What is Photography? The following is the definition and types

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In today's digital era, photography has become more accessible and accessible to anyone. With the presence of camera-equipped smartphones, anyone can quickly take pictures and share them with the world. However, behind this simplicity, there is a deep art and technique required to produce interesting and meaningful images.

Through this article, we will explore various aspects of photography, starting from the basic meaning, types, to the role of photography in the digital era. Let's take a closer look at how photography has changed the way we see and appreciate the world around us.


Understanding what photography is


Photography not just taking ordinary pictures, but also the art of capturing moments that have meaning and messages. Through an understanding of light, composition, and subject, photography allows us to create images that depict beauty, emotion, and stories.

Basically, photography is about recording light. When you press the shutter button on the camera, light comes in and is translated into an image. However, a photographer's skill lies in the ability to manipulate light and composition so that the image has a strong appeal.

Moreover, photography is a universal language. Regardless of language or culture, images can communicate ideas and emotions clearly. Photography allows us to speak without words, but with powerful images.

Not only taking pictures, photography also involves a selection and editing process. A photographer will choose the best image from many shots, then make edits to improve the lighting, color and details so that the image looks optimal.

In essence, photography is about experiencing the world around us and capturing precious moments. Through technique and creativity, a photographer can create works of art that embrace feelings and provide a new view of reality.



History of the Development of Photography

Now let's discuss a little history of photography from year to year. How photography was discovered from a complicated process to how easy it is now, and who were the people who played a role in the process of developing photography.


Year 1039 – First Dark Room

The first camera was created in 1039! Ibnu Al-Haytham, a Muslim scientist from Iraq, created the camera obscura, aka dark room. He made this because he is the only one who connects the light source, lens and the resulting image.

So like this, we can only see an object if the light falling on the object continues to reflect into our eyes. From there, the world of photography continued to exist. Many scientists and experts have helped develop photography through their experiments. Changing lenses, adding diaphragms, even making a camera with a lens that can slide back and forth to find focus.


1568 – Lens for Shadow Projection

Danielo Barbaro tried an experiment using a simple lens to explain the projection of the image entering through the hole. He wrote all his knowledge in the book "La Pratica della Perpettiva". He said that changing the size of the diaphragm can affect the sharpness of the resulting image.


1685-1686 – Portable Camera Obscura

Johan Zahn experimented with making the camera obscura more portable and could be carried anywhere.

Apart from that, the Zahn camera is also equipped with a lens that can be moved back and forth and has a diaphragm and reflective glass to see and control the lens capture from outside the box.


1839 – Oldest Selfie

This year, the first selfie photo was taken which is considered to be the oldest. The photo belongs to Robert Cornelius.


1860 – First Aerial Photography

James Wallace Black first photographed from the air. This is not using drones like now, but using hot air balloons that fly as high as 2000 feet.


1877 – First Color Photograph

Louis Arthur Ducos du Houron took the first color photograph. This is to show that the world is not just black and white. The photo was taken in the South of France and was named "Landscape of Southern France".


1900 – Kodak Brownie Launched

The Kodak Brownie was introduced, this was the beginning of the development of portable box cameras.


1925 – First Narcissist Stick

Tongsis first appeared in a photo of Arnold and Helen Hogg. You don't have to just take photos during the day, you can also take photos at night. You just have to understand the basic technique first before doing it.


In 1980 – Photography becomes more professional

George Eastman, through his Kodak Eastman, entered the photography business with easy-to-carry box and film cameras. They also made a flash feature which was first discovered by Harold E. Edgerton.

With the slogan "You press the button, we do the rest," George Eastman made Kodak products more complete, from lenses, film, to photo paper. This is an era where professional photographers are increasingly emerging and trying new styles.



The selfie stick was patented by Wayne Fromm and was named Quick Pod. The term "selfie" appeared in 2012, which has now become very commonplace. Until the most phenomenal selfie, taken at the Oscars, received up to 3 million retweets!

The development of photography continues. Camera companies compete to make the best products. Now there are many sophisticated cameras with great features.


