the photographer wants to convey to the viewer. 

Photography styles
Photography is an art and skill that comes in many forms.

Below are the ten most common types of photography. 

  • Portrait photography
  • Landscape photography
  • Nature photography 
  • Real estate photography
  • Astrophotography 
  • Macro photography 
  • Headshot photography
  • Drone photography 
  • Flower photography 

Regardless of the type, the purpose of photography is to document, preserve, express oneself artistically, and build bridges between different times, cultures, and places. It’s a powerful tool that helps us understand ourselves and the world that surrounds us. 

Anyone can take up photography. It’s a truly egalitarian art form that you can master without expensive equipment or pricey courses. All you need to start is a phone camera, a basic understanding of lighting and composition, and the willingness to experiment until your skills improve and you find your unique style. At that point, you may want to upgrade to a DSLR camera and invest in lenses that suit your style of photography best. 

Below is a comprehensive overview of the ten key types of photography, a discussion of its purpose and significance, and a few tips to get you started on this hobby. 

1. Portrait photography

Portrait photography is the process of capturing the likeness, personality, and mood of a person (or group of people). This style of photography typically uses a vertical orientation, so the image is taller than it is wide.

Portrait photography style

The purpose of portrait photography is to document someone’s appearance while telling a story about the subject and preserving the moment in which their portrait is captured.

Anyone can be the subject of a portrait. Family, friends, professional models, or even complete strangers are suitable subjects – each person has a unique story to tell.

Portraiture comes with a set of challenges, like any other form of photography. The biggest of these hurdles is helping your subject relax and appear natural in front of the camera. Additionally, you must know how to make decisions quickly and be prepared for unpredictable conditions, such as changing natural light or a subject who’s unable to strike the pose you wish to capture.

A quality portrait photograph should evoke emotions in the viewer. Creating captivating portraits requires you to master at least two key skills: Creating a composition and using lighting to your advantage. Composition refers to the arrangement of elements within the frame, which is crucial to creating a balanced image that “feels” right to the viewer. Meanwhile, strategic natural or studio lighting helps you highlight your subject and bring out their unique features. Together, these elements let you shape the mood and atmosphere of your portrait.

2. Landscape photography

Landscape photography captures the beauty and vastness of the natural world. It encompasses everything from mountain vistas to stormy coastlines to tranquil lakes. Horizontal orientation is the norm for landscape photographs: this means the image is wider than it is tall.

Landscape photography style

The objective of landscape photography is to transport the viewer to a natural setting and evoke a sense of wonder. Any natural scenery can serve as the subject matter of landscape photography. Whether your subject is the ocean with the sky above it, or a river winding through wooded mountains, your landscapes can convey a vast array of feelings and emotions to the viewer.

Landscape photography presents two unique challenges. Firstly, you have little control over your environment and must adapt quickly to changing light and weather conditions. Secondly, you may need to hike with heavy gear (and protect this equipment from the elements) to reach scenic locations.

Awe-inspiring landscape photography requires a combination of technical skills and artistic vision. On the technical side, you should master the relationship between aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, as a proper harmony between these settings is essential for controlling the depth of field and capturing a sharp image. Composition is of equal importance: you must position elements within the frame in a way that’s both balanced and visually interesting.

Landscape photographers largely rely on natural light, since their subject is the outdoor scenery. If you’re shooting outdoors, you must be aware of the direction and quality of light, and how these change throughout the day. For example, during golden hour (the hour after sunrise or before sunset), the warm, soft light creates ideal conditions for capturing a landscape.

3. Nature photography

Nature photography depicts the natural world through photos of landscapes, plants, animals, and even minute details like patterns and textures.

Nature Photography style

Scientific documentation, artistic expression, or the photographer’s wish to convey natural beauty are the common goals of nature photography.

Nature offers an abundant array of subjects. You may choose to focus on landscapes, animal portraits, or the fine details of plants and insects.

However, be ready to face the challenges of taking photos out in nature. Unpredictable weather, difficult access to remote locations, and the skittish nature of wildlife will test your patience and skills at some point. Additionally, animals inhabiting the environment you want to photograph may pose a threat to humans.

Specialized skills and knowledge of your subjects are essential if you want to take compelling nature photos. Understanding the behavior of your animal subjects raises your chances of capturing powerful shots. Crucially, you must learn to move quietly, without disturbing wildlife. Patience is key – wildlife photography often involves waiting a long time for that perfect moment when your subject appears in the composition.

Lighting and composition are as essential when capturing nature as they are in other photography types. However, as a nature photographer, you must learn to adapt to existing light instead of trying to control it. A tripod may be necessary to capture sharp images in low light or when using a long telephoto lens.

4. Real estate photography

Real estate photography captures the interior and exterior of homes, buildings, and properties that are being sold or rented. High-quality photos are important in the real estate market because they greatly influence a buyer’s interest in a property.

