Are You Confused About Photography Styles?

by | Technical


What is the difference between photography styles and types of photography? Many times I think this can be confusing. If you look up photography styles, you will often find landscape, portraits, family…etc. But those are really types of photography, not so much photography styles. Photography style is more of the personal touch of “flair” that the photographer gives the specific type of photography that they shoot. A way in which they set up the shot, are they a more candid or traditional shooter?

Photography style is what drives the emotion in the photo. Is it light and airy, dark and moody, black and white? And your photography style will more than likely change over your career as a photographer.
Part of finding your photography style is understanding and “dabbling” in a few different types of photography, narrowing your niche down and then defining your style. Often the creative and technical skills required for one are needed for others as well.

I’ve put together some interesting photography types and the photography styles that often go with them for you to think about and try out.

Family Photography

The first photography type that I want to talk about is family photography. This one is pretty self-explanatory. It can be posed or unposed, but the main goal is to create images that will stand the test of time and show the relationship between the people you are shooting. You want to make sure that you capture the family’s interaction, the joy of being together, and love for one another. When specializing in family photography, you are in charge of documenting the family’s lives.

Often with family photography, the style is clean, natural, and with warm color temperatures. This is a classic look that will stand the test of time.

Portrait Photography

Portrait photography is a photography type that captures people’s expressions and features and is one of the most recognized types of photography. Portrait photography aims to create a connection between your subject and the viewer. There is no better feeling than to have your subject or someone they know say…” wow, you captured their personality.” It is a gratifying feeling, and learning how to do this is key to becoming a better portrait photographer. 

Portrait photography typically is known for a few photography styles…clean and natural or often black and white, and sometimes the vintage photography style is used. Like the clean and natural style, the black and white style is again timeless and makes the details in the photo stand out, whereas the vintage style gives the image a more dramatic effect.

Landscape Photography

Photography Styles

Landscape photography involves photography of natural features of land, sky and waters at a distance. Essentially landscape photography is capturing and setting a mood of a location. The goal as a landscape photographer is to capture the beauty of your location in a way that resonates with the viewer and makes them want to go there!

There are numerous ways to add your photography style to your landscapes. Using a wide lens to show as much of the area as possible vs a macro lens to show the details. Using the light in ways to create a dramatic mood vs a more peaceful mood. Each choice creates a different style for your image.

Street or Candid Photography

With candid photography, you blend into the background and tell the story of what is happening. This type of photography is unscripted, unplanned, and unposed. Wikipedia defines candid photography as having the “crucial factor of the absence of posing.” The goal of the candid photographer is to capture the unplanned moments of the subjects. It is void of direction, and you, as the photographer, want to develop the ability to notice others and their actions but yet to go unnoticed yourself.

Often, with street or candid photography, the photographer decides not to use any style to influence the image but to let the image stand alone. Other times black and white is used to create drama in the shot.  

Baby Photography

Baby photography is a very specialized type of photography. It captures from birth through the first year of life and often includes pregnancy, childbirth and newborn photos. When specializing in baby photography, you as the photographer must remember that safety is crucial in your settings.

Once again, with baby photography, you will see the same style as with family photos. The style is clean, natural, and with warm color temperatures. This is a classic look that will stand the test of time. You will often see a light and airy, dreamy look.

Sports Photography

Sports photographers capture the action, athletes and events surrounding a sporting event. As a sports photographer, you have little control over your subjects’ surroundings, backgrounds, poses, or expressions. You must move fast and have complete control and understanding of your equipment and move fast.

You do not want to see dull, drab sports photos. The photography style that is usually used in sports photography is strong, bright colors and crisp, clear images.

Fashion Photography

Fashion photography focuses on capturing clothing, items and accessories displayed in fashion magazines or billboards. It is a fast-paced type of photograph, and fashion photographers often mix different photography styles in their shots: portrait, street, etc and is the photography styles often used in fashion photography vary dependent on the mood that is meant to come across. Sometimes light and airy, sometimes bold and bright and other times black and white.

Architectural Photography

Architectural photography is the art of photographing buildings either inside or out. When shooting architectural photography, you want to capture the true representation of the structure. Just as you would with any other type of photography, you want to make your subject appealing to the viewer. You do not want the image to be cold and harsh so the use of light in your photography style is important.

Wedding Photography

Photography Styles

This photography type is pretty self-explanatory and has many photography styles to go along with it. Wedding photographers capture all of the special day’s events, from the getting ready of the bride to the final dances of the evening. The emotions and relationships between people are essential in wedding photography. It is more time consuming than a portrait or family photographer and, depending on the size of the event, often requires a second shooter. Wedding photography styles are entirely dependent on the client and their wishes. Light and airy, dark and moody or black and white, the photography styles have a large range.

Discovering what type of photography you want to shoot and finding your photography style takes time and effort. You need to shoot every day, and you need to shoot intentionally. Knowing how to properly use your camera, the rules of photography, and how to use light to create amazing images is key no matter what photography style or styles you choose. If you are interested in understanding your camera and finding your photography style check out The Beginners Photography Essentials Program today.

Lifestyle Photographer & Mentor

Hi, I’m Dena, a natural light lifestyle photographer with 20+ years of experience capturing other people’s memories and teaching photographers how to understand and easily use their cameras.

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