In this article, we will take a look at different types of photography so you can explore which is the right one for you. Whether you see a billboard, pictures of friends on social media, or an advertising campaign, photography is everywhere. Visual content allows us to tell a story, to communicate with a viewer, and cause emotions. Each photography genre has its own advantages, challenges. But most important of all if you want to be a happy and not-burned out photographer: The photography style needs to reflect your passion and who you are as a person.
For those of you who are hoping to build a photography career, you need to know different styles of photography to choose the one you like. You can try them all and then make your decision, and some styles even combine a few photography styles.
In this article, we will go over 32 photography types that will help you to learn more about each of them. We hope this collection will inspire you to go out and try at least one style yourself.
Why You Need to Choose Which Type of Photography Suits You Best
You can never be the best photographer of all different genres. You might be talented in several areas a take decent shots within multiple different types of photography. However, it is impossible to stay above the crowd for all types of photography.
The usual advice you hear from seasoned photographers is to pick one or two types of photography and develop your skills and excel in those photography styles. By specializing, you, more or less, only need to learn the skills required within this type of photography. It also enables you to build a name for yourself within your particular niche better.
The closer related the areas of photography you chose, the better you can reuse the skills you learn from one type of photography in the other.
For instance, macro photography and wildlife photography are closely related and often overlaps. However, macro and people portrait photography are not very related, except many macro lenses have a focal length, which is excellent for portrait photography too. But other than this they are two different areas which you have to learn, should you chose to be great at both of these.
Some photographers make a living from one type of photography, like weeding or stock photography, and have a different kind of photography like street or landscape as their hobby. If you dedicate yourself to one specific area of photography, you might be fortunate enough to combine both your passion and make a living from only one type of photography.
Do You Want to Make a Living out of Your Type of Photography?
Fing the type of photography that is a perfect match for you is one thing. And it is an important thing to do. However, if you want to make a living out of a particular type of photography, you might run into frustrations, anxiety being able to pay your bills, doubting your own skills and so on. Not all genres in photography are great for making a living out of it. However, with a little bit of flexibility of mind, you can make it. Sometimes all you need to do is to ask a few questions.
Who would want to pay for this type of photos? Where can I get into contact with these people? If you come to the conclusion that too few would be willing to pay for photos, remember that there might also be a lot of photographers who would be willing to pay for learning the skills that you have learned. Being a professional photographer is not always about selling photos to clients either as a contracted job or as art. It is often about teaching other aspiring photographers to become better.
Think of professional landscape, wildlife, and macro photographers. The greater part of their income probably comes from running workshops, and not from selling prints.
Another way to make a living from your photography is to combine the type of photography, which you are passionate about, with a bread-winning type of photography.
Here are 32 Different Types of Photography – Find your Niche
1. Fashion Photography
Fashion photography is a glamorous niche that is quite complicated to enter. From capturing the latest fashion shows on the runway to covers of top Vogue magazines, fashion photography is a lifestyle.
You need to know how to work with a model one-on-one and how to choose a location whether it’s a studio or a tropical beach. A photographer is just a part of the group who works on the scene for publication along with hairstylists, makeup artists, and artistic directors.
Fashion photographers’ markets might be expanding. Usually, fashion photographers were used by bigger brands. However, in these Instagram-days, smaller brands have greater opportunities to showcase their line of products to potential clients with the help of talented fashion photographers. In this type of photography, lighting and color grading should be perfect. You will get to work a lot with the model, directing their poses making them and the fashion clothes they wear look their absolute best.
2. Event Photography
Event photography is a dynamic and fast-changing type of job. One day you may need to shoot a corporate party and the next day, you may need to be at a rock concert. This style is all about photographing guests and scenarios of different occasions.
Event photography is a combination of photojournalism with portraits and includes everything from photographing parties, weddings, press releases, carnivals, concerts, and many other events with groups of people. If you are not into crowds this genre of photography is probably not for you.
3. Food Photography
With the popularity of social media, everyone can make themselves feel like they are a food photographer these days. Food photography is part of still life photography. In this style, you need to focus on food, styling, ingredients, drinks, and other food-related things.
This type of photographer can be useful for cafes, restaurants, grocery stores, food blogs, and product websites. With photography, you need to sell food to customers, so it should look amazing, mouthwatering, and tasty. However, the key element of any stunning food photo is to know how to light the scene properly.
4. Documentary Photography
Documentary photography is about storytelling. This is the art of telling a story with a picture of war, social events, science and so forth. The main task of documentary photography is to chronologically capture significant events, such as the life of a celebrity or a sportsman.
You need to capture emotion with your photos while also showing the event through your lens.
“Documentary” means that all events happen naturally, so you should showcase these events to the world. Think about the big picture, but don’t forget about the details. Details always help a photographer tell a story of how it was. In this photography genre, you can work a lot with the emotional expression of the subjects and particular gestures that emphasize a deeper story through the different types of photographs.
5. Wedding Photography
Wedding photography is a type of event photography. Many people go throughout their lives without buying photo sessions for themselves, but almost every couple hires a photographer for their wedding. Being a wedding photographer requires some portraiture and event photography skills mastering many settings. This style is quite intense because events unfold very quickly at weddings.