Real estate photography style

The subject matter of real estate photography is the property. This includes wide-angle shots of rooms, close-up shots of architectural details, and exterior images that show the building’s exterior and landscaping. The main goal of real estate photography is to show these features in an informative and attractive way. To achieve this, real estate photographers must be masters of composition and pay close attention to detail. Knowledge of composition and perspective lets them capture spaces in a way that highlights their spaciousness and brightness. Meanwhile, attention to detail is equally important as real estate photographers have to carefully stage, and then strategically photograph the property’s most appealing features.

Lighting in real estate photography comes with challenges and opportunities. Natural lighting is ideal for showcasing plentiful daylight in a property, which is an important selling feature. However, natural light can be either abundant or elusive, depending on the property’s configuration. To this end, a real estate photographer must know how to use natural and artificial light sources strategically and effectively to capture evenly lit images of the space.

5. Astrophotography

Astrophotography is a form of photography that specializes in capturing celestial objects like stars, planets, nebulae, and galaxies.

Astrophotography style

Astrophotography aims to help us study the universe, discover new celestial bodies, and marvel at the wonders of the cosmos. Any extraterrestrial object in the cosmos can be the subject matter of astrophotography. You can photograph planets within our solar system, galaxies millions of light-years away, or nebulae’s swirling clouds of gas and dust.

But these celestial bodies are faraway and dim, so capturing them demands special equipment and techniques. Telescopes are the standard tool used to magnify distant objects in space. Moreover, you need long exposure times to gather enough light from the faint bodies. Crucially, you should know how to use tracking mounts to compensate for the Earth’s rotation to keep the camera focused on the target.

Natural light pollution is a major challenge for astrophotographers in some areas. That said, the celestial bodies themselves are the primary source of light in astrophotography. In essence, you’re photographing light – a tricky element that doesn’t always make for a clear image. You must process your raw images to enhance details, reduce noise, and bring out the vibrant colors that the naked eye can’t see.

In addition to dealing with light pollution, astrophotographers must consider factors like weather conditions, atmospheric seeing (turbulence), and the precise alignment of their equipment.

6. Macro photography

Macro photography is the process of photographing the intricate details of small subjects. This style shows viewers the world from a different perspective, as it reveals textures and patterns that are otherwise indiscernible to the naked eye.

Macro Photography style

Macro photography is commonly used for scientific documentation, artistic expression, or as a way to reveal the hidden beauty of everyday objects. The subject matter for macro photography is diverse, with popular subjects including insects, flowers, water droplets, and any other small objects with intriguing features.

Specializing in macro photographs means you must deal with unique hurdles that stem from the subject matter’s tiny size. The depth of field is quite shallow, so you must focus your shots with great precision. The slightest movement from you or the subject results in blurred images. Moreover, working with living subjects such as insects demands patience and adaptability, as you have limited control over the composition and have to make decisions on the fly.

Lighting is crucial in macro photography. The extremely short working distances often obstruct natural light, so you have to use ring lights or external flashes to illuminate your subjects. At the same time, careful composition is important to ensure the magnified subject stays clear and compelling in the frame.

Photographers typically use specialized macro lenses to create macro photographs. These lenses have a high magnification ratio (at least 1:1), which allows you to fill the frame with a tiny subject. Techniques like focus stacking (combining multiple images with different focus points) are commonly used to achieve greater depth of field when working at close distances.

7. Headshot photography

Headshot photography is a type of portrait photography that focuses on capturing a clear and professional representation of a person’s face.

Headshot photography style

The purpose of a headshot is to make a positive first impression and convey professionalism, approachability, and competence. Headshots are used by individuals from all walks of life, from corporate executives to actors to everyday people who wish to enhance their online presence.

Lighting in headshot photography must be tailored to flatter the subject’s features. Meanwhile, you have to direct their pose and expression to project warmth and confidence.

Composition in headshot photography typically follows certain conventions. The focus is tightly on the subject’s face and shoulders, with backgrounds kept simple and uncluttered.

Headshot photography additionally comes with the challenge of helping subjects feel relaxed and comfortable, so interpersonal skills are essential if you’re taking headshot photos. You must know how to put your subjects at ease and make them look natural and confident in front of the camera. Tight deadlines are common in headshot photography (especially when working with a large group), so you must know how to handle stress effectively when working quickly and under pressure.

8. Drone photography

Drone photography relies on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, commonly known as drones), to capture photos and videos from up in the air. This type of photography opens a world of possibilities that are difficult to achieve with traditional photography methods, which don’t afford the freedom of shooting from high perspectives virtually anywhere.

drone photography style

Drone photography is commonly used for artistic expression, documenting events, and commercial applications such as real estate marketing. The drones make the subject matter incredibly flexible. They can capture wide panoramas, close-up architectural details, or footage of ongoing events from above.

