*Update 23/08/18* Information about Kirian Photography has been added
Although my passion lies in Street Photography, there are other genres out there that are worth exploring as well. With many more types of photography, we should dedicate some time to at least have a quick glance at what the world has to offer apart from Street Photography. Trying out different genres, will make You a more complete photographer and also inspire You to take different approaches when it comes to Your accustomed genre and style. So here are 30 different genres that I want to put on a display that are definitely worth spending some time in.
Who is to say that we have to stay on the ground for some great photographs? With drones reaching a price that is in the affordable range, aerial photography is not exclusive anymore to the people that are able to rent a helicopter. More and more hobby photographers can try this unique perspective and view and discover cities from above through Aerial Photography. Keep in mind though that regulations differ at every place and You should fly the drone responsibly.
Architecture Photography isn’t that far away from Street Photography and does have a lot in common. Both genres require You to see the beauty in the mundane, to discover perspectives that are hidden to others. By spending some time practicing Architecture Photography, You learn how important even the smallest of details can be. The importance of leading lines and how dramatic a small change in perspective can be. To enjoy Architecture Photography the most, using a wide angle lens in combination with a tripod is advised.
If You already have the wide angle lens and a nice tripod from the Architecture Photography before, then You can use it also outside the big city for some Astro Photography. Astro Photography might not be the most challenging photography genre in the sense, that You have to be quick or creative, but it shows You that the location is everything. For this genre, patience is key and although it might not sound very difficult, it does have a steep learning curve. In addition to finding the right location, the post-processing has a huge effect on the image and this knowledge can be applied in other genres as well.
There are other ways though to get photographs that are looking like they are not from this world. With Kirlian Photography, You can shoot inanimate objects and they create some kind of aura, which surrounds them. Have a look at this Kirlian photography guide and find out how You can shoot this kind of Style Yourself.
Some leave the city and point their camera to the sky to photograph the universe, others have their personal universe standing in their garage. Cars are an important part of modern life and represent the current culture. Automobile Photography is mostly used in commercials to sell new car models. With the automobile industry being very powerful, it is interesting to see how “simple” objects like cars can be presented as powerful, dynamic or elegant. Different styles can bring out different characters and by analyzing a bunch of Automobile Photographs You might develop a deeper understanding of the visual characteristics. Techniques like “panning” play also an important part and can be mastered by learning Automobile Photography.
5Black & White Photography
When I started Street Photography, it felt natural to me that every picture had to be in Black & White. Nowadays I switched to mostly color photography, but the years of experience doing mainly Black & White Photography have helped me in developing a better sense of the light and story of a picture. Photographing in Black & White requires a whole different approach of “seeing”. Our mind isn’t distracted by some colors but is able to focus on the content of a picture.
Composite Photography is a combination of creativity and skills in post-processing. With this combination, You are able to create a world that is not real but does represent Your photographic vision. You can either get so extreme and create artificial worlds completely, or use a composition to swap out the horizon in Your landscape photography. Although I believe that Street & Documentary Photography shouldn’t be tampered with and that it is important not to alter the scene in Photoshop, it can’t hurt to experiment with compositions and let the creativity flow freely.
Was the previous genre all about creating a fantasy world, Documentary Photography is the complete contrary. Since the beginning of photography, people seek out to document the world and tell their stories. Although Documentary Photography is often connected with human suffering, there are a lot more diverse projects. From stories about successful athletes to the change of wildlife, everything that is interesting to You can be used in a long-term project. The important aspect of this type of photography is that the photographs are authentic and not artificially forged to fit a narrative that simply isn’t true.
As a candid genre, Event Photography documents events of any kind. From weddings, galas, or concerts, these events are documented by photographers. This kind of photography is very challenging as You get close to a lot of strangers, but shouldn’t be afraid to be in the middle of the action. Often times, the light conditions are very challenging as well and finding the best candid moments, are what makes a good event photographer.
Starting as a commercial genre to advertise clothes, Fashion Photography has emancipated itself and is more than just the mere display of clothes. Today, Fashion Photography is a creative genre that can also help to create a brand or change its public view. With the help of these photographs, companies make a statement and try to attract different kinds of customers. Moreover, photographers are able to realize their very own projects. Fashion Photography shouldn’t be mixed with portrait photography, as the subject that is being photographed isn’t the sole focus of attention. It is the complete body of work that makes a great fashion photo, including the make-up & post-processing.