You should be comfortable with not getting a second chance of nailing the shots you need. You have to work the first shot you get or the best of the burst of shots.
If you use your network you can relatively easily get your first clients, and begin to make money on this type of photography, but you should be passionate about it. You will mostly work on weekends and if you want to make a living out of it, you should take into account how many weddings you can cover in one weekend. So if you under-charge you cannot pay your bills with only this type of photography.
You should be flexible and shoot outdoor portraits and indoor dancing in low light on the same day. Moreover, couples expect the direction for style and posing from a photographer that requires patience and a love of people.
6. Landscape Photography
Landscape photography is another popular style where a photographer captures nature scenery or environment changes. Landscape photography requires waiting for proper lighting conditions and the use of a tripod. Tip: using long shutter speed while shooting water can give you amazing results.
Being a landscape photographer means getting up late at night before sunset and going to the location in the dark and cold to capture the first rays of the sun. All landscape photographers dream to be featured in National Geographic, what about you?
7. Product Photography
How many product photos have you seen just today or the last week. If you think about it, there are product photos everywhere.
By specializing in product photography, you can make money both by uploading your images to stock agencies, and working freelance.
As a product photographer, your photos can be used for both eCommerce sites, print catalogs, and product packaging.
In this type of photography, you will mostly work inside a studio all day, even though some products will look their best when you capture them in the environment, where they are most often used. Sometimes you might also work with models, but most often, it is a solo project in your small studio to get the product shots done. You need to learn and control lighting, backgrounds, and how to make products look its best.
Still-life is a type of photography that enables you to create a scene with different objects and capture it; it could be anything from jewelry to even food! Food photography is a special kind of product photography. So much that we have given it its own entry on this list further up above.
Still-life is a creative and vibrant niche that allows you to make money on stock sites or as a freelance product photographer. You don’t need an expensive studio, just a table and a window with natural light, and a creative mindset to come up with ideas for interesting subjects or concepts to capture in your still-life photos.
8. Portrait Photography
This is one of the most common types of photography that many beginners consider as a career option. Capturing people’s expressions is a fun job to do. A portrait could be a close-up shot or a full-body photo. You should ensure that the person’s face is sharp.
Often in this type of photography, the photographer’s goal isn’t to make the person smile but instead to capture emotions or the personality of the subject in a single portrait. If you are good with people one-to-one, then this might be a great job for you.
Compared to many of the other different types of photography, portrait photography is also fairly accessible if you are a beginner. Start with learning the craft and techniques using the gear you have, and get your friends to be your first subjects. Slowly you can build a portfolio to attract clients.
Many portrait photographers focus on the eyes, and poses for this photography style should be flattering. When working with people, you need to make them show different emotions depending on the goals of the photo session.
For portrait photography, a mid-range lens covering 50-100mm is a must. Most head-shot portraits are taken at around 85mm. When your photo session is over, you should take some time to post-process your shots. People want to look great in portraits. Sometimes this requires you to retouch the portrait a bit, to make your subject look their best.
9. Sports Photography
Being a sports photographer is a perfect gig for people who love sports. From the sidelines, sports photographers use long lenses and quick camera settings to capture fast-paced actions. The photos can then be used in sports magazines, blogs, and advertising.
Today, an entry-level telephoto lens costs over $200, but in this profession, a high-quality telephoto lens is a must. This is because you can’t go on the field while soccer players are practicing or playing – you can only capture them from the side.
10. Wildlife Photography
Another great and rewarding photography niche is wildlife where your goal is to capture wild animals in natural surroundings. It requires you to update the lens similar to sports photography and follow a lot of safety measures.
Not everyone can be a wildlife photographer, which is why clients are willing to pay good money for this type of photography, but if you are among the best of the best. Most wildlife photographers struggle to get assignments or sell their photos.
11. Fine Art Photography
Fine art photography is definitely a form of art. The works of the best fine art photographers are even featured in galleries and bought on canvases.
As a fine art photographer, you can take artistic photography people, buildings, animals or other subjects. BUT you need to bring about emotions with your image(s). This style of photography is all about ideas and the message you want to convey.
12. Street Photography
For those of you who take your cameras everywhere you go, street photography is a flattering niche. Street photography allows you to capture unexpected events on the streets as they unfold, capturing everyday life in public spaces. This style includes real-life scenes of the streets and portraits of the people there.
Don’t go for popular places, but instead look for hidden spots to capture ordinary life. You can take photos of graffiti, people, vendors, street food. Many street photographers have a love for showing their work as black and white photos.
This type of photography is similar to documentary style, but is not to be confused with street photography. The goal of a photojournalist is to capture events in real time and let the world know about them.
You can see examples of photojournalism in magazines and newspapers as all images of the events and people created for news are photojournalism.
14. Macro Photography
The devil is in the details and macro photographers know this. Macro photography is about capturing objects from new perspectives as if they are bigger.
15. Newborn Photography
Newborn or baby photography is the same as portrait photography, but with some special challenges. For example, newborns are very fragile and their eyes are sensitive to light, and babies’ moods can be unexpected, bringing chaos to your photo sessions.