Capturing photographs from a drone comes with four distinct challenges. Firstly, strict and often-changing safety regulations restrict where and when drones can be flown. Secondly, there are major privacy concerns surrounding drone photography, as intrusive drone flights can infringe on personal privacy and individual rights. Moreover, wind conditions can significantly impact drone stability, making it difficult to capture smooth, controlled images. Finally, limited battery life necessitates careful flight planning and may require multiple batteries to achieve desired shooting times.

To address these challenges, you must know local drone regulations, seek permission before flying over private property, plan shoots according to weather, and carry spare batteries when shooting. Additionally, you need to master the use of lighting and composition, both of which are crucial in drone photography. Fortunately, shooting from a drone gives you unique angles and vantage points to work with. The bird’s-eye view creates opportunities for capturing patterns, symmetry, and the scale of landscapes or cityscapes.

9. Pet photography

Pet photography specializes in capturing the charm and personalities of our animal companions.

Pet Photography style

The purpose of pet photography ranges from preserving memories to creating artistic portraits that showcase the bond between pets and their owners. Naturally, pets are the subject matter of pet photography. Dogs, cats, horses, birds, and even smaller pets (like hamsters or reptiles) can all be the focus of a photo shoot.

The unpredictable nature of the subjects makes pet photography a challenge. As a pet photographer, you must be ready for sudden movements and distractions. Safety is another consideration, since animals may react aggressively during a shoot. To ensure safe, smooth, and successful photoshoots, you should understand animal behavior and know how to connect with animals. To this end, many pet photographers specialize in particular types of animals, such as dogs, cats, or horses. Toys, treats, or sounds are common techniques used to gain a pet’s attention and elicit natural expressions. Patience is key, as animals seldom follow directions on command – especially those from a stranger.

Many pet photos are taken outdoors, so lighting conditions vary widely. As a pet photographer, you must be adaptable to ensure your images are well-exposed and capture the animal’s details. Good composition is as important as lighting, as it emphasizes the animal’s personality.

10. Flower photography

Flower photography zeroes in on flowers’ finest details to showcase their beauty and diversity.

Flower photography style

The two common purposes of flower photography are artistic expression and scientific documentation. Flowers are the subjects of this photographic specialization, and you may choose to focus on single blooms, create compositions with groups of flowers, or capture flowers in their natural environment.

Flowers’ short lifespans and rapidly changing environmental conditions are the two major challenges in flower photography. Flowers often wilt quickly, and weather conditions change with little notice, so you should be adaptable and ready to work quickly when the opportunity arises.

Specialized techniques and equipment help make flower images more compelling and streamline the photographic process. For example, seasoned flower photographers use macro lenses for capturing close-up details. Meanwhile, tripods help stabilize the camera and sharpen the focus. Finally, techniques like focus stacking help achieve greater depth of field when working at extremely close distances.

Both natural and artificial lighting can be suitable in flower photography. Diffusers help you soften harsh sunlight, while reflectors fill in shadows and reveal details of a flower. Careful attention to composition allows you to highlight the unique shapes, colors, and textures of the flowers you photograph.

What is photography for?

Photography is used for three broad purposes: documentation, artistic expression, and establishing connections between different places and times.

Photography is an essential documentation and preservation tool. It lets us capture moments in time and offers a visual record of our lives, major events, or important scientific discoveries. Photojournalists provide a visual record of history by documenting wars, social issues, and natural wonders. Likewise, families preserve memories and links to their past through snapshots and portraits.

But photography transcends mere documentation: it’s a powerful medium for artistic expression. Photographers use light, composition, perspective, and editing to tell stories, evoke emotions, or capture the world’s beauty with their photos. From awe-inspiring landscapes to character-revealing portraits, different styles of photography are a conduit through which artists share their vision with the world.

Finally, photography helps us bridge cultures, generations, and experiences. Family portraits become heirlooms, travel photos transport us to new places, and social media photos help us share our experiences with friends, family, and the public.

Who can do photography?

Photography can be done by individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and levels of expertise. It’s a truly democratic art form. All you need is a camera (whether it’s a simple smartphone or a professional-grade DSLR) and the drive to see the world through a creative lens. With these two simple prerequisites, photography becomes an effective way to express your unique perspective, whether you’re an amateur or a seasoned artist.

There are valuable resources available to help you if you’re a novice photographer. Online tutorials, books, and workshops teach you the technical aspects of the craft, like aperture, shutter speed, and composition. Meanwhile, joining photography communities can give you precious feedback, inspiration, and a sense of belonging.

The best way to improve your photography skills is through practice. The more you experiment with your camera, the more comfortable and confident you’ll feel taking photos. Don’t fear mistakes. Photography takes time to master, and all of the world’s greatest photographers started exactly where you are: with nothing but passion and a camera.

What is the effect of photography on people’s lives?

