Even if you’ve just chosen photography as a hobby, there’s a genre for every photographer’s tastes and abilities. And almost every genre has several subgenres.
Many amateur photographers don’t know which genre is “right” 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, read this roundup of photography genres and see what piques your interest. Then grab your camera and give it your best shot.
1. Portrait Photography
It is one of the most widespread photographic genres. As soon as you get your first camera, a friend or relative will ask you to take a picture of it. 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 it shouldn’t be too difficult. Also, it gives you the opportunity to learn the basics of photography, such as aperture, focus, ISO, etc.
If you want more dynamic shots, you can focus on candid photography to capture the raw emotions of your subjects when taking spontaneous photos. The genre of portrait photography also includes family, glamour, and pet photography, so there are plenty of options to choose from.
2. Landscape Photography
If you’re an adventurer and often set up camp in breathtaking locations, bring your camera on your next trip.
Landscape photography is one of the most popular and beloved photography genres for beginners because it focuses on capturing the feeling of being outdoors. You want viewers to feel like they were transported to the same place you were when you took the photo.
Contrary to popular belief, landscape photography does not need to have a horizontal format. The elements of each setting 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, because smartphone cameras aren’t good enough if you want crisp nature shots.
3. Food photography
Has a photo of food ever made you hungry? If so, you have already experienced the purpose of this genre.
As people started going out less and using delivery services more, restaurants adapted. Every restaurant, blogger, or casual cook has photos of their kitchen on social media. If you’re a foodie, this might be your genre.
In general, you shouldn’t use flash or lights when photographing food because it has multiple textures and you can get weird shadows. Instead, use natural light and move around the plate to find the best angle for the dish.
For example, pizzas and salads will look best from above, burgers and pancakes will look best from a right angle, and cocktails will look best from a 45 degree angle.
4. Product Photography
Product photography is similar to food photography; you capture an element in a way that makes it look as flattering as possible. If you are interested in both advertising and photography, this genre is for you.
Most of the time, business owners want the product to be captured against a plain background to separate it from any possible distractions. Once you find the right camera and lighting settings, you need to shoot from multiple angles to show off all of the product’s features.
You will also need a tripod, light supports and a stable surface to place the product.
5. Event Photography
Event photography focuses on taking high quality photos at personal or professional events.
This genre requires you to have some experience as a photographer, as you will need to take pre-arranged or spontaneous photos of places, people, or any props involved in the event. You will need to document the event, but also include artistic merit.
As with all of the photography genres we’ve included in our list, you can work your way up to high-paying clients. You can start taking pictures at your best friend’s wedding and eventually become a photographer for corporate events or fancy galas.
6. Street Photography
If you want to capture a multitude of different subjects, street photography might be the right choice for you. As you walk through the city, you can choose a working man or an old building overgrown with nature as your subject.
This genre requires the photographer to be very patient and have social skills in order to approach strangers and take their shots. We have some tips for overcoming your fear of street photography.
In general, street photographers prefer smaller bodies and lenses. Besides the convenience of walking with a lighter setup, the camera is not so obvious, so it helps them blend into the environment to capture spontaneous images.
7. Still life photography
When you think of 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 try still life, you have to be creative. What makes the still life genre difficult is that you usually have to work with everyday, boring subjects and find a way to make them interesting.
A mountain landscape is far more impressive than a bowl of fruit, and that’s the challenge of still life photography; transform the ordinary into something extraordinary and exciting.
For a beginner, still life has the advantage of taking all the time necessary to experiment with framing, lights and textures, since your subject is inanimate.
8. Abstract Photography
You could say that abstract photography is the rebel of photographic genres because it goes against many rules of photography. This is what gives abstract photographers great freedom when it comes to expressing their artistic views.
By using movement, light, and perspective, abstract photographers reveal details that are typically overlooked by most people. This includes mind-bending compositions that usually hold viewers’ attention for a long time as they try to decipher the image.
The details should slowly reveal themselves to the public and lead them to conclude that appearances can be deceiving. This can be hard to pull off, but art is subjective after all, so you have a ton of creative freedom with this genre.
What kind of photography suits you best?
You will probably choose a genre of photography that matches your personality. If you are a people person, portrait or street photography may be the right choice. If you are also interested in marketing, you can try food or product photography. And for the adventurous, try landscape photography.
No matter what you choose, there is no rule that says you have to stick to it; you can always try a new kind of photography. If you want to jump on the next photography trend, there are plenty of social media platforms where you can check out other photographers’ work.