10Fine Art Photography
In Fine Art Photography, the photographer takes a more artistic approach and often times the subject isn’t very easy to understand and the statement of a picture isn’t very clear. This type of photography is often discussed very controversial. Photographs like the one seeing above by Andreas Gursky are worth millions for some, while others regard them as boring. Fine Art Photography is indeed a genre whose inner works You don’t need to understand. But the process and approach behind those pictures are very interesting and I recommend You to watch documentaries on famous Fine Art Photographers like Andreas Gursky, as their idea is often very different from what we might imagine.
Food Photography is interesting as a genre as it displays very mundane objects in a way that it induces emotions. Although photographs of food aren’t anything special anymore, since Instagram is flooded with pictures that show one’s meal, real Food Photography is a whole different genre. It can be artistic or used as an advertisement. The lighting in Food Photography is crucial in creating an appetizing photograph, as well as the post-processing.
Modern digital cameras are already fast. With a shutter speed of around 1/4.000s, You can already make scenes visible, that is hidden from our normal vision. In high-speed photography though, You want to get even faster than Your normal shutter speed. To achieve this kind of photography, You need a very dark room and work with a flash. Set the flash to the lowest possible power and the shutter speed of Your camera doesn’t really have an influence anymore. You can set the shutter speed to 1/10s or 1/250s, the high-speed effect will be created by the flash and its short burst. This genre can teach You how using a flash can affect a photograph.
Normally, the infrared light spectrum is blocked by camera manufacturers. To make them visible again and create pictures like the above, the cameras have to be altered to allow only the infrared light spectrum to be captured again. Afterwards, You are able to capture very surreal scenes, where the colors are a lot different and have nothing to do with our normal experience. Play around with different areas and how they appear in front of Your infrared camera.
Interior Photography is a bit like Architecture Photography but on a smaller scale. Instead of photographing buildings from the outside, You are more focused on the inner works. Geometrical figures are important to create a beautiful aesthetic balance in these pictures. Interior Photography can teach You to find the right perspective and if You don’t like the arrangement of the furniture and interior decoration You can play around with different settings.
Do You enjoy the nature and equally taking pictures there? Then Landscape Photography is a great way to share these impressions. Landscape Photography can teach You a lot about finding the right composition and since the motive is very static, You can try out different spots and see afterward which one is the best. In most cases, Landscape Photography embraces the Rule of Thirds and layering with some objects in the foreground. Or You can get a little more creative with a lake in front, that is reflecting the scene. Landscape Photography works the best in combination with a wide-angle lens and a good tripod. Other than investing a huge sum into the gear, the money is also well spent for traveling.
16Long Exposure Photography
Being the complete opposite of High-Speed Photography, the long exposure photography works with a longer shutter than usual, ranging in the few seconds. Long Exposure Photography works very well at night when there is a stark contrast and moving objects that can decorate the environment with light trails. Apart from light trails, this long exposure is also very often used in Landscape Photography to smoothen the movement of turbulent water. The longer exposure, in general, helps to create a more calm and relaxing mood in the pictures.
“If Your pictures aren’t good enough, You aren’t close enough”, this quote is taken quite literally in Macro Photography. The smallest objects or animals are shown in great detail. The camera lens functions almost like a microscope in this case. Even on small animals, You can see the tiny hair or other details that You can’t see in everyday life. This level of detail requires a lens specifically made for Macro Photography and that allows to focus this close. At the start, it is easier to focus on plants or other rather static objects, than living animals.
Often times we are too afraid that our pictures aren’t interesting enough and stuff it with as many details and subjects as possible. Good pictures don’t need to be filled, they can also work with a single detail that is perfectly highlighted by the photographer. Minimal Photography shows, that a great photograph doesn’t need much more than an interesting detail with a lot of negative space, that puts an emphasis on the detail. This genre can showcase our urban nature in a very abstract way.
The day can be very difficult to handle and not always express Your mood perfectly. At night, there is a very different atmosphere, which I personally quite like and since the light is less variable compared to the day, You can plan Your photographs a lot more carefully. If you have found a great spot, You can go there multiple times to find the almost same exact conditions, which helps to get closer to Your desired result. Night Photography is also often combined with a long exposure or a flash. For this type of photography, I would recommend a good camera that known to not create much noise in the higher ISO ranges.
Who is to say that portraits have always to be done with people? If You have a pet, then it becomes a huge part of Your life and with Pet Photography You are able to cherish these memories. Nowadays, there are a lot more photographers specializing in this genre and they try to get the perfect picture by luring them with their favorite toys or bribe them with treats. Either way, pets are bringing a lot of joy into our lives and this kind of photography is a great test in how well You can “direct” unwilling models.