Photography has a profound effect on people’s lives because it preserves our special moments, helps us understand the world, and allows us to express ourselves and share our experiences.

Photography acts as a time machine. It allows us to freeze important moments and revisit them as time goes by. Family photographs, travel snapshots, and even selfies help us hold onto the past and relive our experiences.

Moreover, photographs help us understand events, cultures, and even ourselves. Photography plays a critical role in documenting history, both on a personal and global scale. Photojournalists risk their lives to capture images of conflicts, disasters, and social movements. These photos ensure that the events they depict are not forgotten. Often, powerful photos of historical moments galvanize public opinion and inspire social change.

Photography is also an art form that promotes experimentation and self-expression. Whether you capture landscapes, portraits, or abstract compositions, the act of creating images can be incredibly fulfilling and give you a new perspective on the world.

Finally, photography breaks down barriers and allows us to share our lives, experiences, and emotions with others. Social media platforms rely heavily on images to provide a space for self-expression and interaction.

Is photography a good hobby?

Yes, photography is an excellent hobby for three reasons: it’s a conduit for self-expression, it’s inexpensive, and it connects you with new people and places.

Firstly, photography fosters your artistic growth and gives you the ultimate freedom to express yourself through images. The subject matter of your images can be anything you like – photography offers a vast array of subjects that fit almost any interest. As your skills improve, capturing and sharing images you love becomes a rewarding experience.

Secondly, you don’t need expensive equipment or extensive training to get into photography. These days, even a smartphone camera offers plenty of possibilities, especially if you’re just starting. As you gain skill and immerse yourself into your new hobby, you can save money to eventually upgrade to a more professional camera and challenge yourself further as a photographer.

Finally, photography helps you connect with new people and see new places. Though it’s a solitary activity, photography creates opportunities to join communities of fellow photographers. Moreover, this hobby motivates you to get outside and discover new places as you seek new subject matter for your shots.

What are some photography tricks for beginners?

Below are eight helpful photography tricks for beginners.

  • Follow the Rule of Thirds: Divide your frame into a grid of nine equal sections, then place important elements of your composition along these lines or at their intersections. This strategy helps create a balanced and appealing image.
  • Seek out leading lines: Look for lines in your surroundings (such as roads, fences, or shadows) that lead the viewer’s eye to your subject.
  • Utilize negative space: Include areas of empty (or less detailed) space in your composition. This space provides a sense of calm and emphasizes the subject.
  • Embrace the Golden Hour: The hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset are known as “the Golden Hour” for their soft, warm light. Shoot during these times to capture portraits and landscapes in their most flattering light.
  • Experiment with angles: Don’t be afraid to shoot from different angles. Get low, get high, and try tilting your camera to create unique perspectives.
  • Understand your camera: Learn the basic functions and settings of your camera. At the very least, familiarize yourself with aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Experiment with these settings as you practice taking photos to learn their effects on the captured images.
  • Practice composition: Composition is the arrangement of elements within your frame. Pay attention to how you place your subject, use lines, and balance the image.
  • Pay attention to lighting: Lighting dramatically affects the mood and feel of your photos. Observe how light changes throughout the day and use natural light to your advantage. Practicing with your camera in different lighting conditions is the best way to learn to use natural light effectively.

How to choose a photography style?

Here are the six steps to help you select a photography style:

  1. Reflect on your interests. Consider the subjects or themes that interest you the most and establish whether you’re most drawn to landscapes, portraits, street photography, wildlife, architecture, or something else. Identifying your passions helps you narrow down photography styles.
  2. Research different styles. Study examples of different photography styles. Analyze the work of renowned photographers in various fields to gain inspiration and insight into different photography genres.
  3. Experiment. An easy way to find the most suitable photographic style is to get out there and start shooting. Try different techniques, subjects, and compositions, and see what resonates with you most.
  4. Don’t be afraid to evolve. Your photography style may change and evolve – it’s perfectly normal. As your skills and interests develop, so does your artistic vision.
  5. Seek feedback. Share your work with other photographers and ask for constructive criticism. Their insights might point out strengths you weren’t aware of or suggest approaches you haven’t considered.
  6. Be patient. Discovering your unique style takes time and experimentation. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t find your niche right away. Keep shooting, and your signature style will emerge with time.

Is photography hard?

Yes and no. Some aspects of photography are easy to master, while others take dedicated practice to master.

Smartphones have made it incredibly easy for anyone to take a picture. With a basic feel for composition and lighting, even beginners can take beautiful photos. Additionally, online resources make the learning process smooth and accessible.

That said, there are challenging aspects to photography, too. Understanding technical concepts like aperture, shutter speed, and ISO takes time and practice. Moreover, mastering the use of light, both natural and artificial, requires a keen eye and experience. Finally, developing a unique artistic style and finding your voice as a photographer is often a lifelong journey.