35 Different Types of Photography Explained

If you’re an aspiring photographer, chances are you’re learning a lot of different types of photography. When you’re just starting out, it’s a good idea to explore as many different styles of photography as you want — to gain experience and to get a feel for what you like.

However, as you become a more advanced photographer, you’ll find it becomes important to focus on a particular niche. In this article, we’ll describe the different types, or genres, of photography. You’ll discover:

  • benefits of each style of photography;
  • things to consider when choosing what type of photography to shoot;
  • what gear you’ll need for each of the different types of photography;
  • and a few other things to take into consideration before you decide which type (or types) of photography you want to specialize in.


Why should you specialize in a certain type of photography?

There are many reasons a photographer should specialize in a particular niche. First, it’s better to master one or two styles of photography than to be “just okay” at many of them. So, when you choose a style of photography to specialize in, you get better at it.

Next, because you have a specialty, your photography becomes much easier to market. Since you have a specific clientele, you know exactly who your customer is, and how to sell to them.

different types of photography - wedding photographer
Photo by Mariah Krafft

Finally, when you specialize in a particular type of photography, it sets you apart from all the other photographers around you. Think about William Wegman and his photographs of Weimaraners or Anne Geddes and her shots of newborn babies. They got famous because of their very specific types of photos.


How to know what genre of photography is right for you

So, how do you choose what type of photography to specialize in? Most photographers will naturally gravitate toward a particular type of photography. For example, I have always been an animal lover, so it was no surprise that I became a Pet Photographer. However, I’ve had the opportunity to photograph several sporting events and was surprised to find that Sports Photography was extremely exciting for me, too. So, don’t limit yourself to just one niche.

Here are some things to consider when choosing what kind of photography to specialize in:

  • Passion: Make sure you’re photographing something that interests you and that suits your personality. After all, you should enjoy your job.
  • Commercial Value: Be sure you’re able to make a living from your photography, otherwise it’ll just be a hobby.
  • Longevity: The photography field is constantly changing. Make sure you choose a niche that isn’t just a fad, but rather, will keep you working for years to come.
  • Competition: Popular niches of photography, like family and weddings, have massive markets and pay very well. That also means you’ll be competing against a lot of other photographers in the same area.
different types of photography abstract
Photo by JJ Ying

Keeping those things in mind, let’s explore 35 of the many different types of photography styles. Perhaps you’ll find one or two genres in this list that you want to specialize in.


Abstract Photography

Abstract photography is a genre that’s difficult to define. Also known as conceptual or experimental photography, abstract photography uses texture, color, shape, light, shadow, and form to express an emotion or idea, without actually representing a literal object or scene in the photograph.

  • Passion: Abstract photography is a sub-genre of Fine Art Photography. If you are passionate about art, this could be a good fit for you. But, know that fine art photographers are often snubbed by traditional artists
  • Commercial Value: Not in the typical photography sense, but you can sell it as fine art and sometimes for a lot of money
  • Longevity: Art is always in style
  • Competition: Very low

Gear needed for abstract photography

The beauty of Abstract Photography is that you can do whatever you want. That includes using whatever gear you want — even a mobile phone.

If you’re a photographer who is more interested in colors, shapes, textures, and the art of photography than in the business of taking pictures of people, then Abstract Photography might be a good genre for you to specialize in. 


Aerial Photography

Aerial photography is any photograph taken from an aircraft, either by a photographer or remotely by a camera mounted on an aircraft, such as an airplane, helicopter, balloon, blimp, satellite, and most often these days, a drone. 

With a rise in the use and popularity of drones over the last decade, aerial photography has become much more accessible and affordable for businesses. Due to that, it’s quite common for Real Estate photographers to add this as an option. That said, it’s also extremely popular with travel and fine art photographers. We’re even starting to see wedding photographers add drone photography to their packages.

  • Passion: Learning to shoot from height, in motion, takes a whole new set of skills. If you can master it, the results are extremely rewarding
  • Commercial Value: High
  • Longevity: Yes
  • Competition: High in some areas

Gear needed for aerial photography

In order to do aerial photography, you’ll need an aircraft. Most often, this means investing in a drone, unless you’re lucky enough to have a friend who is willing to take you up in their helicopter whenever you want!

If you’re a photographer who is already established in their niche but is looking for a way to expand your business or you want something special to make your photos stand apart from the rest, consider adding aerial photography to your repertoire!