Being one of the most popular genres, Portrait Photography is also a tough challenge for both, the photographer and the model. The key for a great portrait is that the model is comfortable and doesn’t pose in a very unnatural sens. A portrait should bring out the true character of the model and achieve that, it is important that there is a great mutual understanding and trust. Portrait Photography can teach You a lot about the right communication with the subject. Since there are so much portrait photographers out there, it is also difficult to develop a distinct style. Nonetheless, there are portrait photographers out there that stick out. Take them as an example and don’t be afraid to experiment. Personally, I like the post-processing to be kept minimal, but tastes do differ in this regards.
Photography can be practiced for a variety of reasons. Not always is the fun or aesthetic aspect the most important. Scientific Photography helps to capture phenomenon, that are hard to display otherwise. In this case, You are able to see the crystalline structures of forming ice. To achieve this high quality, Scientific Photography is strongly related to macro & high-speed photography. Creating scientific photographs, that are not only educational but simply look good, helps to promote the scientific value and raises interest.
Sport is a huge part of modern culture and certain events attract billions of viewers. Some of the most iconic images ever taken are from the sports genre. The fact that the World Press Photo Awards also have a dedicated category for Sports Photography show how important this type of photography is today. Sports Photography is all about the emotions, of triumph, defeat or the long journey in becoming the best. It is very close to Documentary Photography and if You are a sports enthusiast, I would recommend You to do a little series about a local sports team.
24Still Life Photography
Together with the first cameras and photographs came the mocking by painters that had the opinion that photography wasn’t a real form of art. Still Life Photography tries to bring back the aesthetic that can be seen in a lot of paintings. They display a small group of objects in a composition that comes close to the aesthetics of paintings. Still Life Photography is a great example of how important lighting and small details are for a picture. For very good reasons, photography students often learn the impact of light by playing around with some kind of still life photography in front of a dark background.
Of course, my favorite genre Street Photography shouldn’t be missed on this list. Street Photography is a huge challenging and my duty is to show beautiful scenes and actions that are hidden for most people. Today, taking a picture isn’t difficult, almost everyone has a mobile phone and even entry-level cameras aren’t expensive anymore. Yet, there are huge gaps between “amateur photographers” and photographers that are trying to get better and develop their photographic eye. The street is open for everyone, but only a few will really see the beauty that it holds. Finding these precious moments makes this type of photography so rewarding, but also frustrating at times. In my opinion, it is one of the most difficult genres. If You miss a moment it is gone forever and You won’t be able to capture this exact emotion.
Travel Photography is a very broad genre. It is not really different from Street Photography, other than that it does take place at a foreign place from the photographer’s point of view. Travel Photography is a great way to explore a different country, to get to know the people and their culture. As a photographer, traveling is also one of the best sources of inspiration. You are in a new environment, with a lot of new impressions and challenges to overcome. Although it can also be a little overwhelming at the beginning and You might need a few days to get to know the places a bit better, traveling has yielded tremendous results for me. Not only from a photographer’s perspective it helps me become better, it also helps to strengthen the character and personal growth.
Photography doesn’t necessarily need to happen at land. Although this might be the natural habitat of a camera, we can also take pictures underwater to capture this unique world. Oceans make about 70% of the world’s surface and it would be a total waste if we wouldn’t use this area for some photos as well. Underwater Photography is a great tool to display the joys of diving and showcase the unique flora & fauna. To do some underwater photography Yourself, You can buy an extra casing for Your normal camera and take pictures underwater. Or You can also get some inexpensive compact cameras that are waterproof and specifically made to take pictures underwater.
Where Street Photography focuses on the human element and architecture is centered around buildings, Urban Photography finds itself somewhere in-between. It is often a combination of the urban environment that shows human elements or our culture of today. In that regards, there are a lot of different approaches. A lot of times, Urban Photography is also emphasized in a minimalistic style. Urban Photography combines cityscapes, landscapes, interior&extirior objects, but also people or nature of the city.
Do You like Yourself some pressure and challenges? Then Wedding Photography is probably the genre where You have to work Your hardest to please clients and not mess up the supposedly most important day of the bridal pair. Wedding Photography requires You to be focused and concentrated for the whole wedding ceremony as well as the party afterward. Although the portraits are posed, as a wedding photographer You need to be an expert in both, candid and posed photography to capture this unique day.
Not only humans are interesting to photography, also animals are a great subject. Wildlife Photography has the aim to show animals in their natural habitat and behavior. Therefore, a lot of Wildlife Photography is done with very long tele-lenses that allow the photographer to stay far away without disturbing the animals. Another important trait is patience. Often times it passionate Wildlife Photographers are waiting for a few days near the same spot to finally capture an animal passing by and striking the pose that is wanted.