Types Of Photography – The Ultimate List

(Last Updated On: January 4, 2019)

Types of photography for business or pleasure

Photo by Rosh Sillars

There are many exciting types of photography to consider. This is a list of photography types for the hobbyist or professional photographer who wishes to branch out and expand their professional photography business.

Definition of Photograpahy: It’s the application, art or practice of creating images by recording light through chemical or electronic means.

I’ve found it helpful to try different types of photography to improve the photography I already enjoy creating. Different photography styles can open your eyes and help you look at your current photography in a new light.

Photography Types List

Photo by Mark Bonica

Abstract: It’s a method of photography, often considered an artistic form of creating images. As art, it expresses ideas, concepts and emotions with a photographic image. However, the photographer has no intention of creating a traditional or realistic photo. The viewer only sees representations of an object, scene, a combination of things or elements. The goal is to trigger the viewer’s imagination.

Adventure: Generally adventure or action photography is created by its participants. People actually taking on the adventure. This type of photography typically shows the thrill of the adventure with breathtaking moments to tell the story. Examples of adventure photography are rock climbing, snowboarding, white water rafting, biking or extreme hiking. It is common for the adventurer to use a camera such as a GoPro to give the viewer a feeling of being there with the adventurer. This type of photography is used for blogging, stock photography, advertising, adventure and wildlife magazines.

Photo by Raphael-Biscaldi

Aerial: Create an image from high in the air to show an overhead view of subject, landscape or scene. Traditionally aerial photography was made by plane, helicopter or even balloon. However, these days, it is more common for aerial photographs to be created from a drone controlled remotely from the ground. This type of photography is good for realestate agents, landscape architects, residential and commercial developers and engineers.

Amateur Photography: This is any type of photography is generally created for personal pleasure. The photographs are created by a non-professional for non-commercial use. This type of photography is generally for personal use, blogs or personal website.

Photo by Rosh Sillars

Architectural Photography: This type of photography is about photographing buildings, homes, and structures. The architecture photographer creates aesthetically pleasing and preferably accurate representations of their subjects. This type of photography is created for art work, architects, interior designers, developers and real estate agents.

Art: Fine Art Photography is photography created using the creative vision of the photographer. Artistic photography often does not capture the world as it is, rather the artist creates imagery which first starts in their mind. The artist then uses photography or elements of photography to demonstrate or display their vision. Creative artists do create images with and without manipulation to tell a story, evoke a feeling or make a statement. Artistic photography is create for personal pleasure, display or for sale by the artist

Astrophotography: This kind of photography is about the photography of astronomical objects. Capturing images of subjects beyond the earth. Astrophotographers generally use a telescope and techniques which allow them to photograph subjects such as the moon, planets, stars, and The Milky Way. This type of photography is use for personal pleasure, science, media and stock photography.

Photo by Rosh Sillars

Black And White (B&W) Photography: This type of photography is more of personal preference and style of photography. It is common for documentary and artistic photographers embrace b&w photography. Furthermore, these photographers will often use film to develop their images in a darkroom. Film photography requires the use of an enlarger and photographic chemicals. However, many photographers have developed B&W styles using software such as Photoshop. This type of photography is used for artwork, personal display and limited media commercial use.

Camera Phone: Yes, it’s actually a thing. There are photographers who specialize in creating images using their phone and the creative applications (apps) available to them. In most cases camera phone photography is used for personal or social media use, however, camera phone lenses continue to improve and in some cases rival larger DSLR or mirrorless cameras. This type of photography is common to use for personal use, social media, media, marketing, real estate and advertising photography

Commercial: This type of photography involves creating photographs to help sell a product, service, story, brand, idea or concept. Commercial photography is used in corporate brochures, marketing, advertising and websites. There is a wide range of commercial photography types, such as food, product, automotive, and fashion. This type of photography is used by small businesses, corporations, web developers, advertising and marketing agencies.

Digiscoping: This type of photography is the activity of using a camera to record distant images by connecting it to an optical telescope. The word “digiscoping” was coined by French birdwatcher Alain Fossé in 1999. Generally, the lenses are fixed with no zoom. This type of photography is most used by hobbyist, bird watchers and wildlife photographers. Like all photography there are artistic and commercial applications.

Photo by Rosh Sillars

Documentary: A form of photography used to chronicle events, capture history, or everyday life. It is generally as style used by professional photojournalist, historians, artists and hobbyists. This type of photography is generally used for media and publishing.