Architecture Photography

Photography that focuses on buildings, their structure, style, construction, size, features, and beauty is known as Architecture Photography. It requires a mix of both artistic and technical skills. Don’t confuse this type of photography with Real Estate Photography, which also involves shooting buildings. However, you could specialize in both, since they share a lot of the same skills and gear.

  • Passion: you like construction, buildings, architecture, and getting technical 
  • Commercial Value: High value if you live in an urban area
  • Longevity: Yes
  • Competition: Depends on where you live

Gear needed for architecture photography

In addition to a pro-level DSRL or mirrorless camera, you will need a variety of lenses, including a tilt-shift lens. Plus, a tripod, neutral density filters, and off-camera flash for interior shots. 

If you live in an area where Architecture Photography is in high demand, especially if you combine your skill with Real Estate Photography, it can prove to be a very lucrative niche to specialize in. 


Astrophotography

Astrophotography can be defined as taking photos of anything in the night sky — from the stars and the moon to the planets and the Milky Way, even objects in deep space. It involves a high level of skill, some specialized equipment, and lots of post-processing.

types of photography - astrophotography
Photo by Chait Goli 
  • Passion: If you have a passion for space and science, this could be up your alley.
  • Commercial Value: Not in the typical photography sense, but you can sell it as fine art or work in the scientific field
  • Longevity: Yes
  • Competition: Low

Gear needed for astrophotography

The gear you need depends on what you’re shooting. For simple Wide Angle Astrophotography, like shots of the night sky, the Milky Way, the Solar System, or nighttime landscapes, you can get away with a good DSLR or mirrorless camera, a wide-angle lens, and a tripod. If you want to shoot Deep Sky Astrophotography, you’ll need to invest in much more expensive and specialized equipment including a telescope and star tracker.

If you’re a night owl who is tech-minded, loves space and science, has a lot of patience, and doesn’t mind standing outside in the cold for hours at a time, this might be a perfect genre of photography for you.


Boudoir

Boudoir is a type of portrait photography that highlights the sensual beauty of the subject’s body. While it’s similar to glamour photography, the subject in boudoir photos is usually wearing next to nothing and this style is all about the sensual beauty of the subject – the hair, clothes (if any), and makeup are secondary.

  • Passion: If you love making people feel beautiful or helping them see the beauty in themselves, boudoir photography, when done well, is said to be an amazing confidence booster.
  • Commercial Value: Very high
  • Longevity: Yes
  • Competition: High in some markets

Gear needed for Boudoir photography

Besides a pro camera and a couple of great lenses, you might want studio lighting if you don’t have access to a place with great natural light. Also, you will need a place to shoot, whether you rent studio space or set up your own in-home studio.

It takes a certain kind of person to be able to put clients at ease during an uncomfortable photoshoot. You’ll also need skill with posing to accentuate assets and disguise flaws. If this describes you, then boudoir photography is the niche for you.


Candid Photography

Candid photography is a type of portrait photography, but unlike regular portraits, the subjects are not posed. Instead, the photographer takes a hands-off approach to shooting and simply captures the genuine emotions and reactions of the day.

  • Passion: If you like family photography, telling stories, and documenting emotion
  • Commercial Value: High
  • Longevity: Yes
  • Competition: Not as high as traditional portrait photography

Gear needed for candid photography

Due to the nature of candid photography, you’ll need to be quick on your feet and blend into the scene. That means you can usually get away with just your camera and one zoom lens.

If you’re the type of photographer who uses your camera as a tool to capture emotion and tell stories, and if you are a “people-person” who can easily engage with families, then candid photography would be a good type of photography to add to your portfolio.


Commercial Photography

When you’re hired to shoot photos that are used to help sell a product or service, that’s commercial photography. Commercial photography is a kind of photography that encompasses many other kinds — fashion, product, location, food, brand, architecture, and more. Being a commercial photographer can be a very lucrative business, but you need to be at the top of your game.

types of photos - commercial
Photo by engin akyurt
  • Passion: Once you master a genre of photography, see if you can do it commercially. Chances are, you’ll make more money that way.
  • Commercial Value: High
  • Longevity: Yes
  • Competition: It depends on which sub-genre you’re in (for example, fashion is highly competitive)

Gear needed for commercial photography

The gear you need will largely depend on the sub-genre in which you shoot. However, in order to be a serious commercial photographer, you need to have professional gear. That means a pro-level DSLR or mirrorless camera, pro-quality lenses, and other industry-standard equipment.

If you’re shooting at the top of your game, you’ve mastered your chosen niche, then it might be time to try your hand at commercial photography. 


