documentary photography
experimental photography

This website is about (contemporary fine art) photography. But what is photography and what types of photography are there?

Photography is the art, application and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of an image sensor, or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film. (Wikipedia)

Photographs are images produced by the action of light on a light-sensitive material.

The word photography comes from two old Greek words "photos" meaning light and "graph" meaning to draw.  So photograph literally means drawing with light, or a drawing made with light. 

There are plenty of different types of photography. Some of them are well known and their names are self-explanatory like portrait photography, landscape photography, travel photography, architecture photography, night photography fashion photography or stillive photography.
Other types of photography might need an explanation.

Below, we cover some types of art photography, with a brief description of each (in alphabetical order):

Abstract Photography

Abstract photography is a means of depicting a visual image that does not have an immediate association with the object world and that has been created through the use of photographic equipment, processes or materials. (Wikipedia)
Abstract photographs can also also be conceptual, concrete or experimental photographs. Abstract photographs often show an impression without actually providing a representational image of the object or scene.

Aerial photography

Aerial photography (or airborne photography / imagery) is the shooting of photographs from an aircraft or other flying object. It requires access to a helicopter, plane, balloon, blimp, kite or other airborne objects, such as a drone. Because they are less expensive, most photographers nowadays prefer unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly referred to as drones, instead of helicopters or airplanes.

Astro Photography

Astrophotography means taking photos of astronomical objects like stars, planets, and meteors or events like lunar or solar eclipses and other phenomena or areas of the nightsky. Astrophotographers can use both film and digital cameras with long-time exposure functions to capture these types of photographs.

Black and White Photography

Black and White Photography (B&W) doesn´t mean there is only black and white in the image. There can also be a grayscale. Some of these photographs can also have shades of color, like sepia or blue. Black and White Photography can either be done by using a black and white film, through a camera setting or by editing a color image afterward. In the early days of photpgraphy almost all images captured were either black and white or varying shades of sepia. In our days a B&W photograph is often used to show an aesthetic, artistic look.

Candid Photography

Photographs captured without creating a posed appearance. Candid photography is a type of photography that tries to capture people or things in a natural style by removing the posed aspect of the equation. Candid photographersare taking shots of people in motion, spontaneously. A subset of candid photography is secret photography when subjects are totally unaware of their image being taken.

Composite Photography

Composite Photography is also called compositing or photomontage. Photographs created by combining multiple images to create one single composite image. This requires post-processing and editing of two or more shots. Compositing is the combining of visual elements from separate sources into single images, often to create the illusion that all those elements are parts of the same scene.This technique can be used to create unique, artistic and editorial images.

Conceptual photography

This type of photography is very important in the art sector. Conceptual photography is about ideas, symbols and themes. Conceptual photography could be described as photography that shows or illustrates an idea. The term "conceptual photography" was used since the 1960s, coinciding with the early explorations of Conceptual Art. The range of conceptual photography has diversified extremely with the availability of photo-editing software.
The term is used to describe either a methodology or a genre. As a methodology conceptual photography is a type of photography that is staged to represent an idea. Used as a genre the term refers to the use of photography in Conceptual Art or in contemporary art photography.

Contemporary photography

Literally the expression "contemporary photography" means photography from the present time, or better from the same period of time we are having now. And literally "contemporary photography" means all kind of photography, but usually the term is used for fine art photography.

(Learn more about contemporary photography and fine art photography)

Documentary photography

Documentary photography is a popular form of photography used to chronicle events or environments as well as everyday life. Documentary photography captures images of real life, often in series. Documentary photography is often considered to be a part of photojournalism but today it is often considered as fine art photography too.

Double Exposure / Multi Exposure

Multi Exposure Photography merges two ore more images into one. This can be done with the camera, in the darkroom or with editing software like Photoshop. Photography purists claim it's not a true double exposure if it's not captured on film.

Editorial photography

Editorial photography (or Photojournalism) is usually used in newspapers and magazines.
It is a form of journalism that employs images in order to tell a news story. Editorial photography can cover nearly every aspect of life and every style or type of photography, like documentary photography, fashion photography, street photography, people photography and more.

Experimental photography

Sometimes also called bstract photography, sometimes called non-objective photography. very important in the fine art photography sector. Experimental photography means using a camera or post-processing in a non-traditional way - or even not to use a camera (cameraless photography). A photographer who does experimental photography uses techniques that are not common with the usual photography or digital photography.
Experimental photography can be divided into different sub-types. If there is no recognitable motive on the photograph it is also called abstract photography or concrete photography.

Film Photography

Film photography dates back to the late 1800s. Until the early 21st century, film photography was the usual form of photography. Photographic film is a strip or sheet of transparent plastic film base coated on one side with a gelatin emulsion containing microscopically small light-sensitive silver halide crystals. Black-and-white photographic film has usually one layer of silver halide crystals. When the exposed silver halide grains are developed, the silver halide crystals are converted to metallic silver, which blocks light and appears as the black part of the film negative.
35mm color film uses multiple layers and filters to capture an image that, once exposed or developed, produces a color photo. A negative image on film is traditionally used to photographically create a positive image on a paper base, known as a print, either by using an enlarger or by contact printing.
A special form of film photography are instant cameras like polaroid.
Today most photographers have moved to digital formats. But film photography is not dead.

Fine art photography

The main difference between "regular" photography and "fine art photography" is, that Fine-art photography is photography created in line with the vision of the photographer as artist. It took a long time for photography to be regarded as an art. In most countries as recently as 1960, photography was not really recognised as a Fine Art.
Fine art photographs are often framed and displayed as art on walls in the same way an other artwork would be. Fine art photography overlaps with other genres of photography such as documentary photography, fashion photography, people photography or architecture photography.

(learn more about fine art photography and contemporary photography)

Infrared Photography

Creates images with a very special look. In infrared photography, the film or camera sensor used is sensitive to infrared light.
To capture infrared images, film or image sensors sensitive to infrared light are needed. They often feature dark skies, bright tree leaves and atmospheric haze.

Long Exposure Photography

Long Exposure Photography is also known as time exposure or slow-shutter photography. Only bright objects leave visible trails, whereas dark objects usually disappear. Night photography often uses long exposure to capture star trails or other celestial objects. This technique can also be used for "light painting" with a flashlight.

Macro Photography

Macro photography captures extreme close-ups of often very small subjects or small details of larger subjects. Macro photography requires specialized lenses. Many modern cameras have "Macro" functions.

Minimalist photography

Minimalist photography (or Minimal photography) captures a scene using limited, or minimal, elements. It is a kind of photography that is distinguished by extreme simplicity. Usually it focuses on a small number of objects and a restricted quantity of colors in the (simple) composition. Minimalist artists focus on the idea of simplicity and plainness in their work.
This artistic style can be summoned by the quote, "less is more. The photographers achieve this effect by casting aside all the unnecessary components in creating their works. Minimalist photography can also be Conceptual photography when it shows an idea.
Minimalist photographers often show how powerful simplicity can be.

Street Photography

Sometimes also called urban photography or candid photography (see above).
Street Photography captures scenes in public places, particularly on the streets. But street photography does not necessitate the presence of a street or even the urban environment. Most of these photographs are usually unstaged and shot spontaneously. Closely linked with street Photography is urban photography, in which photographers capture street scenes in city settings.