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Most Popular Photography Techniques

Updated on June 26, 2018
LuisEGonzalez profile image

I enjoy photography and have been doing so professionally and independently for over 30 years.


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Keep in mind that this list of techniques or themes has a subcategory for each technique. For example; portrait photography has several subcategories like children portraits, female portraits, male portraits, formal portraits, candid portraits, nude portraits and group portraits.

Nature photography has the subcategories of landscapes, animals, insects, weather, macros, in the zoo, and in the wild.

Fine art photography also carries its own subcategories such a still life, black and white, and abstracts.

Once you browse over the list then you may consider trying each until you find one that has a particular appeal to you or maybe even several.

Whatever technique you decide appeals to you, the best advice is to try your hardest and always approach each shoot with the utmost professionalism and attention to detail.

The list follows no special order or mindset. It is just to offer suggestions as to what styles to follow depending on your style of shooting.

I have been writing about many types, techniques and styles of photography for some time now and I thought that for most amateurs a list of the most popular photographic techniques would serve to inspire some and inform others.

There are many photography techniques or as many call them styles.

There are also just as many themes and as I have pointed out on numerous occasions almost anything worth being photographed has been photographed already.

It is up to the photographer to put the skills, the talent and the creativity to the test and capture images of whatever the subject of choice is, in a new and refreshing way.

Each photograph must in some way entice viewers not only to look at a photograph but to dwell on it while they get to feel something simply by looking at the photograph.

If the image does not in one way or another provoke a feeling, a reaction or even a smile, then the photograph is probably not worth looking at.

This is a struggle that many photographers face each and every time that they pick up the camera and embark upon a photographic project.

Black and white photography; the birth of photography started with black and whites. Very useful for landscapes and when you want to create a sense or a feeling or romanticism or nostalgia.

High speed photography; is the technique of capturing images of vary fast movement and it usually involves very specialize equipment such as sound triggers and strove lights. The technique is capable of freezing a water drop as it splashes, a balloon bursts or even a bullet in mid flight. Very useful for some product photography and scientific work.

Tilt Shift photography; is the use of camera movements on camera formats, and sometimes specifically refers to the use of tilt for selective focus and lenses. It most usual application is to capture real life scenes and making them appear as miniatures.

Motion Blur photography; used for creating a sens of movement. The main subject is usually frozen while the rest of the elements show as a blur. However, the majority of pictures show the main subject in some sort of state of blur, thus giving the viewer a sense of movement and speed in a static two dimensional medium.

Previous; Black and white. Following;Tilt shift, High Speed and Motion Blur

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Infrared photography: Showing a subject in an infra red light not seen by the naked eye. This style is most often reserved for scientific use and for fine art pieces. Due to digital photographic advances this is easily accomplished simply by adjusting the camera settings.

Night photography; usually produces images that are beautiful since color and light are the dominating elements. Although you need to use a tripod or a very fast ISO, and a long shutter speed the results are worth it.

Macro photography; involves capturing images of subjects at very close range. Usually reserved at its conception for scientific uses, the technique has evolved into an art form showing pictures of small subjects or small parts of individual subjects at magnifications which the human eye could not see without the aid of a macro lens.

This technique can produce some of the most beautiful photographs that anyone can see and it can turn an otherwise mundane subject into a surreal, interesting and beautifully captured scene. Very adaptable for fine art images.

High Dynamic Range photography (H.D.R); is a method used in photography to capture a greater dynamic range between the lightest and darkest areas of a subject. This technique usually gives a truer representation and more accurate showing of the colors in their highest intensity levels.

The technique takes multiple photos at different exposure levels and intelligently combines them to produce an image that is representative in both dark and bright areas. Can be done in black and white or color. Both mediums produce great effects.

Infra-Red, Night, Macro and HDR photography

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Panorama (panoramic); used to make large images and mostly of landscapes. It usually takes a specialized lens although you can do it with most other gear by carefully re positioning your camera in relation to the subject. Very useful for travel publications. Digital cameras intelligently take several pictures and stitches them together to form the main photograph.

Portrait photography; Most popular technique as photographing people is very popular at parties, for weddings for birthdays and we like seeing ourselves in pictures. However mostly used in self business like a studio portrait. Like many other techniques it has it share of subcategories like children portraits.

Abstract photography; images that do not necessarily reveal the complete subject and are chosen for their color or ability to elicit a reaction. Macros are great for abstract photography. Mostly used in fine art presentations.

Bokeh photography; simple yet pleasing images that are characteristically lacking in complexity and feature out of focus highlights that typically compliment a main subject.