Conceptual Photography

Conceptual photography is another genre that’s hard to define. Like abstract photography, these photos are more about communicating an idea or concept than what’s in the photo. Unlike abstract photography, though, conceptual images often contain very complex composites and subject matter.

kinds of photography - conceptual
Photo by Yahor Urbanovich
  • Passion: Do you have a specific story to tell, an idea, concept, or theme that you must put out into the world?
  • Commercial Value: Not in the typical photography sense, but you can sell it as fine art and sometimes for a lot of money
  • Longevity: Art is always in style
  • Competition: Low

Gear needed for conceptual photography

The gear you’ll need depends on your concept. In many cases, you can do a lot of work in post-processing, so expert skills with Photoshop or a similar program would be helpful.

If you’re a photographer who has ideas you want to communicate to the world through your art, then conceptual photography might be the niche for you.


Documentary Photography

Documentary photography is the art of capturing events as they happen by shooting a series of photographs. This could be any event from a 100th birthday party to documenting a band’s entire world tour or shooting every moment of the birth of a child. The point is to take a fly-on-the-wall approach and capture enough context, emotion, and detail to convey the story in photos.

  • Passion: If you’re a storyteller with a passion for people, and if you can be a fly on the wall
  • Commercial Value: yes
  • Longevity: yes
  • Competition: low

Gear needed for documentary photography

Due to the nature of documentary photography, you’ll rarely need more than your camera and a zoom lens. 

Documentary photography can be an important way to preserve history and sometimes even effect social change. If exploring the human condition and sharing historical events with the world excites you, then this is a genre you should explore further.


Editorial Photography

Editorial photography refers to photos that are taken specifically to accompany a news or magazine article. They are meant to run along with text and help tell the story. Editorial photography is similar to documentary photography in that you are telling a story. However, with editorial photography, the photographer can pose the subjects if it will help demonstrate the story. They are able to insert their own style into the image.

  • Passion: If you like a fast-paced workload, with lots of different assignments, and are a good storyteller
  • Commercial Value: Not as high as it used to be but the potential exists
  • Longevity: Yes
  • Competition: Very high

Gear needed for abstract photography

This depends on what you’re shooting, but you need professional-quality gear.

If you like to work on location, in a collaborative environment, and you’re a skilled photographer who has a knack for storytelling through photos, then editorial photography might be a good type of photography for you to specialize in.


Event Photography

Event photography can be defined as professional photography taken at any special event. A photographer might be hired to shoot anything from a child’s birthday party to a massive corporate event. 

Weddings, although technically are events, are such a massive category that wedding photography falls under its own niche. However, a lot of wedding photographers will photograph other events, too.

  • Passion: If you’re a “people person” who can think fast on your feet, stay very organized and work under difficult lighting conditions, it’s a chance to see a lot of exciting things you might never otherwise do
  • Commercial Value: High
  • Longevity: Yes
  • Competition: Depends on your area

Gear needed for abstract photography

Depending on the event you’re hired to shoot, your gear list could be as small as just your camera and one lens, to a bag full of extra lenses, a second camera body, and several flashes.

Event photography is, at times, an exciting type of photography. It gives you a chance to attend events you might otherwise never have a chance to do. If you dream of attending huge events and mingling with influential people, event photography could be the type of photography for you.


Family Portraits

Family photography is a category of portrait photography in which the photographer directs, poses, and shoots an image of a family group. In a day and age when nearly every member of the family carries a mobile phone in their pocket (sometimes even the baby), it’s important that you make photographs that are more special than anything they can capture with the camera on their phone.

types of photos - family
Photo by Any Lane
  • Passion: If you’ve got a knack for building rapport, keeping kids captivated, and posing people so that they all look their best
  • Commercial Value: High
  • Longevity: Yes
  • Competition: Could be high in your area

Gear needed for family portraits

This depends on the style of family portraits you do. Most often a pro-level camera and a variety of lenses is all you need. Some photographers also use off-camera flash.

If you’re a photographer who enjoys working with people and helping families make memories they’ll cherish for a lifetime, then family portraits are definitely the type of photography you should be shooting.


Fantasy Photography

A genre of photography that uses costumes, set design, and photo manipulation to create imaginary worlds with themes like magic, mythology, folklore, and fairy tales is called fantasy photography. Fantasy photography has the power to transport the viewer into worlds you’ve only dreamed about.

