Believe it or not, there are about 80 photography genres (according to Wikipedia). If you’ve been in the field long enough, you know the possibilities are endless. You could be a photographer specializing in a niche category or you might be a pro in multi genre photography. In case you’re ever puzzled on which direction to take, we have a list of all the popular photography genre for you.
There will undoubtedly come a time when you’ll be inspired to experiment. Let these 15 images be an inspiration and a little push toward trying yourself in new photography genres.
Black and White Photography
“Color is everything, black and white is more.”
– Dominic Rouse
Black and white photography is monochromatic art. There’s something about black and white photography that simply isn’t translated the same way as with color. To shoot in black and white is to go back to the time when that was all that was available. Black and white photography reveals emotions and resonates on a deeper level.
In case you’ve missed it, we have a little guide on black and white photography for beginners, a curated collection of black and white images and a tutorial on how to convert images to black and white.
“The other great development has been in photography, but that too was influenced by Conceptual art.”
– Sol LeWitt
Conceptual photography, much like conceptual art, is there to make us think. Communicating your ideas through photography can take you anywhere within or outside your imagination. For this reason, we welcome creativity and innovation that blurs those lines.
In a recent interview, Anya Anti showed us her take on the genre of conceptual photography. Take it as a drop of inspiration and try your hand at a genre that requires an artistic approach.
“My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport.”
– Steve McCurry
There’s no time inspiration will strike you as hard as when you’re traveling. To see new places, experience new cultures and meet new people – it’s a photographer’s dream. Many venture near and far for those reasons, showing us something we haven’t seen before.
As for more inspiration on travel photography, read the interview with Mikhail Dudarev about profiting from travel photography, a curated collection of travel photography from our library, travel photographers to follow on Instagram and a special interview with 3 of our own travel photographers.
“A landscape image cuts across all political and national boundaries, it transcends the constraints of language and culture.”
Our world is full of mesmerising, mysterious and awe inspiring views. Knowing how to photograph nature in all it’s glory is a skill for the few. The genre stretches beyond nature landscapes and includes cityscapes as well. It takes practice to translate the beauty before your eyes in a flat, two dimensional photograph.
You will find that weather often dictates when to photograph landscapes. We have a special curated collection of misty autumn landscapes and an article with 10 unconventional tips for landscape photography.
“You fill up the frame with feelings, energy, discovery, and risk, and leave room enough for someone else to get in there.”
– Joel Meyerowitz
This genre falls on the commercial end of the photography spectrum. It focuses on marketing products and services. We see this more often on social media, as it is a genre used by businesses to advertise products and services.
This genre is here to remind you that you can try shooting with the end result of your photographs being available for commercial use. For a little inspiration, check out our article on 8 ideas for photographers from 8 creative ads.
“A photograph is the pause button on life.”
Wedding photographers will tell you that their job demands creativity. In fact, wedding photography can be said to be an industry of its own. Wedding photographers document a single day in the life of a couple that they, together with their friends and relatives, will be looking back upon for years and decades to come.
Alex Teksomolika is one of our contributors that has worked with couples and photographs people in general. He has some really insightful tips on photography which you might find useful if you’d like to try being a wedding photographer one day.
“Not everybody trusts paintings but people believe photographs.”
HDR photography, or high dynamic range images require a special technique. Essentially it is taking photographs of different exposures and merging them into one striking image that brings out the details otherwise invisible.
HDR photography continues to trend, especially with landscape photography. It’s something new to experiment with if you haven’t, and we have a wonderful guest post by Sonny Portacio on perfecting HDR photos as well as an article on adding an HDR effect to photographs.
“It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.”
Fashion photography is as much about models as it is about clothes. To capture what’s current, trendy and fashionable is to tap into the contemporary statements. Our clothes communicate about us, and fashion photography captures those moments.
If you’re interested in fashion photography, here are some resources that might be useful to you: a stock photographer’s guide to working with models, tips from fashion and beauty photographer Konrad Bak and fashion Instagram accounts to follow for inspiration.
“I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.”
— Diane Arbus
Today it is a genre associated with drone photography, but it wasn’t always this way. Aerial photography implies high-angled photography. We’ve come a long way with innovations in technology and it remains a very trendy medium.
People like seeing images from a fresh perspective, and aerial photography does just that. As another source of inspiration, check out the top drone photographs from last year, and our curated collection of aerial photography.
“A photograph has picked up a fact of life, and that fact will live forever.”
Street photography features people, events and simply life as it’s happening. Although it often can’t be used for commercial purposes, it’s still an equally fascinating genre and a great way to sharpen your vision as a photographer. Capturing moments that disappear at the blink of an eye is a truly transforming experience for every photographer.
Street photography is also a very dense genre, full of nuances that need to be brought to your attention. You can find out more in our article with 10 practical tips on elevating the art of street photography.
“When I photograph, what I’m really doing is seeking answers to things.”
— Wynn Bullock
Healthy lifestyle is a very popular topic in stock photography. Sports fall under this theme and present a challenge for photographers. Capturing people in motion can be tricky but it’s also a very rewarding genre if you’re planning on selling your photographs.
If you’re interested in this topic and want to find out about other unexplored and popular themes in stock photography, read our article of all the compiled themes to explore.
“It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.”
— Paul Caponigro
Portrait photography is all about people. Often used for commercial purposes, the genre requires a lot of work from both photographers and models. Photographer have to connect with the models, and capture moments in a way that makes the photos compelling for viewers.
This genre is very much about emotions as well, and capturing people in the best light. To shed some light on this genre, we had a chat with our top contributors and you can find some useful tips in this article.
Still Life Photography
“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”
— Elliott Erwitt
Another genre that focuses on artistic expression is still life photography. It’s a photographer’s job to illuminate something ordinary and show it in a new light. Inanimate objects are boundlessly fascinating when placed in interesting compositions with creative lighting.
To get acquainted with the genre, you can read an interview with Bogdan Dreava about mastering the art of still life photography. We also have a curated collection about still life and the design of everyday things and current images in high demand in the still life category.
Are there any genres that you’d like to see on our list? Leave your comments in the comments section below.