Genres of Photography: 42 Directions of Photography

Let’s take a look at what genres of photography exist. Are there really so many of them and what are they?

Photography appeared in the 19th century, however, with the development of photographic technology, it quickly gained popularity. As a result, many different genres, directions and types of photography appeared, which we tried to collect in this article.

Genres of Photography: What Are Genres of Photography?

Genre is a set of content and formal features that characterize a particular direction in photography.

Photo in literal translation from Greek means photo – light, graphy – to write. As a result, it turns out to “write” the image with the help of light.

The first ever permanent image was taken in 1822 by Joseph Nicephorus Niepce. If we compare with the history of mankind, then this is quite recent.

However, for such a short time of the existence of photography, a lot of genres and directions have arisen. We tried to collect them in one place. It would not be interesting to list all the directions, so we made a breakdown by category.

And, since the site has a whole section on making money from photography, we divided them in terms of the possibility of monetization. If you try, you can monetize any genre or direction of photography.

But do not forget that some genres are easy to monetize, while others are very difficult. Therefore, we conditionally divided them into several categories: non-commercial, conditionally commercial, commercial and exotic.

Conditionally Commercial Photography Genres

Genres of Photography
Genres of Photography

In this category, we have collected genres that are very easy to monetize, since the demand for these photos is huge. Working in each of these niches, you can make good money and at the same time completely forget about the classic work for hire.

Advertising photography. A purely commercial genre that requires good skills and a high level of professionalism from the photographer.

Fashion photography is, first of all, photography of clothes and fashion brands, which are shown by photo models.

Beauty photography – close-up portraits of models, with a demonstration of professional makeup. At times he can be very artsy and creative. Such photos can often be seen on the covers of glossy magazines.

Family photography. A very popular destination in our time. Such photo sessions are most often held in studios or outdoors.

Children’s photo session. No less popular destination among parents. Such pictures allow you to preserve wonderful moments with the participation of your children.

Wedding photography. A commercial genre that requires high professionalism, quick reaction and good artistic taste from the photographer.

Portraits are one of the most popular and sought-after genres of photography.

Interior photography. A purely commercial genre that requires a good technical background from the photographer.

Subject photography. A commercial genre that is most often in demand in advertising.

Food photography. A commercial direction that requires good knowledge of the ability to use light. Such photographs are taken for advertising and restaurant menus.

Commercial Photography

Genres of Photography
Genres of Photography

In this category, we have collected genres in which you can earn money if you get a job as a full-time photographer in a magazine or organize your own training courses in these areas of photography. It will be difficult to sell such personnel on your own, therefore it is a conditionally commercial category.

Reporting is a subtype of photojournalism, which includes a story through photographs about current events.

The documentary genre follows from the reportage genre, with the only difference that there is no time limit.

Photographing of wild animals. This genre is most often used by photographers who shoot for nature magazines. They constantly go on long journeys and try to show all the beauty of the wild nature in their photographs.

Underwater photography. A genre that appeared relatively recently, but very quickly gains popularity among both amateurs and professionals.

Nude – a nude photo session using artistic effects of the play of light and shadow.

Boudoir is a genre very close to nude. In it, everything is not so frank, and the emphasis is on underwear and the surrounding luxury atmosphere.

Architectural photography. A genre in which photographs of houses, streets and beautiful architecture are taken.

Major Genres of Non-Commercial Photography

Genres of Photography
Genres of Photography

Non-commercial photography includes genres that produce very beautiful photographs, but the commercial demand for them is very low. It is the artistic part that is valued here, historical or they have some other value (for example, scientific).

Landscape photography is one of the most common and accessible genres. Includes photography of natural landscapes.

Street photography – shooting people, animals and all kinds of objects right on the street.

Urban photography follows from street photography, but all the events in the frame take place against the backdrop of urban architecture.

Black and white photography. A very popular genre among lovers and connoisseurs to remember how photography began. If you want to give your photos a more artistic look, edit them in black and white.

Macro photography. Thanks to her, we can observe micro worlds as under a microscope. Sometimes such shots are very surprising.

Micrograph. Shots actually taken through a microscope. There are two types: optical and digital photography.

Travel photography. With finances, it’s very easy to travel these days and take a lot of interesting pictures. This genre is very popular now among amateur photographers.

Night photography. Sometimes the pictures of the night sky are very impressive. This trend is popular with enthusiast photographers.

Astro photography. A very narrow niche, so far only accessible to observatories, telescopes and enthusiasts with very expensive telescopes.

Aerial photography. Photos taken from the air using aircraft or from an aircraft.

Still life. This is a photographing of objects decorated in a composition.

Photo hunting. The subject of photography in this genre is wild animals in their natural habitat.

Spotting. Photographing of aircraft with registration of numbers and tracking their movement at different aerodromes. In other words, airplane photography. There is also trainspotting (tracking trains), shipping spotting (tracking ships), birdwatching (tracking different types of birds).

Exotic Genres and Directions

Genres of Photography
Genres of Photography

Rare areas of photography, but worthy of attention. Some of them are almost extinct, and some are just emerging.

Mobilography. Photos are taken in it using micro cameras built into equipment or mobile phones. In this genre, not quality is appreciated, but the objects shown in the photo.

Lomography. Another unusual direction. Used in film photography. The most important thing in it is to take pictures for the sake of the process itself. The quality of the pictures is generally not evaluated.

Posthumous photography. It was in vogue at the end of the 19th century.

Luminography. Painting with light in dark space. To do this, use a flashlight, as well as any other types of light sources. Such photographs are taken with a long exposure.

Pictorial photography. This genre was popular in the early 20th century. Its peculiarity was the use of special filters that made photos look like painting.

Pinhole photography. A very exotic genre. Photos are taken with the lens removed. That is, completely without him. To do this, a tube with a plug with a diameter of up to one centimeter is put on the bayonet. As a result, the pictures are very unusual.

Other Types of Photography

Genres of Photography
Genres of Photography

The article would be incomplete without mentioning some of the formats. It is difficult to call them genres, since they are closer to the formats and methods of capturing images. Although, we will not say so unequivocally.

Panoramic photography. This format is characterized by large horizontal viewing angles. Typically, these are photographs that are at least twice as long as the regular format.

Plein-air photography. All outdoor photography is called “in the open air”. The term passed into photography from painting.

Reproduction. This term is called the reproduction of images using photography.

Identikit. Drawing up a portrait of a person from parts (blanks). Initially, photographic equipment was used for this, which was then replaced by computer photographs.

HDR. Enhanced dynamic range in still images. Such frames look like screenshots from a computer simulation, since they have practically no shaded areas.

Medium format. This term is applied to photographic footage larger than the standard film size, but less than nine by twelve centimeters. It appeared at the end of the 19th century, however, today it is experiencing a new round of popularity.

You may also like to read: Fashion Photography: Discover the Secrets to Success in Fashion Photography


We have collected almost all genres of photography. Perhaps you missed something. There are so many genres and directions of photography that it is very easy to miss some of them.

If we have forgotten about any genre of photography, write in the comments. Then in one of the following articles, we will tell about it in more detail.

Scroll to Top