  • Passion: If you have a passion for fantasy, fairy tales, or mythology, and if you are very skilled with post-processing 
  • Commercial Value: as cosplay grows in popularity, so does the value of this type of photography. It can also be sold as fine art.
  • Longevity: Art is always in style
  • Competition: Low compared to other styles

Gear needed for abstract photography

In addition to your camera and lenses, set designs can be extremely elaborate.

Fantasy Photography is a style of photography that’s perfect for those with limitless imaginations and plenty of skill with Photoshop. If you’re always dreaming up imaginary worlds, give fantasy photography a go and see what you come up with!


Fine Art Photography

Just like a sculpture or a painting, fine art photography is very personal and differs greatly from one artist to the next. They are photographs that the photographer makes with their own vision, technique, aesthetic, imagination, and concept. While other types of photography are done for a client, fine art photography is strictly for the artist, and therefore, the photographer is free to explore any aspect of the image in any way they see fit.

  • Passion: If you’re an artist at heart, choose photography as your medium. You don’t want to work for any clients but only wish to create photos according to your artistic vision.
  • Commercial Value: Not in the typical photography sense, but you can sell it as fine art and sometimes for a lot of money
  • Longevity: Art is always in style
  • Competition: Low

Gear needed for abstract photography

As a fine art artist, the only gear you need is whatever you need to make your image. That said, if you intend to sell your work, you’d be better off working with top-quality equipment so you can produce high-quality prints.

If you’re a photographer who doesn’t want a traditional client/photographer business but just wants to create art, then you should look into fine art photography. If you are able to make a name for yourself as a photographic artist, you can make a decent living at it.


Food Photography

Food photography, as the name implies, is still life photography of food used for commercial purposes. It includes mouth-watering photos of ingredients, food being cooked, and prepared dishes. The photos are used for advertising, magazines, menus, packaging, cookbooks, websites, and more. And while it may seem fairly simple, it is not as easy as it looks to make food look so scrumptious in photos — it takes a very skilled food photographer.

types of photos - food
Photo by Mike
  • Passion: If you’re a foodie who loves photography, this might be the perfect match for you
  • Commercial Value: High
  • Longevity: Yes
  • Competition: Low, but rising with “Instagram photographers”

Gear needed for food photography

In addition to a pro-level camera and zoom lens with a wide aperture, you’ll also want a macro lens, a sturdy tripod, a polarizing filter for removing glare from glassware, lighting & light modifiers, a variety of kitchen props & utensils, ingredients, and photo editing software.

If you’ve got a love and understanding of food, meticulous attention to detail and a lot of creativity, food photography just might be the style of photography that would be a perfect fit for you.


Glamour Photography

Similar to portrait photography because it always features humans, glamour photography sets out to capture the beauty of the subjects in the photo. However, where some photos focus on fashion, makeup, or hair — glamour photography is all about beauty. Anything else in the photo is simply there to enhance that beauty. In fact, you’ll notice most glamour photos have an emphasis on the model’s face.

  • Passion: If you have a passion for capturing and enhancing beauty, perhaps this is a good fit for you.
  • Commercial Value: Somewhat
  • Longevity: Yes
  • Competition: Low

Gear needed for glamour photography

Besides your camera and portrait lens, lighting is essential for glamour photography. Whether you shoot in natural light and use reflectors or choose to set up studio lighting is up to you.

Photographers who shoot portraits, fashion, or boudoir could easily add glamour photography into their portfolios, as the genres are already very similar.


Horror Photography

Much like a movie of the same genre, horror photography is created to make the viewer want to look away in disgust. It is a sub-type of fantasy photography that aims to be creepy, dark, scary, or gross. It is usually intended to shock the viewer. 

  • Passion: If you have a passion for all things dark, creepy, and scary this might appeal to you
  • Commercial Value: Not a lot of demand in the typical photography sense, but you can sell it as fine art or as cosplay
  • Longevity: Art is always in style
  • Competition: Low

Gear needed for horror photography

The gear you’ll need depends on the photo. It could require extensive props, set design, and lighting.

If you have an interest in all things creepy and spooky if you like to scare people, and if you have a passion for the dark and mysterious, then perhaps horror photography is the genre of photography for you.


Infrared Photography

The weird and wonderful world of infrared photography uses special equipment — either a modified camera or an IR filter — to capture the infrared light in a scene. Infrared light can’t be seen with the naked human eye, so infrared photography has an unusual look, as if it were shot on an alien planet.