Types of Photography

Photography has many types, each of which has different characteristics and purposes. The following are some commonly encountered types of photography:


1. Documentary Photography

Documentary photography illustration
Documentary photography illustration (Esteban Benites/Unsplash)

This type of photography is about capturing real moments and events in the form of images that have documentary value. Documentary photography focuses on authenticity and accuracy in recording events that occur in the real world.

The goal is to create a visual record that can speak about an event or issue clearly and accurately. Typically, documentary photography is used to depict historical, social, political or cultural events.

Examples of documentary photography include portraits of historical events, protests or demonstrations, documentation of daily life in certain places, or social imagery depicting contemporary issues. Documentary photography has the ability to encapsulate the complexities of the real world in the form of powerful and meaningful images.


2. Journalistic Photography

Journalistic photography illustration
Journalistic photography illustration (Michael Fousert/Unsplash)

Journalistic photography is a type of photography that focuses on capturing important moments in the world of news and current events. The goal is to convey information and stories through strong, emotionally evocative images.

Journalistic photography is often used in news publications, magazines, and online media to provide visual support for the news being reported.

Examples of journalistic photography include images from news events such as natural disasters, social protests, political meetings, and other current affairs news. These images have the ability to communicate information quickly and powerfully to an audience, often without the need for long words. Journalistic photography has a very important role in providing visual insight to the public regarding events currently occurring in the world.


3. Macro Photography

Macro photography illustration
Macro photography illustration (David Clode/Unsplash)


Macro photography is a type of photography that focuses on taking pictures of objects on a very close or detailed scale. The goal is to reveal beauty, texture, and detail that may not be visible to the naked eye.

Macro photography is often used to capture small objects such as flowers, insects, water droplets, or objects with interesting textures.

Examples of macro photography include images of flowers with detailed petals and pollen, macro-photography of insects with in-depth views of their eyes and wings, and images of water droplets with beautiful crystal details. Macro photography allows us to see the microscopic world in a beautiful and awe-inspiring way.


4. Action Photography

Action photography illustration
Action photography illustration (Brandon Erlinger/Unsplash)

Action photography is a type of photography that focuses on capturing dynamic and moving moments. The goal is to capture the speed, energy, and emotion in an ongoing action or event.

Action photography is often used in sports, outdoor activities, and performing arts to capture fast, impressive movements.

Examples of action photography include images of sports athletes in rapid motion, facial expressions in stage performances, or jumps and tricks in extreme sports. Action photography has the power to transport the viewer into the moment and convey the sensation of the activity taking place.


5. Glamor Photography

Glamor photography illustration
Glamor photography illustration (Shahin Khalaji/Unsplash)


Glamor photography is a type of photography that emphasizes the beauty, style and charm of the subject being photographed. The goal is to produce images that display objects with an attractive, elegant and attractive appearance.

Glamor photography is often used in the fashion, modeling and film industries to produce images that exude an aura of glamor and elegance.

Examples of glamor photography include images of models in haute couture clothing, portraits of celebrities with festive looks, or images that showcase the elegance and charm of an individual. Glamor photography plays an important role in showing the elegant and attractive side of the photographed subject.


6. Toy Photography

Toy photography illustration
Toy photography illustration (Steinar Engeland/Unsplash)


This type of photography involves using toys as the main object in creating images. Even though it may sound simple, toy photography actually requires a lot of imagination and precision to produce interesting images and bring toys to life in a visual story.

Toy photography provides space for the photographer's creativity and imagination to bring small objects to life in the world of images. With careful use of composition, light, and visual narrative, toy photography can create entertaining and inspiring images.


7. Fine Art Photography

Fine art photography illustration
Fine art photography illustration


Fine art photography is a type of photography that explores aesthetic aspects, creative expression and emotion through the resulting images. The goal is to create visual works that are unique, immersive, and reflect the photographer's artistic vision.

Fine art photography is often used for personal expression, art exhibitions, and expressions of feelings.