Panorama, Portrait, Abstract and Bokeh

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CC BY-SA 2.5 | Source
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(CC BY 2.0 | Source
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Writing with Light: used in night shots or in a dark studio. The shutter is set for a long exposure with the light source used as the only source of illumination and the camera records the movement of the light.

Reversing the lens: using attachment rings, you reverse the lens (front is back and back is front). This in essence allows you to take super close ups since the lens now acts much like a microscope. Note: This technique effectively disables all automatic functions in the camera such as automatic focus. A similar effect can be accomplished by attaching extension tubes (hollow tubes that increase the distance of the back of the lens to the camera body)

Soft Focus photography; the soft focus effect or softening of a photograph, is achieved by using a special lens or a filter which produces soft outlines in a slightly blurred image that still maintains sharp edges. This technique is often called the dreamy effect. It is mainly use d for softening portraits for wedding photography and when photographing babies. Very flattering when used in close up portraits.

Fish Eye: using a lens with an 180 degree field of vision the scenes result in very unusual perspectives which are usually sharp in the center and slightly blurred as the view gets farther from the center. These lens are called fish eyes and almost every location that sells photo equipment has them. The typical size for a fish eye lens is about 8mm.

Writing with light, Lens reversal, Soft Focus and Fish eye

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(CC BY 2.0
(CC BY 2.0 | Source

Pin Hole; this technique is simple and does not require any special equipment. Simply take a shoe box, make a pin hole on one side, tape a piece of film to the opposite end of the box (must be done in total darkness). Keep the pin hole closed until you are ready to expose the film to light, expose the box to light for about one minute, cover the pin hole and remove the film, cover the exposed film (the last two steps must be done in total darkness) and take it to be developed.

Explain to the lab what it is that you have done. Aberrations are typical so this is mainly for demonstrations purposes although some have gotten it down to a science and produce really nice examples.

A needle is great for the actual pin hole construction. A regular camera can be used but you have to make the lens cover and make a pinhole in the center.

The plastic cover that comes with the camera body works great.

Lomo photography; renders colors in over saturated hues and high contrasts. There is the possibility of other flaws such as errand light but the shots can produce surreal scenes. A specialized Lomo lens is required.

Burst Zoom effect; using a slow shutter speed focus on a central subject and manually zoom in. The use of a tripod is advised. The technique creates outward blurred color streaks or black and white depending on your chosen medium.

Pinhole, Lomo and Burst Zoom

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(CC BY 2.0 | Source
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CC BY-SA 2.0 | Source

Other tips and techniques

Off course there are many other techniques but these are the most popular ones and other techniques are in reality themes or just ideas for photographing specific subjects.

One such technique is lol cat and many others involving heavy use of a digital editing program. Although many of these techniques will greatly benefit from some digital touch ups , they do not necessarily require digital editing.

Another technique not covered here is afocal photography where the lens is mounted on another imaging capturing device such as a telescope or a microscope. This technique is mainly used for scientific research.

The key is to approach each technique with a good understanding of it, try to be as technically perfect as possible and do your best to be as creative as you can.

Many of these techniques will be a trial and error process. The best thing to do is to always take plenty of shots.

© 2013 Luis E Gonzalez


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    • LuisEGonzalez profile imageAUTHOR

      Luis E Gonzalez 

      4 years ago from Miami, Florida

      jainismus: Thank you very much sir

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 

      4 years ago from Pune, India

      Great photographs with great techniques, thank you for sharing the photos and information.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile imageAUTHOR

      Luis E Gonzalez 

      4 years ago from Miami, Florida

      ingleslenobel: Thanks, I've just emailed you

    • ingleslenobel profile image

      Johan J. Ingles-Le Nobel 

      4 years ago from Holmbury St.Mary, Surrey, UK

      Nice. Luis, I'm trying to contact you about use of my photo - please get in touch. Thank you

    • profile image

      The Examiner-1 

      4 years ago

      You are welcome. I only wanted to help those that might not be familiar with it.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile imageAUTHOR

      Luis E Gonzalez 

      4 years ago from Miami, Florida

      The Examiner-1: thanks and ooops...sorry.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 

      4 years ago

      Your Hub was very interesting and informative. I used to be into photography when I lived elsewhere. I had a 35 mm camera with a tripod, long lens, timer..., but it is all packed away right now for moving. By the way, you might want to edit the Hub for people who are unfamiliar with photography. When I read about the pinhole photography I noticed that you misspelled 'shoe' box as 'show' box. Some might wonder what that is.


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