  • Passion: If you have an interest in unusual techniques, are technologically minded, and are willing to do a lot of post-processing, you may enjoy infrared photography
  • Commercial Value: Not in the typical photography sense, but you can sell it as fine art and sometimes for a lot of money
  • Longevity: Art is always in style
  • Competition: Low

Gear needed for infrared photography

You can get started with infrared photography by simply using an IR filter on your camera. If you do that, you’ll definitely need to shoot with a tripod. However, should you choose to get serious with the genre, you’ll need to invest in an IR-converted camera and that can get rather pricey. On the other hand, you’ll no longer need to carry a tripod – you’ll be able to shoot with much faster shutter speeds. 

If you’re a photographer who is inspired by creative techniques, fun & unique colors, and special equipment, give infrared photography a try. The genre has been around a very long time but it remains a very small niche.


Landscape Photography

Photography that is taken outside in nature, that captures an entire scene is known as landscape photography. Whether it’s a photo of an impressive mountain range or a stream meandering through a forest, landscapes focus on the beauty of the entire scene. Man-made objects, like houses or vehicles, might appear within a landscape photograph but the focus is all on the nature in which those objects exist.

kinds of photography- landscapes
Photo by NOAA
  • Passion: Landscape photography is great for people with a passion for nature, capturing its beauty, preserving it for future generations, and those who possess the technical skill and patience it takes to capture a great landscape photo
  • Commercial Value: Not in the typical photography sense, but you can sell it as fine art and sometimes for a lot of money. The most expensive photo ever sold was a landscape photo. ​​(A black and white photo of Antelope Canyon called Phantom by Peter Lik sold for $6.5 Million in 2019)
  • Longevity: Art is always in style
  • Competition: Yes

Gear needed for landscape photography

A camera and wide-angle lens are standard gear, but if you’re serious about landscape photography, you’ll also want a telephoto lens. Plus, a tripod, several filters, and probably some hiking gear, depending on how far you’re willing to go to get the shot.

Landscape photography requires quite a bit of patience waiting on the perfect lighting and weather conditions. There’s also a lot of post-processing to get your images looking perfect. If that doesn’t scare you off and you’re a true nature lover, this might be the kind of photography for you.


Lifestyle Photography

A popular type of photography that marries candid and portrait photography to create a style that captures people in real-life situations is called lifestyle photography. Lifestyle photography can be directed and styled, but the subjects are never posed. Subjects don’t use props but interact with the environment around them. The result is a more authentic style of portrait.

  • Passion: You’re a people person who is able to quickly build rapport if you can direct a family in a natural way, be prepared for anything, act quickly, and be creative
  • Commercial Value: Yes
  • Longevity: Yes
  • Competition: Yes

Gear needed for lifestyle photography

A pro-level camera and a couple of zoom lenses are typically all you need. Lifestyle photographers don’t usually use artificial light or tripods.

If you’ve got a knack for directing people, if you find it easy to build rapport, if you adore authenticity, then you may find that lifestyle photography is the style you love the most.


Macro Photography

Typically, when you take a photograph, your subject is captured much smaller than it is in real life. Obviously, you aren’t capturing a human-sized image of a person when you photograph them! However, technically speaking, macro photography means taking a picture of an object at a magnification of at least 1:1, or life-size. A lot of people who really get interested in macro photography do it for the amazing bug photographs, while others do it for the gorgeous photos of flowers. Do you fit into one of these categories?

  • Passion: Macro photography can be very technical, takes a lot of patience, a lot of precision, but if done well, is extremely rewarding
  • Commercial Value: Limited (forensics, product photography, scientific photography) and you can sell images as fine art
  • Longevity: Yes
  • Competition: Low

Gear needed for macro photography

You’ll need a camera and macro lens, of course. You’ll also need a tripod and remote shutter release. Depending on what you shoot, you may also need a ring light & reflectors.

Macro photography is a fun and exciting way to photograph extremely small objects in vivid detail. If you’re a wedding photographer, use macro to add jewelry shots to your portfolio. If you’re a nature or wildlife photographer, use it for detailed shots of flowers and insects.  


Maternity Photography

Maternity photography highlights a woman’s pregnancy, her growing family, and her changing body. In portrait photography, maternity photos capture the mother-to-be in a beautiful, impactful, or candid way while highlighting her baby bump.

types of photos - maternity
Photo by Christin Noelle 
  • Passion: You understand the unique relationship between an expectant mother and her unborn child, and are sensitive to the unique dynamics of a woman’s changing body. 
  • Commercial Value: Yes
  • Longevity: Yes
  • Competition: High

Gear needed for maternity photography

The gear you’ll need for maternity photography depends on the style of photography you shoot. Will you shoot in natural light or in a well-lit studio? Besides your camera and lenses, you may opt to put your camera on a tripod, you may use artificial light, reflectors, and light modifiers.