Photo by Rosh Sillars

Event: Photographers who photograph or document events such as weddings, ribbon cuttings and parties. If there is a gathering of people for a special reason, then an event photographer is often designated or hired to capture the festivities. This type of photography is use for family events such as weddings, retirements and birthdays. Corporations use event photographers for public relations, documentation and internal communications

Fashion: This type of photography focuses on clothing, style and accessories. Fashion photographers create images using models, or commercial sets. Fashion photographers create images for designers, corporations, magazines, marketing and advertising.

Photo by Rosh Sillars

Food: It’s more than your lunch on Instagram. Photographing food for restaurants, packaging and editorial is a form of product or still-life photography. It’s a specialized type of photography which is often considered rather difficult. However, food photography is as complicated as you make it. A close up of fruit at a local farmers market or a splash in a drink caught at the peak moment in studio each require different skills.

Forensic: This is documentation photography of accidents and crimes scenes for legal or police work. This type of photography requires proper measurements and the ability to explain the photographs and scene clearly to a court of law. Forensic photography is mostly used in legal related work for attorneys and government use.

Infrared: Infrared, or “IR” photography is the world of the unseen. IR light, is light which lies just beyond what is known as the visible spectrum. In other words, light which the human eye can not see. This requires infrared-equipped film or cameras. Colors, textures, leaves, skin, and other objects will reflect IR light in unique ways. IR photography is often used by hobbyists, documentary, scientific and artistic photographers.

Macro: Macro photography is the extreme close-up style of photography. The photographer creates images of very small subjects and living creatures, such as insects which look larger than life in the photograph. Macro photography has both commercial and documentary use. Hobbyists and artist use macro photography to make images of details generally unnoticed by humans.

Photo by Rosh Sillars

Medical: Medical photographers photograph and document a range of medical causes, procedures, and results. These photographers typically need a college degree and experience in the field. Hospitals, medical research, and corporations use medical photographers.

Nature: Nature photography refers to a wide range of photography created outdoors. The focus is on the display of natural things in their outdoor environment. Such photographs include landscapes, wildlife, plants, and close-ups of natural things, elements and textures. Nature photography is used for magazines, marketing backgrounds, stock, blogs, and artistic purposes.

People: This type of photography includes many specialties all of which include photographing people. Examples like the basic passport photo to wedding and fashion photography which can require more skill. People photography is in demand for families, marketing, media, art and advertising.

Pet: People love their pets and photographer who photograph pets well are able to capture the essence and personality of the animal. Some photographers focus on portrait still pet photography, while others create action photographs of pets. Pet photography is mostly in demand by individuals, families and stock houses, although there are some more commercial uses for pet photography.

Photojournalist: This type of photographer photographs events, people, places and things to tell a story. The best photojournalist can capture the peek or decisive moment which best tells the story in one or a few photographs. Photojournalists are hired by news organizations to support news and feature stories published in print or online.

Photo by Rosh Sillars

Sports: A Sports Photographer creates images of sporting events, athletes or a particular sports team. A sports photographer photographs the action during a game or event. They may also create behind the scenes images or portraits of the players of a specific team. Sports photographers can be the official team Photographer, media or advertising photographer.

Street: This is a documentary style of photography which captures life moments. Street photography is most common in urban settings. It’s generally a candid or natural style of photography. People are the most common subjects in street photography. This type of photography is most common for artistic photography and publishing. Commercial use is not allowed when the subject has not signed a model release.

Stock: This type of photography is created by professionals and amateur photographers for use at a future time. In some cases, stock are extra photographs from assignment photography. In most cases stock images are photographs which can be used by more than one person or company. The photos are usually of common scenes, people, landmarks, nature, events. The photographs may be purchased under different photography license for commercial and non-commercial use. Photographers may sell their stock images on their own or through an agency. For a photographer to resell their images, they must retain the copyrights.

Time-lapse: Time is the key to this type of photography. Time-lapse photography is the creation of multiple images over a period to time to record or demonstrate change, growth or decay. This type of photography is common for both still and video images. Time-lapse photography is used for video, marketing, science and documentation.

Travel: Photographers who like or do travel a lot can create images to display or sell. These photographers often photograph their location for promotion, to document or tell a visual story of their travels. Travel photographers photograph the landscape, people, animals, cultures, events, and customs. Travel photographers sell their images to stock agencies, magazines, businesses associated with the location and for art.

War: Photographers who photograph war. These photographers are often photojournalists sent to tell the story of the conflict for one or a few publications or media outlets. It’s one of the most dangerous forms of photography. Used for media, historical books, documentation, government archives.

Wildlife: This type of photography refers to creating images of animals in the wild. The focus is the display of animals in their environment. Wildlife photography is used for magazines, marketing, stock photo, blogs and artistic images.

This is a growing list, so if you have a suggestion to had to this list of photography types, place it in the comments below.

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