Like any other skills, photography has specific fields that require unique skill sets. If you are interested in being a professional, make sure to choose the right types of photography. Taking pictures of wild animals or landscapes is different from photographing fashion models or battles.
A professional photographer may be able to shoot a wide range of objects. However, he or she should focus on a few categories to develop. Here are types of photography with potentials in professional fields.
Portraiture, or “portrait”, is a broad term for people photography. This is one of the most popular types of photography, encompassing subjects such as fine arts, entertainments, journalistic stories, and documentations. The goal of this photography is to capture personality, emotions, physical features, and untold stories.
Portrait photography is accessible for many people. You can start with one prime lens, flash, and a decent camera.
Famous examples: Annie Leibovitz, Steve McCurry, Dorothea Lange.
Fashion photography is one of the most distinctive types of photography. This skill requires the ability to follow the fashion industry’s fast-paced trends. A photographer must be able to capture the vision of the designer through his or her photos. A fashion photographer must also follow fashion trends and understand the industry.
During the era of Instagram, a professional fashion photographer must understand social media landscape. You can showcase your works at social media, focusing the promotion on general or niche fashion.
Famous examples: Sebastian Kim, Horst Diekgerdes, Andrew G. Hobbs.
Also known as landscape photography, scenic photography focuses on the natural beauty of landscapes. The scale can be grand or intimate, capturing more intimate parts of the scenery. Anyone can start doing scenic photography and develop his or her skills, but it requires the ability to capture special moments and switch between filters.
There are more specific types of photography when it comes to landscape. Many people love focusing on the storm, desert, forest, mountain, beach, or plain.
Famous examples: Ansel Adams, Nadav Kander, Sebastiao Salgado.
Wildlife is one of the most interesting and challenging types of photography. It requires the photographer to be patient, quick, creative, and resourceful. Wildlife photography also requires you to learn about your subjects better, so you can predict and capture golden moments.
Many wildlife photographers don’t limit themselves on one species. However, some decide to have specifications, such as butterflies, birds, elephants, or large canines. You can also focus on animals in specific regions or countries.
Famous examples: Jon Cornforth, Sudhir Shivaram, Brian Skerry
Underwater photography is one of the most challenging types of photography. It is often grouped into a separate category from landscape and wildlife, because there are multiple skills to have. You must be able to dive, photograph in a challenging environment, chasing objects when the element is constraining your movements, and make a decision under pressure.
If you want to try underwater photography, get ready to spend money on diving gears, special photography equipment, and diving license. However, thanks to the highly-specialized requirements, you have good potentials to land jobs or acknowledgment.
Famous examples: David Doubilet, Jill Heinerth, Stephen Frink.
Travel photography is a broad category, which can overlap with people, landscape, street, or food photography. However, the essence of this photography is to capture life in other areas in the world, showcasing unique sceneries and activities. Professional photographers are more than “avid Instagram users”. They use serious gears to capture various golden moments and striking images.
Famous examples: Mattia Passarini, Drew Hopper, John Huba.
Looking for more commercial angles in your career? Try advertisement photography. This is one of the most developing types of photography, because there are trend factors to consider. You often deal with manufacturers, business owners, and brands. Your job is to capture the spirit and message of the brand/business in your photos.
Advertisement photography also requires specific skill sets. High-end products need different requirements from sportswear or traveling gears, for example. This photography often overlaps with commercial, still-life, and product photography.
Famous examples: Erik Almas, Fabrizio Cestari, Tim Tadder.
Astrophotography is often lumped with landscape photography, but the former requires specific skill sets and gears. You must have good skills in post-processing and exposure. You must also have a specific camera and lenses types. For a more accessible start, try doing “astrolandscape”, which is a category where celestial objects meet earth’s landscape.
Famous examples: Robert Gendler, Robert Jay GaBany, Luc Perrott.
Sports photography is often lumped with an event or people photography, but professional fields require specific skills. Sports photography often involves fast movements and sudden moments that need to be captured quickly. You must have gears and skills for autofocus, timing, and high shutter speed.
Famous examples: John G. Zimmerman, Bob Martin, Andrew D. Bernstein.
Aside from these categories, you can try focusing on more specific fields, such as street, pets, or wedding photos. Honing your skills and investing in gears are necessities in all types of photography fields. Make sure you find your true passion before spending time, energy, and money for the work preparations.