Maternity photographs are some of the most treasured photos of any professional portrait. If you long to create photographs that families will treasure for a lifetime, then maternity photography could be the type of photography for you.


Minimalist Photography

Minimalism is an art form that sets out to tell a story using as few elements as possible. That style translates well into photos with minimalist photography — a kind of photography in which the images emphasize simplicity. The goal is to be as breathtaking as possible, using as few elements as possible. The concept is simple, but the execution takes talent and skill. When it comes to minimalist photography, less is more.

  • Passion: You have a passion for art and understand the concept behind the movement. You have a great eye for composition.
  • Commercial Value: Not in the typical photography sense, but you can sell it as fine art and sometimes for a lot of money
  • Longevity: Art is always in style
  • Competition: Low

Gear needed for minimalist photography

It depends on what you’re shooting, but most often you just need your camera and lens.

With minimalism, less is more. Combine that concept with brilliant composition and photographic technique to tell your story and you’ll have a portfolio full of minimalist photography.


Newborn Photography

A type of portrait photography, newborn photography is photographs of babies that are taken when they’re between five and fourteen days old. Newborn photography may look easy, but it requires a lot of skill, post-processing, and a lot of knowledge of posing in order to keep the babies safe. 

  • Passion: You adore babies, have a lot of patience to work on the baby’s schedule, and are willing to take extra safety precautions to keep baby safe
  • Commercial Value: High
  • Longevity: Yes
  • Competition: High in some markets

Gear needed for newborn photography

In addition to your camera and lens, you will need a studio, lighting, light modifiers, and posing equipment. Additionally, you’ll need a collection of props, costumes, and accessories.

If you have a love of babies, patience, empathy, tenderness, a sense of humor, a strong stomach, and passion for creating timeless images that families will cherish forever, then newborn photography is the type of photography that suits you best.


Pet Photography

The one and only type of portrait photography that doesn’t involve humans, pet photography is taking images of people’s beloved pets. Most often you’ll photograph dogs and cats, but sometimes you’ll shoot exotic animals and large animals, too. This genre of photography is growing in popularity and pet owners will spend a lot of money having their pet’s portraits taken – oftentimes more than they’re willing to spend on themselves. Pet photography is big business!

  • Passion: You have a passion for animals, you’re into animal rescue, you love cats and dogs and aren’t afraid to get dirty, you know how to interact with dogs and cats
  • Commercial Value: High and growing
  • Longevity: Yes
  • Competition: Yes in some markets

Gear needed for pet photography

The gear you need for pet photography depends on your style of photography. Do you shoot outdoors or in a studio? Besides your camera and lens, you may need a flash. You’ll also need treats and dog toys or squeakers to get the animal to look at you! Now that’s something you’ll only find in a pet photographer’s bag.

If you’ve got a passion for animals, you don’t mind getting down and dirty, and you love photography, why not combine these traits and try your hand at pet photography? 


Photojournalism

Photojournalism is photography that tells a news story. With this type of photography, the ethics of journalism apply, meaning the photos should never be manipulated or edited. Instead, they should be honest and impartial in their intent. A photojournalist should be thought of in the same way as a reporter, but they use photos instead of words to tell their story.

  • Passion: You’re always in the right place at the right time. You like to be in the middle of the action. You have a passion for documenting the truth.
  • Commercial Value: Low, with the invention of smartphones
  • Longevity: Yes
  • Competition: High

Gear needed for photojournalism

If you want to be a serious photojournalist, invest in a camera that will set you apart from everyone out there with their smartphone cameras. Make sure you’re always prepared by using a zoom lens with a wide range of focal lengths.

If you’re cool under pressure, you can remain invisible in the middle of a scene, you always act with integrity, and you can keep your personal opinions out of your work, then photojournalism will be a perfect fit for you.


Portrait Photography

Simply put, a portrait is a photograph of a person or group of people. But portrait photography is so much more than that. Great portraits also portray the personalities of the subjects. They tell the story of their profession, their culture, their environment, how they felt when the shot was taken. Portrait photography is all about the people in the photograph and anything else in the shot is there to help tell their story. 

There are many sub-types of portrait photography, from maternity to newborn to boudoir. While you may specialize in one of these types, you don’t have to practice all types of portrait photography.

