top of page

Photographic Genres

Abstract Photography

You don’t find an immediate association with abstract or conceptual photography images. These types of photography stand out from the object world. The use of photographic equipment, processes or materials is important. They are what make these types of photography images possible.

Adventure Photography

Anything adventure, photographed in the outdoors, goes in here. This is a niche photographic area. It includes stunning landscapes and challenging shooting conditions.

Advertising Photography

Advertising photography captures items for posters, billboards, or adverts in magazines or newspapers. The internet is also a huge platform for these types of photography. Product photography is similar as it is about selling a product. Advertising photography continues by showing a brand or service. Sometimes, they can be situational images

Architecture Photography

Architecture Photography involves photographing buildings and structures. They are accurate representations of the subjects, captured using specialized cameras and techniques. And if you’ve ever wondered what that tilt-shift lens is for, well, now you know.


Astrophotography records objects in the night sky. Stars, satellites, and planets are no exception. Even black holes, if you have a telescope long enough. It includes Deep Sky, which is the capturing of faraway subjects using a telescope. Wide Angle (Milky Way) and Time-Lapse (star trail) photography are also included.

Black and White Photography

Black and white photography is the act of capturing a scene without color. Here, you capture the scene in black and white or convert it during post-processing. This also covers low key monochrome images that use lighting in a minimalist way.

Boudoir Photography

Boudoir photography captures intimate and romantic images of its subjects. They take place in a bedroom or dressing room environment. The intended use of these is for the enjoyment of the subject and his or her romantic partners. These types of photography shots can be a gift to a partner on the occasion of an engagement or wedding.

Candid Photography

Candid photography is the act of capturing subjects without their knowledge. This is helpful in event or street photography, where you want to capture reality. You can be sure of unposed subjects, resulting in real scenes and facial expressions. Documentary photography and photojournalism becomes stronger when the scene isn’t falsified.

Cityscape Photography

A cityscape is a representation of the physical aspects of a city, metropolis or urban area. This is the urban equal of a landscape. They can show a city during the day or at night. You can incorporate many different techniques and perspectives.

Commercial Photography

Commercial photography requires taking pictures for commercial use. They can promote or sell a product or service. Here, photographers are often commissioned or paid beforehand. Examples include photographs for corporate brochures, menus, and leaflets.

Composite Photography

Composite photography combines visual elements from separate sources. Together, they create a single image. This creates an illusion that all these separate elements are part of the same scene. This area covers double exposures (layering of two or more images), montages (a scene photographed in smaller parts) and multiplicity (capturing a single person multiple times in the same scene). Focus stacking is also a form of composite photography. This is where you capture a scene at different focal points. When stitched they create a large depth of field.

Creative Photography

Creative photography is a wide area where creativity takes the lead. The concept or techniques used are as important as the final image. These can include crystal ball photography, HDR imaging, fisheye photography, cake smash, and forced perspective photography.

Crystal Ball Photography

Crystal ball photography is capturing a scene by using a crystal ball. Like David Bowie in Labyrinth, you need to be a little skilled in keeping it clean from fingerprints. You can keep them close to your camera, or place them further away towards the edges. Be wary though, the scene will appear upside down. NB: It will burn your hand on sunny days. Trust me. 

Documentary Photography

Documentary photography is for chronicling events or environments. These types of photography shots tend to be both significant and relevant to history and historical events. These images focus on everyday life.

Drone Photography

Drone or aerial photography is the action of photographing from an airborne object. This can include but are not exclusive to helicopters, planes and drones. These types of photography images get photographed from up-down. Or they utilise an angle to create abstract or realistic images of the landscape.

Editorial Photography

Editorial photographs are images captured for use in newspapers and magazines. These are candid images and can incorporate fashion, sports, and event photography.

Event Photography

Event photography is photographing guests and scenarios at any event or occasion. These include weddings, product releases, parties, carnivals, corporate photography and live concert photography.

Family Photography

Family photography is the act of photographing a family in portrait situations. The images show the relationship between those you shoot. They can be staged and posed, or candid images to reflect the atmosphere and mood. They are for the family themselves to enjoy.

Fashion Photography

Fashion photography is the act of photographing displayed clothing and other items. It can happen in studio conditions or at live catwalk and fashion shows. The images are for editorial or advertisement uses.

Fine Art Photography

Fine art photography is where the photographer is the artist. Here, the capturing of the subject is not the main purpose. These images can be artistic statements. They have a stronger concept than the same image photographed in a traditional style.

Fish-Eye Photography

A fish-eye photograph comes from using a super-wide-angle lens. This means focal lengths between 8mm to 16mm. These images come out very distorted, especially towards the edges. Use it for something that calls for it.