Despite this, it is also a rewarding experience. Regardless, you need to have proper equipment for newborn photography, studio, and props.
16. Architectural Photography
Taking pictures of beautiful buildings may be hobby for many people, but some photographers make career out of it.
Often employed by building companies and real estate agencies, these photographers shoot buildings from inception to completion. Attention to details, interior, and exteriors are important for this type of photography.
17. Black and White Photography
Black and white photography could be any other style, but with monochrome colors. You can convert any image you have using post-processing software.
18. Abstract Photography
Abstract or conceptual photography includes images that don’t give you instant association. Any object could become a subject for abstract photography depending on the way you capture it, so it takes imagination and creativity to take abstract photos.
19. Commercial Photography
Commercial photography covers all photos that are aimed to sell a product, including advertising and stock photos. As a commercial photographer, you need to know how to photograph people, still lifes, and landscapes.
The most challenging part is creating an image that causes specific emotions and shares a particular message.
20. Underwater Photography
Even if you live in a location near the sea or ocean, underwater photography is a complicated style of photography. It not only requires a waterproof camera but also good lighting equipment.
Furthermore, you need special training for longer dives or scuba gear to be underwater for an extended amount of time.
21. Aerial Photography
Aerial photography is a modern style supported by technology. Of course, this type of photography exists as long as people fly on airplanes and helicopters, but it is much easier to start aerial photography with a drone today.
In the USA and many other countries, drones are banned and you need to have a commercial license to shoot.
22. Stock Photography
Stock photography is another modern niche that has grown exponentially for freelance photographers. With this style, your goal is to shoot images that you can sell later on stock websites.
These images can then be used for blogs, magazines, websites, and other purposes. It could be a great source of passive income as you can take a bunch of different photos once and then sell them. These types of photographers are also ready to make a huge effort, in the beginning, shooting 1000 different images before the money starts rolling in by itself.
23. Travel Photography
This photography style is an ideal option for people who love to travel and want to get paid for it. You can not only sell your travel photography on stock sites but also become a travel blogger, sharing travel experiences and tips with the world. Of the different types of photography, this type will help you explore the world through your lens and likely take you to many different continents and cultures.
As a travel photographer, you are a wearer of many hats: you need to know how to capture portraits, lifestyle, food, wildlife, still lifes, and other styles.
24. Lifestyle Photography
Photography has never been in higher demand as it is today. We are surrounded by photography everywhere in magazines, on billboards, on the internet, and smartphones.
Lifestyle photography, or advertising photography, includes a range of styles from fashion to still life. You may shoot for editorials and social media.
25. Scientific Photography
Scientific photography covers everything from microscope photography to astrophotography. It’s about shooting technology, space stations, tiny bacteria, and so on. Show the world some new inventions with scientific photography.
26. Pet Photography
If you like animals, pet photography may be the best style for you. It is very similar to portrait photography in many aspects with one big difference – your subject is a furry friend. Pet photography involves indoor studio sessions as well as outdoor shooting.
You can even start your pet photography career in a local pet park! To capture pets, you should understand the light, convey the essence of your subject, and understand how to deal with fast-paced chaos.
27. Boudoir Photography
Boudoir photography is a style that features sensual, intimate, and sometimes erotic images of a subject. Usually, this type of photography is taken in studios or bedrooms in a private atmosphere. The goal of this style to show the beauty of the human body.
28. Minimalist Photography
Minimalist photography is a style where you try to capture minimum number of visual elements. This allows you the opportunity to experiment with textures, colors, and shapes to get an impressive image.
29. Mobile Photography
We all have smartphones these days and if you have ever taken a photo with your mobile, you could be considered a mobile photographer. It’s about taking pictures with your smartphone, which is great considering that the latest iPhone’s camera is pretty amazing! Of all the different types of photography, this is likely the most accessible in terms of low costs.
You can shoot anything from landscape to macro. There are even stock websites and blogs for mobile photography on the web!
30. Night Photography
All photography taken at night could be referred to as night photography. You would need to use a tripod and long shutter speed to capture images in low light; however, some of the shots, such as light painting or night cityscape are worth the effort. Anything from a portrait to landscape photos could be taken at night.
31. War Photography
War photography is a very dangerous style since a photographer goes to war areas to capture conflicts. Of all the different types of photographers, this is definitely the job that is only for risk seekers. You should not bother with many expensive lenses, so a war photographer’s kit is very small. Furthermore, the conditions in war areas could be unexpected and less equipment is essential.
32. Creative Photography
There are way more than 32 different types of photographers, but some of them very similar. Creative photography is not a separate style, but rather, it is a style of taking and post-processing images where the focus is on creativity.
Creative photography is all about using different effects, such as HDR, double-exposure, time-lapse, crystal ball photography, and more.
What Types of Photography Are Right for Me?
Now, you know 32 different styles of photography and what it takes to be a photographer for each one. It’s natural to try various styles before you find what kind of photography is yours. But remember, with all these photography categories you cannot master all of them. If you want to build a career as a photographer, you definitely need to choose one style and market yourself as a specific style photographer.