  • Passion: You love people and have a way of building rapport, making people comfortable in front of the camera. You have a knack for posing and know how to make people look good.
  • Commercial Value: High
  • Longevity: Yes
  • Competition: Yes, depending on the sub-genre

Gear needed for portrait photography

Besides your camera and lens, the additional gear you need will depend on the sub-type of portrait photography you shoot. A person who photographs fashion portraits in a studio will need entirely different gear than someone shooting pet portraits at the dog park.

Portrait photography is a large genre that encompasses many smaller sub-types of photography. You may find that you are best to focus your time and talent on one or two of the sub-types of portrait photography.


Product Photography

Product photography is exactly what the name implies — photos of products. Just think — for every photo you see of a product, a photographer was paid (in many cases a lot of money) to shoot that image! High-quality images are critical to selling products and helping companies with their branding. That’s where product photography comes in.

kinds of photos - product
Photo by Mahbod Akhzami
  • Passion: You have meticulous attention to detail, you are skilled with studio lighting, you are good at post-processing, and you enjoy seeing your photography all over the place
  • Commercial Value: High
  • Longevity: Yes
  • Competition: High

Gear needed for product photography

In addition to pro-quality cameras and a myriad of lenses, you will also need a studio with lights, modifiers, and post-processing software. 

Product photographs are everywhere. Just look around and you’ll notice what a significant role it plays in everyday life. If you’re good at it, and if you hustle, you can make a lucrative career out of it.


Real Estate Photography

Real Estate Photography consists of photographs taken of property, houses, apartments, or buildings, with the intention of selling, renting, or leasing them. It’s widely known that better images will help get a property sold. For that reason, the demand for top-notch real estate photographers is always high. 

That said, real estate photography takes a lot of technical skill, so it takes some work to be really good at it. The real estate photographers who are at the top of their game earned their way there.

  • Passion: You’re a hustler, you have meticulous attention to detail, you’re a skilled photographer a keen eye for lighting and angles
  • Commercial Value: High, especially in urban markets
  • Longevity: Yes
  • Competition: High

Gear needed for real estate photography

In addition to your camera and wide-angle lens, in order to achieve professional results, a real estate photographer should also use a sturdy tripod, off-camera flash, wireless remote, and possibly a tilt-shift lens and a drone.

If you’re a photographer who prefers to work alone, but you’re skilled, have a meticulous attention to detail, and can hustle in a competitive market, real estate might be the type of photography for you.


Street Photography

Street photography is a form of photographic art. It’s all about capturing candid moments in public life. Contrary to the name, however, it doesn’t actually have to be shot on the street. You can shoot street photography anywhere. Just so long as it’s honest and random. Street photography could be shot at the beach, on public transportation, or even in rural areas. Street photography just needs to tell an authentic story of people…or the essence of people. 

  • Passion: You connect with people and want to tell their stories, you are polite and respectful, you can anticipate camera settings, and you always have a camera by your side
  • Commercial Value: Not in the typical photography sense, but you can sell it as fine art and sometimes for a lot of money
  • Longevity: Art is always in style
  • Competition: High

Gear needed for street photography

Street photographers do best when they don’t draw attention to themselves. Often, they shoot with one small camera and lens or just a smartphone.

If you’re a photographer who loves people, loves the world, and wants to share them both in an honest and authentic way then you should stop what you’re doing right now and immediately look into street photography.


Surreal Photography

Surreal photography is a genre of photography in which photographic artists create images that defy reality, challenge logic, and encourage the viewer to think outside the box. Much like the art movement, surreal photography merges fantasy and reality, rational and irrational, conscious and unconscious. The result is images that challenge logic and arrange objects in unexpected ways. 

  • Passion: You have a vivid imagination and the creative mind of an artist, you are highly skilled with photo manipulation, you are unconventional, and are all about breaking the rules
  • Commercial Value: Not in the typical photography sense, but you can sell it as fine art and sometimes for a lot of money
  • Longevity: Art is always in style
  • Competition: Low

Gear needed for surreal photography

The gear you need for surreal photography largely depends on the individual project you’re working on. Some set designs are extensive and lit with a full studio while others may consist of a single piece of paper shot outside at night by the light of the moon.

Surreal photography is a type of photography that’s perfect for those who consider themselves to be true artists. These types of photos will appeal to your artistic sensibilities because they allow you to freely express your creativity and let your imagination run wild.