Food Photography

Food photography is a niche area of still life photography. In this area, we concentrate on food, ingredients, styling and food-related scenes. This is also a niche of commercial or editorial photography. The images here become advertisements in magazines.

Forced Perspective

Forced perspective photography is some of the funniest types of photography. To make and to look at. With a forced perspective, the viewer sees a different angle from the subject. You can use this with any kind of photography, as long as you have control over the perspective of your scene.

Glamour Photography

Glamour photography is like portrait photography, usually with female subjects. Boudoir photography is the closest genre. It uses erotic poses which range from clothed to nude images. They could be for advertising, or a style of portraiture. they are more often than not seen as a little seedy and the poor man’s version of fashion photography. Done well, they can produce some very beautiful images.

Golden Hour Photography

Golden hour photography refers to the hour before sunset and an hour after sunrise. This is when the sun is at its lowest point in the sky. The sunlight isn’t as harsh as other times of the day and gives off a warm tone.

Head Shot Photography

Headshot photography is a genre like portrait photography. The difference here is that the photographer only goes for headshots. A headshot is a typical shot of the head and bust. But it can go as far as a torso shot with folded arms. Images such as these are for professional use. Either for online purposes or as a portfolio shot for actors.

High Dynamic Range Photography

High Dynamic Range or HDR photography has been a new trend for the last decade. Even though it was a process that many film photographers used in printing their images. With digital photography, you take 3/5/7 or even 9 images across a range of different exposures. The idea is that by stitching them together, you get detail in the highlights and shadows of your scene. This is something you can do in Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, and a slew of other editing programs.

Indoor Photography

Indoor photography refers to images captured inside. Here, the photographer needs to use camera settings or gear to help account for the lack of ambient light. Indoor photography is like interior photography. These are without a specific editorial or commercial aim.

Infrared Photography

Infrared photography refers to an image where harnessing the infrared light is important. It can take place with analog or digital photography. The infrared light passes through to the camera sensor, blocking other visible light. You will need a filter for these types of photography shots. Or you can create it using post-processing software.

Kinetic Photography

Kinetic photography is all about movement. Not the subject, but your camera. Moving your camera while you shoot a scene can provide an interesting and creative image. Intentional Camera Movement or ICM is one of these. Here, you throw your camera up in the air as it records a long exposure. The result can be a string of lights, perfect for multiple exposures.

Landscape Photography

Landscape photography is the capturing of nature. They can be man-made features or the disturbances found in physical areas. These can include tree photography, nature, deserts, and beaches. They focus on the outdoors during specific seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter). Sunsets and even night photography are also popular in this genre.

Lifestyle Photography

Lifestyle photography is a genre that aims to capture people in real-life situations. They tell stories, rather than to show an obvious and staged set-up. These images are often staged as much as a fashion shoot. They show scenes and items for editorial or commercial uses. Here, we present these types of photography subjects in a more natural, believable way.

Long Exposure Photography

Long exposure photography is capturing a scene with a long shutter speed setting. This allows you to capture stationary elements while blurring or obscuring moving elements. These types of photography shots are possible during daytime or nighttime.

Macro Photography

Macro photography refers to photographing tiny subjects up close. Here, we use specialized lenses or photographic equipment. A true macro image comes from enlarging a subject bigger than its 1:1 ratio. The most popular macro subjects are insects and flowers. But there is so much more beyond that.

Milky Way Photography

Milky way photography refers to photographing the milky way. Here, we use a camera that works well in low light conditions while allowing us to keep a high resolution. One trick to try is including landscapes in the foreground of these images.

Minimalist Photography

Minimalist photography captures a scene using the least amount of visual elements. These types of photography components can include, yet not exclusive to color, texture, lines, and forms.

Mobile Photography

Mobile, or smartphone photography refers to all photography captured using your mobile phone. And when we say all, we do mean all. From fashion to food to macro, your phone is a versatile tool.

Multiple Exposure

Multiple exposures have made a come back in the last decade as a creative photography theme. The photographer layers images in-camera or with editing software. Here you get two (or more) scenes in one image, full to the brim with detail. You can use digital or analog methods by layering negatives or going over an already shot film.

Newborn Photography

Newborn photography is the capturing of a newborn baby. This can be with or without other members of the family. This is one of the only types of photography where safety is the number one element. The photographer handles the safety and welfare of the subject. Photographers often composite images to create interesting scenes. Images that give the impression that the baby is alone are a popular technique.

Night Photography

Night photography refers to all photography taken at nighttime. You need to use different camera settings, techniques, and gear to capture low lit scenes. They can incorporate long-exposures and time-lapses. Astrophotography is also possible with such specializations as light-painting and spiral photography.

Panorama Photography

A panorama photography shot is one that shows a large field of view. The photographer can do this in many ways. Either they use their mobile phone to record a panorama. Or you can stitch many images together. By stepping away from wide-angle lenses, you stop any distortion entering your scene. Then you are free to show up to 360° of your scene.

