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After reading some questions, I am getting lost with stage photography, curtain photography? etc.. I only know portrait, landscape, street, sports etc..is there a standard lingo somewhere?

closed as too broad by Philip Kendall, scottbb, mattdm, Olin Lathrop, inkista Jan 13 '18 at 9:11

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There are a lot of categories, some more well known than others. There is no specified standard for categories, so it's just up to what people use.

If you make a web search for a category, you will see approximately how well used it is. Stage photography for example is well known, but curtain photography is not used enough to even show up before a bunch of photographers with the last name Curtain or photographcs of actual curtains (unless it actually means taking photos of curtains...).

The PhotoSig website for example have chosen to use these categories:

Abstract
Aerial
Animal
Architecture
Astrophotography
Avian
Black and White
Cityscape
Current Events
Decisive Moment
Defocused
Documentary
Emotive
Expression
Family
Fashion
Film
Fine Art
Food
Glamour
HDRI (High Dynamic Range Imaging)
Humorous
ICM (intentional camera movement)
Industrial
Infrared
Interior
Journalism
Landscape
Lomo
Macro
Nature
Nude
Panoramas/Mosaics
Performance
Pinhole
Portrait
Product
Publicity
Random
Recycled Art
Rough Camera
Rural
Sea and Sand
Sky
Snapshot
Sports
Still Life
Stock
Street Photography
Suburban
Swimsuit
Tourist
Travel
Underwater
Urban
Vehicle
Vintage
Weather
Wedding
  • 6
    I don't have a better answer but wanted to point out that the list is confusing style of photography (travel, abstract, landscape, etc) with style of photograph (B&W, HDRI, Infrared, Pinhole, etc). – Itai Mar 22 '11 at 4:41
  • @Itai: That is true. It's hard to choose a set of categories without getting contradictions or mixing concepts. – Guffa Mar 22 '11 at 18:28
  • Black and white is also known as Monochrome. – Parth Jun 19 '17 at 13:30
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Guffa's answer is extremely complete, so I'll take a bit of a different tack. There are a few "major" and "minor" categories of photography that I think are pretty common, and regularly used in photographic jargon:

  • General
    • Journalism
    • Street
    • Still Life
  • Nature
    • Wildlife
    • Bird
    • Scapes
      • Land
      • Sea
      • Sky
  • Macro
    • Nature
      • Floral
      • Insect
    • General
      • Objects
      • Abstract
  • Portrait
    • Personal
    • Wedding
    • Family
  • Nude
  • Sports
  • Architecture
  • Astrophotography
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For any noun X, adding "photography" after it gives you a potential category. Thus you can find all potential categories by taking a dictionary and filtering out any word that's not a noun.

Some of those may in practice overlap of course, and some might be so obscure that noone practices them.

  • 1
    +1 inspirational — maybe time to try some of those ultra-obscure ones. :) – mattdm Mar 22 '11 at 11:38
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I am considering using the 5 W's (Where, When, What, Who, Why) to catergories my portfolio starting with the following words:

When - When did it take place? or what event took place? Who - People - Who was involved? or what group of people? Where - Location - Where did it take place? Why - Why did this happen? was this a news/sports/wedding event What- What happened? or what is in the photograph? What is the subject?

Some authors add a sixth question, “how”, to the list: How did it happen?

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