Photography Genres

To improve my photography, I wanted to look at the larger categories of genres within photography. This will help me identify shots whilst analysing other peoples work, and then hopefully implement these into my own  photography.

Arial Photography

French photographer and balloonist, Gaspar Felix Tournachon, experimented for three years from 1855-1858 before he finally produced the photography, travelling 80m above the ground in his hot air balloon. Shooting from above enables you to get interesting shots of large areas, and gives a different & interesting perspective that many may not have seen before.

Architectural Photography

Capturing an interesting form, shape, building or structure can catch the eye. This  also includes interiors or exteriors or a building, or even an interesting element of design. Photographers face two challenges when shooting buildings: Lighting and image distortion. Obviously when shooting the exterior of a building, you are subject to the outdoor conditions, meaning you can only use natural light to work with which can be tricky. Also, if a building has strong horizontal lines, the image can look distorted. This can only be avoided from shooting at the right angle with the right equipment.

Candid Photography

A very popular genre of photography. Candid means “off the cuff” or spontaneous shooting, where moments are captured as they happen. The key to this type of photography is not to let the subject know you are shooting. They appear calmer, relaxed and natural, which should encourage a good shot. Therefore, using a zoom lens for this genre of photography is good so they are unaware of your presence.

Documentary Photography

Images that form a story fall under this genre, highlighting a subject or a story. They are objective issues such as social issues, science, and war. Spending time with the subject and understanding what comes natural to them, and then document accordingly. Let the picture tell the story, and don’t shoot anything out of character with your subject.

Fashion Photography

This genre is typically used as a sales tool, to lure customers by glamourising a product. They are typically very quirky, with an array of different backdrops such as a studio, run down building, urban environments, and anywhere outdoors. This genre requires the photographer to do a lot of planning & preparation beforehand, from makeup to lighting and finding a suitable scene, with the model playing a significant role. You should however be open to suggestions and work with the team.

Food Photography

I already have two years experience with this type of photography, after working for Turners Fine Foods in the Marketing & Graphics Department. Again, great photography “sells” the product by enticing the customer in to restaurants and shops. In my experience, I used studio lighting on a white paper backdrop to keep everything consistent, and also the post production design would typically be on a white background, so isolating the product with white space worked. However, shooting food in natural light gives a soft natural feel to it, and colour doesn’t get washed away like it would if you used unnatural light or flash.

Landscape Photography

Another really popular type of photography. Everyone loves to shoot a great landscape scene as it can show the environmental change and beautiful scenery. Whilst shooting landscapes, it may be necessary to use a a tripod to get really sharp results. This eliminates camera shake, which will mean less blur. A longer shutter speed will help give the perfect shot.


This genre requires the photographer to be in the right place at the right time. Its similar to documentary photography however captures live events as and when it happens. Photojournalism isn’t about shooting unexpected events, but capturing unexpected moments at planned events to create an interesting story.

Conceptual / Fine Art Photography

This genre is all about an emotion or an idea created by the photographer or visionary, trying to convey a message through his image. We can create our own fictional characters and tell a story.


Another really popular style of photography, portrait shots capture peoples moods and expressions. It can be a close up shot or body portraits, typically focusing on the face and aligning the eye to a strong position in the frame, for example a rule or thirds or the fibonacci spiral. Ensuring the face is sharp will give a good final result.

Sport Photography  

This category requires the photographer to get really close to the subject, which isn’t always possible. For example, you couldn’t get five metres away from a racing F1 car. However, photographers use really long focal lengths in order to get further away. A high ISO will enable to photographer to increase the shutter speed, meaning more frames per second can be achieved. Try different angled shots to get a different dynamic effect.

Street Photography

Very similar to candid photography, street shots are taken in everyday public spaces and shows life as it happens. Street photography shouldn’t be about typical tourist attractions, but tries to find the unique environment that people don’t see.

War Photography 

Capturing war torn-torn conflicts is in the interest of the wider public. The photographers often put their own lives on the line to document events unfolding. Due to the weight of photography equipment, photographers of this particular genre often simplify their kit, as they don’t have time to keep changing lenses.

Wildlife Photography

This genre requires a lot of patience and a high shutter speed. The photographer should focus on on the natural habitat. It’s important to be really familiar of your cameras settings, as the unpredictable nature or this type of photography means a good opportunity can be easily missed.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s