Pet Photography

Pet Photography is the act of photographing pets in a portrait manner. Examples of these could be photographing cats, birds or horses.

Photo Manipulation Photography

Photo Manipulation Photography is all about photo editing software. Photographers can take a few shots and then manipulate them in Adobe Photoshop. It takes time to darken and lighten areas, and use other adjustments to make parts of the scenes pop. Or the photographer can create a fantasy world, one which viewers have never seen the likes of.


Photojournalism is the act of communicating news using photographic images. The primary use of these types of photography images is in magazines, using an editorial platform. They also incorporate still life, candid photography, documentary and war photography. Travel, street, portrait, and architecture genres cross-over to make photojournalism possible.

Portrait Photography

Portrait photography is the act of photographing people. Here, we look at their physical expressions and features. These include self-portraits, silhouettes, and high-key (well-lit) images. Faceless captures (guillotine method) and environmental portraits are also possible.

Prism Photography

Prism photography is much like crystal ball photography. You capture through a glass element. Unlike the crystal ball, this element is prism-shaped. What this offers you is a texture at the sides of your image. Distorting areas that would otherwise be boring can add interest to your scene.

Product Photography

This branch of commercial photography captures objects for advertisement uses. You may find these types of photography images in catalogs and brochures, or online. These include jewellery and water splash images, to name a few.

Real Estate Photography

Real estate photography is capturing a property for commercial or editorial reasons. Here, lighting techniques and the use of camera gear are very important. This genre includes interior photography. This is where we only capture the inside of the house.

Scientific Photography

Scientific photography isn’t a creative field as such. It is a way of record keeping. These types of photography could be documenting new discoveries or showing the human body in abstract ways. It is an all-encompassing genre and can range from portraits to macro images of cells. This is a specialized field. Technical ability is more important than the creative element.

Seascape Photography

Seascape, or ocean photography is a niche of landscape photography. Here, the sea or ocean is the main focus. Other possibilities are boats, islands or rock formations and cliffs.  Coastal photography is also included in this genre.

Social Media Photography

Social media photography is the act of sharing your images on social media platforms. They include but are not exclusive to Instagram and Facebook. These images can be editorial, still-life or fashion photography, to name a few. They can also be part of commercial campaigns. All types of photography have the capacity to be social media photography images.

Sports Photography

Sports photography is the act of photographing all kinds of sports. These can be fast-action sports, such as car racing and airshows. They can also be more relaxed, such as yoga photography. Different sports need different camera gear, lenses, settings, and techniques.

Still-Life Photography

Still-life photography is the act of photographing inanimate objects to create a scene. Food or floral photography is an example of still-life photography.

Stock Photography

Stock Photography is one of the fastest-growing photography business ideas out there. The photographer captures images for websites that sell their images for them. Companies, photographers and bloggers buy these images to use on their own site. Its cheaper than having to capture the image yourself. This is an all-encompassing genre. It includes portraits, weddings, advertising shots, and landscapes. Anything that is sellable is on the stock photography websites.

Street Photography

Street photography refers to images taken on or from the street. Looking at the everyday lives of people in public places is the general focus. This is also known as urban photography if the primary location is an urban or city setting. This genre incorporates portraiture, architecture, and candid photography.

Tilt-Shift Photography

You can use tilt-shift photography with large-format cameras. This is down to the focal plane and the film planes being independent. You can change the focus not only horizontally but also vertically. It removes the parallax errors found from photographing buildings. This genre can be very creative. From a high vantage point, you can make buildings look tiny a model village.

Time-Lapse Photography

Time-lapse photography is a succession of images of the same scene. The purpose is to show the scene in a state of fluctuation. These images will show all changes in a scene through the created video. These take place during the day or nighttime (incorporating both is a ‘holy grail’).

Travel Photography

Travel photography documents an area or location through the application of photography. This incorporates portraiture, landscapes, street, and nighttime photography. National Geographic and professional photographers such as Steve McCurry made this genre famous. They use both color and black and white photography.

Urban Exploration Photography

Urban exploration or urbex photography is the act of photographing abandoned places. This genre incorporates architectural and interior photography. This type of photography is exciting due to its dangerous and ambiguous legal nature. Research is very important in this niche.

War Photography

This involves photographing armed conflicts and their effects on places and people. It is a form of documentary photography and photojournalism. The resulting images are for editorial use.

Wedding Photography

Wedding photography includes all activities relating to weddings. It will encompass portraiture, family photography, posing and even drone photography. They can be black and white images, and include specific props and gear, such as a photo booth.

Wildlife Photography

Wildlife photography is about documenting animals in their natural habitats. Specialized equipment such as telephoto or macro lenses are very important.

bottom of page