Photography Glossary

Photographic work can be divided into dozens of categories, many with lots of sub-categories. The following list describes some common types of photography.

  • Aerial From a plane, helicopter, balloon or other airborne device.
  • Adventure, Action Adventure sports, daring feats, etc.
  • Amateur Any type of photography practiced by non-professionals.
  • Animal, Pet Pets and their relationships with humans. Note that the human content is often as important as the animal.
  • Architecture, Real Estate The art of making property appear attractive. Often involves panoramic photography.
  • Artistic Photography in which creative composition is the goal.
  • Astrophotography Space photography, through a telescope.
  • Aura A controversial type of photography which some claim can photograph a person’s aura. Often confused with Kirlian photography.Processed with VSCOcam
  • Black & White Not simply photography without colour, black and white photography explores shapes, tones and textures. Shadows and highlights become much more important.
  • Camera Phone “Convenience” photography using a mobile phone’s built-in camera. While not the best quality, camera phones have opened a new world of spontaneous, on-the-spot photo opportunities.
  • Commercial Product shots, advertising, etc.
  • Digiscoping Photography through a telescope or binoculars.
  • Documentary Journalism, Events, Historical, Political, etc.
  • Event Concerts, parties, festivals, weddings, etc.
  • Forensic Police and legal photography.
  • Infrared Photography in which the recording medium is sensitive to infrared light rather than the normal visible light spectrum.
  • Large Format For use on posters, billboards, etc.
  • Kirlian A type of contact print photography in which an object touching a photographic plate is connected to a high voltage source, creating an aura-like image. Often confused with aura photography.
  • Macro The art of photographing very small and/or close-up objects.
  • Medical Specialized photography for clinical purposes, i.e. to help reveal and diagnose illness.
  • Microscopic Any technique for photographing objects too small to be visible to humans.
  • Modeling Photographing objects to be converted into 3D models.
  • Nature Landscapes, animals, plants, sea, etc.
  • Night Any technique used to capture images at night. Often includes infrared photography.
  • Panoramic Views of wide areas, up to complete 360° panoramas.
  • Paranormal Ghosts, unexplained phenomena, etc.
  • People Candid, Family, Fashion, Glamour, Passports & Visas, Portrait, Pregnancy, School, Sports, Wedding
  • Pinhole Uses the most basic type of camera possible — a box with a tiny hole to let light in.
  • Scenic Landscape, Cityscape
  • Satellite Views of Earth from orbit.
  • Scientific Any specialized photography used for scientific endeavour, e.g. electron microscopy photographs, medical photography, astrophotography, etc.
  • Sports The specialized art of shooting people engaged in sports, games and adventure activities.
  • Stereoscopic (3-D) Involves taking two photos simultaneously to simulate 3-D vision.
  • Stock Photographs taken for distribution to other people, for use in their projects. These photos tend to be quite generic, e.g. people working, landscapes, places, etc.
    Time-lapse Photographs with a very long exposure, used to illustrate something happening over time. A popular example is a street at night with car lights blurred into long lines.
  • Travel Photography to showcase locations, illustrate travel literature, etc.
  • Ultraviolet Photography in which the recording medium is sensitive to ultraviolet light rather than the normal visible light spectrum.
  • Urban, Industrial Emphasizing urban environments.
  • Water,Underwater Any type of photography taken under water with a water-tight camera housing.
Source: Media College
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