Examples of fine art photography include abstract images, photomanipulations that combine disparate elements, or portraits with a strong artistic interpretation. Fine art photography creates a deeper connection between the observer and the image, inviting them to reflect and feel the message contained in the work of art.


8. Underwater Photography

Underwater photography illustration
Underwater photography illustration (Hiroko Yoshii/Unsplash)


Underwater photography is a type of photography carried out in a water environment, such as an ocean, lake, river or swimming pool. The goal is to capture the beauty and uniqueness of the underwater world, including marine life, coral reefs and subsurface views.

Examples of underwater photography include portraits of fish swimming among coral reefs, images of stunning underwater views, or documentation of marine life at various depths. Underwater photography allows us to explore the spectacular underwater world and reveal the natural beauty hidden beneath the surface of the water.


9. Aerial Photography

Aerial photography illustration
Aerial photography illustration (Denys Nevozhai/Unsplash)


Aerial photography is a photography technique that focuses on taking pictures from a height, usually from the air. In this type of photography, the photographer uses various means such as airplanes, hot air balloons, helicopters, or even drones to take pictures from unusual angles and produce dramatic and expansive views.

Aerial photography provides a unique and immersive view of the world around us. Whether used for documentary purposes, science, or as an art form, aerial photography takes us beyond the limitations of traditional views and opens our eyes to the diversity of forms and patterns that exist in the universe.


10. Travel Photography

Travel photography illustration
Travel photography illustration (Rifath Photoripey/Unsplash)


Travel photography is a type of photography that focuses on documenting and capturing moments during travel. The goal is to capture the experiences, places, culture and sights encountered during adventures in various locations.

Examples of travel photography include portraits of local residents, natural landscapes, regional specialties, and unique moments that occur during travel. Travel photography gives us a window into a diverse world and allows us to share experiences with others through beautiful and meaningful images.


11. Wedding Photography

Wedding photography illustration
Wedding photography illustration (Leonardo Miranda/Unsplash)


Wedding photography is a type of photography that focuses on documenting the moments and celebrations surrounding a wedding event. The goal is to capture special moments, emotions and details at a wedding.

Examples of wedding photography include portraits of the bride and groom getting ready, moments of exchanging vows, reception dances, and portraits of happy families. Wedding photography allows the bridal couple to preserve beautiful memories of their wedding day and share them with family and friends.


12. Advertising Photography

Advertising photography illustration
Advertising photography illustration on screen board (Geoff Brooks/Unsplash)


Advertising photography is a type of photography that focuses on creating attractive and attention-grabbing images for marketing and promotional purposes. The goal is to communicate a specific message about a product, service, or brand to a target audience.

Examples of advertising photography include images of products with attractive backgrounds, images of models using a particular product, or images that create an atmosphere that piques the interest of potential buyers. Advertising photography plays an important role in helping brands promote themselves to a wide market.


13. Street Photography



Street photography illustration
Street photography illustration (Daniel Abadia/Unsplash)

Street photography is a type of photography that focuses on capturing spontaneous moments and everyday life in public places such as streets, parks, markets and other crowded places. The goal is to capture human life and expression in an urban environment.

Examples of street photography include portraits of people walking on the sidewalk, children playing in the park, traders in the market, and other unplanned moments of everyday life. Street photography allows us to see the beauty and complexity of city life through the photographer's unique perspective.


14. Vernacular Photography

Vernacular photography illustration
Vernacular photography illustration (Dung Anh/Unsplash)


Vernacular photography, often also referred to as amateur photography, refers to the production of photographs produced by ordinary individuals with no formal background in the world of photography. This type of photography generally captures everyday, everyday moments and unplanned events in a simple way.

In vernacular photography, the camera is often used as a tool to record personal moments, family, friends, or daily events. These photos often have a personal feel and depict everyday life from an unexpected perspective.

In many cases, vernacular photography presents an intimate and authentic perspective on everyday life and the human experience. Although these photographs may not have had clear artistic intent, they have important historical and cultural value in tracing the passage of time and revealing universal aspects of humanity.


