What Different Styles of Photography are there?

Depending on what you want out of your photographs and the types of photos you wish to take, finding your own personal style can take a little time. As photography can be very personal, putting your own stamp on photos will evolve over time. With anything, the more photos you take, the better you will get and the style in which you take them will develop.

So what different styles of photography are there?

  • Landscape
  • Street
  • Fashion
  • Fine Art
  • Portrait
  • Candid
  • Wedding
  • Documentary
  • Action / Sports
  • Wildlife
  • Aerial
  • Pet
  • Real Estate & Architectural
  • Event
  • Astrophotographer
  • Photojournalist
  • Concert
  • Macro
  • Medical
  • War
  • Sports
  • Food
  • Abstract
  • Nature
  • Night
  • Travel
  • Black and White

There are a number of different styles and techniques that photographers use, as well as a lot of careers and occupations that require different photography techniques and skills. They can range from candid, natural photos, to highly stylized fashion shots, as well as black and white photography.

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Here are some of the most Common Photography Styles explained in more detail.

Landscape Photography

Mountains, landscapes, the ocean, waterfalls are all common subjects in the world of Landscape Photography. Though sometimes the subject can be small in nature, successful landscape pictures capture the image in such a compelling way that the observer feels like they are inside the photograph witnessing the scenery first hand. Successful landscape photographers will sometimes wait all day for the light to play off the landscape in a specific way to capture the ‘perfect shot’. The use of effective lighting, flash, shutter speed, and filters can all be combined to create a dramatic result.

Famous Landscape Photographer: Ansel Adams

Fashion Photography

Photography that displays clothing, shoes, jewelry or anything else that can be deemed as fashion. This genre can be seen in any fashion magazine or glossy publication. Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, and Vogue magazines have teams of fashion photographers at their disposal. All of them devoted to capturing photographs of the latest fashion clothing, trends, and items. Presenting them in their best and original light. It’s about conceptual storytelling, creating value, and forming a relationship with the audience. The demand to be constantly original, technical, and innovative, can make this style of photography quite a high-pressure area. As a fashion photographer, you will drive brands, concepts, and creative strategy.

Famous Fashion Photographer: Annie Leibovitz

Fine Art Photography

Most photography is art, but not all is Fine Art. So, what’s the difference? Fine Art photography is the skill of being able to convey a message, or a thought, or stir up emotion just by a photograph. It will require creativity and imagination combined with technical skills to successfully convey a feeling or a mood. Typically, the photographer will employ some of the same techniques and subtleties across multiple photographs, creating a body of work that is linked together by its similarities. These photos are often displayed together in a gallery setting. They are usually accompanied by a statement from the photographer explaining why, and how the work was done, and what message it is intended to convey.

Famous Fine Art Photographer: David Hockney

Portrait Photography

The skill of capturing a subject’s identity by taking a photograph of their face. Not just your typical snapshot. Experienced portrait photographers put much thought into poses, angles, lighting, and backgrounds in an effort to capture a person personality and attitude and display it to the outside world. The 4 approaches used in this style are candid, constructionist, creative and environmental. The type used is typically determined by the type of portrait required and discussion with the subject. But as a portrait photographer, you may find yourself providing photos for headshots, businesses, weddings, or for editorial content.

Famous Portrait Photographer: Steve McCurry

Wedding Photography

This style of photography can blend elements of the preceding styles defined. Portrait, fashion, and fine art photography can all play a part in wedding photographs. In addition, there are traditional, illustrative, natural, vintage and other styles that can be considered when taking images of the event. The goal of the wedding photographer is to document the day, capturing participants emotions, and details of the event to create an accurate depiction of the wedding day. Depending on the wedding location the weather can be a factor so careful planning and alternate shooting locations should be planned.

Famous Wedding Photographer: Christian Oth

Action Photography

Taking still shots and capturing a subject while it is in motion is the talent of the action photographer. The photographer attempts to accurately capture a moment in time using techniques to convey motion or movement. Telling a story in one shot is challenging and these highly skilled individuals are masters of timing, placement, and focus. They are in demand to shoot sporting events, competitions, and events. Owing to the nature of this style of photography, timing is key. Sometimes that perfect shot can be gone in a split second. Timing movement, capturing close-ups, and the weather are all factors to be considered.

Famous Action Photographer: Bob Martin

Wildlife Photography

The documentation of animals, their behavior, and nature in their natural surroundings. This can extend to plant life and botanical subjects. Wildlife photographers sometimes travel far afield to remote locations to photograph animals and other aspects of natural life. The wildlife photographer often spends a substantial amount of time researching the subject. Attempting to study and learn about their subject and its habits in great detail is important. The more the subject is understood, the more likely it will be to obtain an impactful and revealing picture. Patience is key in this style, photographers sometimes wait for hours until capturing the desired shot.

Famous Wildlife Photographer: Andy Rouse

Aerial Photography

Taking photographs from an airborne position. From a plane, hot air balloon, mast, parachute, rocket, drone, kite, or anywhere else that elevates the camera to an above ground position. Aerial photography was first practiced by Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, French photographer and balloonist in 1858. Photographs taken using this method typically fall into two categories ‘oblique’ (at an angle), or ‘vertical’ (straight down). Aerial photography has been used extensively in military applications for landscape and terrain mapping. It is also widely used in archeology, earth sciences, and to record climate changes.

Famous Aerial Photographer: Alex MacLean

Pet Photography

As people are increasingly attached to their pets this type of photography has seen quite a bit of growth over the past decade. The photographer tries to capture the innate character of the animal in question.  The photo may even incorporate some action or movement or possibly the pet’s owner in the shot. It is not easy to get a pet to sit still and pose for the camera so patience (and plenty of snacks!) are needed to capture Fido at his best. Some photographs of this style are taken outdoors, to display the animal in its most natural state. Lighting also plays an important factor; many pets may not react well to a flash, so alternative light sources will need to be available.

Famous Pet Photographer: Carli Davidson

Real Estate Photography

A healthy real estate market creates a demand for Real Estate photographers. Sellers and agents want to market homes successfully and present them at their most appealing to prospective buyers. As a Real Estate photographer, you will need to consider architectural appealing elements of the home as well as being prepared to take interior and exterior photos. Exterior shots can be enhanced by capturing the home when the light is at its best; this means a quick internet search to determine the direction the house faces and the time the sun rises and sets. Preparation is also needed to capture the best interior images. Lighting, flash, furniture position are all elements to take into account.

Famous Real Estate Photographer: Michael Kelley

Your personal photography style is often something that constantly shifts and keeps changing over time. Your own specific style can change to keep pace with your needs and developing technique before it evolves completely and becomes your own.

Whatever your photography style there may be times where you need to incorporate some of the other styles into your portfolio. The options are limitless when beginning a career in photography and it may be beneficial to experiment with multiple styles and concepts until you find the one that suits you best.

No two photographers are the same and with practice and experimentation, you will develop a feel for what works and what doesn’t. Eventually, this will translate into a unique style all of your own. If you have had experience of using various photographic styles or are still trying to decide on which one, please leave your comments on this post. We hope it was helpful!

Related Questions

What style of photography should I pick? Choose a style that you like to look at yourself. Also, think about places you like to be. If you like going to the mountains then landscape photography may be for you. If you like the city, maybe street photography is your thing. Bottom line is, you’re going to be spending a good amount of time in the places you are going to shoot, so make it somewhere that you enjoy being.

What type of photography pays the most? Wedding photography, Fashion photography, Sports photography, Product photography and Portrait photography seem to pay the most on a consistent basis, but freelancers can earn a significant amount more depending on their specialty.

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