Travel Photography

Travel photography is all about documenting the experience of the places you travel to. It encompasses many different types of photography, including landscapes, streets, architecture, documentaries, portraits, and even food photography. The goal is to create a portfolio that gives the viewer an idea of what the destination is like and, ultimately, wants to travel there themselves. While the life of a travel photographer seems very glamorous, it is actually a lot of hard work.

  • Passion: You love to travel the world, you are extremely organized, you are comfortable in your own company, you have strong social skills, you’re a good planner
  • Commercial Value: High
  • Longevity: Yes
  • Competition: High

Gear needed for travel photography

Travel light! You’ll only need your camera in most cases. 

If you’re a seasoned traveler, with endless creativity, flexibility and stamina, and you love to plan and organize, then travel photography just might be the type of photography for you to specialize in.


Underwater Photography

Underwater photography is any photo taken underwater. That can include vast seascapes of coral and sand, wildlife that lives in oceans and lakes, or even a fashion or artistic photoshoot in a swimming pool. So long as your gear and subject are at least partially submerged in water, it counts as underwater photography.

  • Passion: You are a SCUBA diver, water enthusiast, or have an interest in unique and unusual photographic techniques
  • Commercial Value: High in some markets, also can be sold as fine art and used for scientific research
  • Longevity: Yes
  • Competition: Low

Gear needed for underwater photography

Underwater photography requires very specialized equipment that often costs as much or more than your camera and lens. Waterproof underwater housing, underwater lighting, and red filters are often necessary. 

Shooting photos underwater takes a lot more skill than shooting them on land. However, if you’ve got the desire to share the underwater world with the rest of us, then underwater photography might be worth all the extra gear, expense, and effort.


Wedding Photography

Wedding photography is a kind of photography that specializes in capturing all the events of the day a couple gets married. It usually includes their engagement photos, wedding preparations, the ceremony, portraits of the couple and their families, and the reception. Wedding photography is one of the most popular, and most competitive, types of photography. It can be a very stressful and demanding job, but also very rewarding and lucrative for a photographer who is good at it.

  • Passion: You’re artistic, creative, you work well under pressure, you’re a people person who loves love, you’re a natural leader, and a confident photographer
  • Commercial Value: High
  • Longevity: Yes
  • Competition: Very High

Gear needed for wedding photography

It’s important to have the best equipment if you want to be a wedding photographer. In addition to your camera and a variety of lenses, you may also need a backup camera, off-camera flash, backup drives, and editing software.

If you’re a photographer who is highly skilled with a camera, creative, quick on your feet, a people person, and has a knack for customer service, then wedding photography is a type of photography that might be a good fit for you.


Wildlife Photography

Venturing out into the wild and photographing animals is the definition of wildlife photography. Documenting their habitats, their habits, their mealtimes, and playtimes in their natural environment isn’t always easy. These are wild animals who aren’t always keen to take directions from a human! A wildlife photographer must be patient, have great technical skills, possess some pretty impressive gear, and have wonderful composition techniques. Plus, they need a bit of luck, too.

types of photos - wildlife
Photo by Süheyl Burak
  • Passion: You have a passion for nature and art, you’re extremely patient, you love to travel, and you’re safety conscious.
  • Commercial Value: More value as fine art, scientific
  • Longevity: Yes
  • Competition: Yes

Gear needed for wildlife photography

If you get into wildlife photography, you’ll need a camera and a telephoto lens (the longer, the better). You’ll also want a tripod or monopod, a rain cover, and possibly even a hide to disguise your camera and yourself, depending on what you plan to photograph.

If you’re a nature lover with a passion for animals, and if you have patience and a desire to travel the world to see and photograph animals in their natural settings, then set your goals on becoming a wildlife photographer.


What’s next?

Once you’ve dipped your toes in a few different types of photography and decided which genre is right for you, the next step is to create a website so you can showcase your work.

We recommend creating your website with WordPress. Since it’s so simple to use, it remains the world’s top option for anyone looking to create an easy and attractive website. In fact, we’ve put together our top picks for the 5 Best WordPress Themes for Photographers to help get you started.

Once your site is built, you’ll be ready to create an online portfolio. That includes installing a plugin to make the most of your photography portfolio. I recommend Modula.

Brooke Arnold

Brooke Arnold is a writer and award-winning photographer specializing in cat portraits. She is an advocate for rescue animals and is best known for dressing up her cats as famous people like Bob Ross and Evel Knievel. Her biggest claim to fame, however, is being child #2 in an orange juice ad that hung in a mall in Miami at age 8.

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