Even if you’ve just picked up photography as a hobby, there’s a genre for every photographer’s taste and ability. And almost every genre has multiple sub-genres.
Many amateur photographers don’t know which genre is the “right one” for them. The truth is, you can try as many as you want until you find a genre, or several, that you like. But you can’t do that without experimenting.
If you’re a beginner, give this roundup of photography genres a read and see what piques your interest. Then take your camera and give it your best shot.
This is one of the most common genres of photography. As soon as you get your first camera, a friend or relative will ask you to take a photo of them. So it doesn’t hurt to practice taking portraits, it might even be the genre you end up sticking with.
Even if it’s just a photo of your friends, you should focus on capturing the subject’s emotions or intentions. Portrait photography has the advantage of working closely with the subject, so this shouldn’t be too difficult. Also, it gives you the chance to learn about the photography basics, such as aperture, focus, ISO, and so on.
If you want more dynamic shots, you can focus on candid photography to capture your subjects’ raw emotions as you take spontaneous shots. The portrait photography genre also includes family, glamour, and pet photography, so there are plenty of options to choose from.
If you’re an adventurer and often set up camp in breathtaking locations, bring your camera along on your next trip.
Landscape photography is one of the most popular and appreciated photography genres amongst beginners as it focuses on capturing the sensation of being in the great outdoors. You want to make the viewers feel as if they got transported to the same place you were when you took the shot.
Contrary to popular belief, landscape photography doesn’t need to have a horizontal format. Each individual scenery’s elements will help you decide on perspective, camera settings, and techniques to capture its full beauty.
If you’re looking for the best results, you should use a mirrorless or DSLR camera, as smartphone cameras aren’t good enough if you want sharp nature shots.
Has a food picture ever made you hungry? If yes, you’ve already experienced this genre’s purpose.
As people have started going out less and using delivery services more, restaurants adapted. Every restaurant, blogger, or occasional cook has pictures of their food on social media. If you’re a foodie, this might be your genre.
In general, you shouldn’t use flash or lamps when shooting food because it has multiple textures, and you may get some weird-looking shadows. Instead, use natural light and move around the plate to find the best-looking angle for the dish.
For example, pizzas and salads will look better from above, hamburgers and pancakes look good from a straight-on angle, and cocktails look their best from a 45-degree angle.
Product photography is similar to food photography; you capture an item in a way to make it look as flattering as possible. If you’re interested in both advertising and photography, this is the genre for you.
Most of the time, business owners want the product to be captured on a plain background to separate it from any possible distraction. Once you find the right camera and lighting settings, you should take photos from multiple angles to showcase every feature of the product.
You will also require a tripod, light supports, and a steady surface to place the product on.
Event photography focuses on taking high-quality pictures during personal or professional events.
This genre requires you to have a bit of experience as a photographer, as you’ll have to take prearranged or spontaneous shots of places, people, or any prop involved in the event. You’ll have to document the event, but also include artistic value.
As with every photography genre we’ve included on our list, you can work your way up to well-paying clients. You can start taking photos at your best friend’s wedding and eventually become a photographer for corporate events or fancy galas.
If you want to capture a multitude of different subjects, street photography might be the right choice for you. As you walk the city, you can choose your subject to be a working man or an old building taken over by nature.
This genre requires the photographer to be very patient and have some social skills in order to approach strangers and take their shots. We have some tips on overcoming your fear of shooting street photography.
In general, street photographers prefer smaller camera bodies and lenses. Besides the convenience of walking with a lighter setup, the camera is not that obvious, so it helps them to blend into the environment to capture spontaneous images.
7. Still Life Photography
When thinking about the still life genre, you might remember old paintings with fruit bowls, flower vases, bottles, and glasses at your grandparents’ house. The genre has been around for centuries.
If you want to give still life photography a try, you have to double down on your creativity. What makes the still life genre challenging is that, in general, you have to work with daily, dull subjects, and find a way to make them interesting.
A mountain landscape is way more impressive than a bowl of fruit, and this represents the still life photography challenge; transforming the ordinary into something extraordinary and exciting.
For a beginner, still life photography has the advantage of taking as much time as needed to experiment with framing, lights, and textures, since your subject is inanimate.
You could say that abstract photography is the rebel of photography genres as it goes against many photography rules. This is what gives abstract photographers great freedom when it comes to expressing their artistic views.
Using movement, light, and perspective, abstract photographers reveal details that are usually ignored by most people. This includes mind-bending compositions that usually capture the viewers’ attention for a long time, while they try to decipher the image.
The details should slowly reveal themselves to the audience and have them come to the conclusion that appearances can be deceiving. This can be difficult to achieve, but art is subjective after all, so you have a ton of creative freedom with this genre.
Which Photography Genre Is Right for You?
You’ll likely settle on a photography genre that fits your personality. If you’re a people person, portrait or street photography might be the right choice. If you’re also interested in marketing, you could try food or product photography. And for the adventurous types, give landscape photography a shot.
No matter what you choose, there is no rule that says you should stick to it; you can always try a new photography genre. If you want to hop on the next photography trend, there are plenty of social media platforms where you can check other photographers’ work.