Which type of photography should I master? That is probably the most challenging decision to make when you are starting your pursuit of photography as a career. When you think of all of the various subjects there are to capture, and all of the different ways to create the image, the field of photography really is dynamic and varied. There is something for everyone in photography, and the types of photography jobs are just as exciting.
We have compiled the most popular genres of photography. Of course, this list is not all-inclusive, since there are many careers made in various niches within our industry. And there are also many careers that are not related directly to photography that require good photographic skills to complete. In today’s social media connected world, many workers are taking photographs and sharing their experiences as part of their jobs.
#1 – Wedding Photography
The first type of photography job involves weddings and events. Many people go their entire lives and only pay for professional photography once, but nearly everyone hires a photographer for their wedding.
As a job, being a wedding photographer involves an exciting mix of portraiture and event photography in a wide variety of settings and groups. Wedding photography is pretty intense, with an element of getting the best shot you can on the first try and not really getting a second chance in some situations. Wedding photographers have to be quick on their feet, moving around during the reception and ceremony, and there are substantial sales and customer service components to their jobs. They also have to be adaptable, ready to shoot outdoors on a sunny day and indoors for dimly lit receptions and dances. Couples will expect the direction from the photographer for posing shots and settings, so the photographer must be confident and communicate well with the bride and groom.
The great wedding photographers are the ones who love their jobs. Many beginning photographers start shooting weddings because, as they say, “that’s where the money is.” But this mindset will ultimately lead to a disappointing business model if the photographer’s heart isn’t in their work.
#2 – Event Photography
In the same vein, event photography is a dynamic and fast-paced way to make a buck with your camera. Whether your beat is corporate events or wild and crazy rock concerts, event photographers work in a variety of settings. Event photography styles often involve a mixture of photojournalistic documentary work and portraiture. Some organizations use their event photos for publicity purposes, while other use party photos as souvenirs or keepsakes.
#3 – Portrait Photography
Portraiture is one of the most common types of photographer that we think of when we consider career options. The kinds of photography that can be included in portraits is astounding. Retail customers seek out portrait photographers for every phase of life: maternity and newborns, school photos, senior photos, and general family photos. Corporate portraits are also commonly needed as employees update their headshots for websites and publicity materials. Furthermore, aspiring and professional models are in constant need of updated portfolios with a catalog of current shots to market themselves for agencies and jobs.
Portrait photography is a great place to start out as a photographer. Building a great portfolio of quality shots can lead to more business. It can often lead to more work for families and weddings as word of mouth marketing does its magic. It can also lead to fashion and product photography gigs.
#4 – Product Photography
More specific than working in advertising, product photography is a great specialization. Think about all of the products you have recently shopped for: everything needs to be photographed. The photos are used for online and print catalogs, as well as for labels and packaging. Most product photography is studio based, with careful control of backgrounds, shadows, and lighting. Studio rentals can be fairly expensive so consider building a home photography studio on a budget.
Product photography covers a lot of ground. Food photography is a specialized niche, and restaurants need to advertise their meals and create their menus. Jewelry is another favorite type of product photography since this requires the perfect balance of light and preparation. While some product shoots might involve models, many times you will be working solo in a studio doing still life photographs of small objects.
#5 – Fine Art Photography
Of all of the types of photography, this is the one with no rules. Fine art photographers create art. They display their work in galleries and at art shows, and generally, they sell a finished, framed print product to their customers. Fine art photography can be of any subject at all, but landscape and portrait artists are probably the most common. Fine art images are about capturing emotional responses and communicating with the audience.