15. InfraRed Photography

InfraRed photography illustration
InfraRed photography illustration (Robert McGowan/Unsplash)


This type of photography refers to image capture techniques that are sensitive to infrared rays. In infrared photography, the photographer uses special equipment and filters that allow infrared wavelengths to pass through the camera lens and reach the image sensor. This technique produces unique and interesting visual effects, with characteristic colors and contrast that are different from conventional photography.

Infrared photography provides a unique and unseen view of the visual world. With the right use of equipment and filters, photographers can create dramatic and compelling images with unique color and contrast effects. That is why this technique is often used to create photographic works of art that are interesting and different from the others.


16. Night Photography

Night photography illustration
Night photography illustration (Khachik Simonian/Unsplash)


Night photography is a technique used to take pictures in low lighting conditions or at night. Despite the challenge of minimal light, night photography provides an opportunity to create images that are dramatic, colorful and filled with atmosphere.

Night photography can include a variety of subjects, from illuminated cityscapes to individual portraits against dramatic night backdrops. Images taken at night often provide a magical and mysterious feel that is difficult to achieve during the day. This technique allows photographers to experiment with light and create unique, atmospheric images.


17. Black and White Photography

Black and white photography illustration
Black and white photography illustration (Nigel Tadyanehondo/Unsplash)


Black and white photography is a form of photography that produces images in a monochromatic color scale, using only shades of black and white. Despite its simple appearance, black and white photography has charm and the ability to convey emotion, contrast and detail in a unique way.

Examples of black and white photography include portraits with strong contrast between shadow and light, landscape images with sharp textural details, and architectural images that highlight the shapes and lines of buildings. Black and white photography allows us to see the world in a new dimension and experience the unique visual power of the use of black and white shades.


18. Fashion Photography

Fashion photography illustration
Fashion photography illustration (Malik Skydsgaard/Unsplash)


Fashion photography is a type of photography that displays clothing, accessories and fashion products in a creative and artistic way. The aim is to show the beauty, design and style of fashion products, as well as attract the attention of viewers so they are interested in buying or wearing the product.

Examples of fashion photography include images of models wearing haute couture clothing on the catwalk, portraits of fashion products against appropriate backgrounds, as well as detailed photos of accessories such as shoes, bags or jewelry. Fashion photography allows designers and fashion brands to depict their creative vision and influence fashion trends.


19. Food Photography

Food photography illustration
Food photography illustration (Brooke Lark/Unsplash)

Food photography is a type of photography that displays food in a tempting and appetizing way. The goal is to make the food look delicious, appetizing and encourage viewers to try the dish.

Examples of food photography include images of gourmet dishes with detailed stacks of fresh ingredients, close-up photos of mouth-watering food, and shots of dishes in an inviting setting for eating. Food photography is very important in the culinary and restaurant industry, as it can influence a consumer's decision to try a particular dish.


20. Astrophotography

Astrophotography photography illustration
Astrophotography photography illustration (Nathan Anderson/Unsplash)


Astrophotography is a type of photography that takes pictures of celestial objects, including stars, planets, galaxies and other astronomical phenomena. The goal is to record the beauty and wonder of the universe that cannot be easily seen with the naked eye.

Examples of astrophotography include images of distant galaxies, views of the night sky with the beautiful Milky Way, bright planets in the sky, and rare celestial phenomena such as meteor showers. Astrophotography allows us to appreciate the beauty and mystery of the vast universe.


21. Panoramic Photography

Panoramic photography illustration
Panoramic photography illustration (Alex Bdnr/Unsplash)

Panoramic photography is a technique used to produce wide-format images that include a wide view of a location or scene. The goal is to create images that depict the environment as a whole and provide an experience as if we were in that location.

Examples of panoramic photography include images of expansive natural landscapes, panoramas of busy cities, and panoramic images of hard-to-reach locations such as mountain peaks. Panoramic photography allows us to feel the depth and beauty of a place more intensely.


22. Forensic Photography

Forensic photography illustration
Forensic photography illustration (This Is Engineering/Unsplash)


Furthermore, forensic photography is a type of photography used in criminal and legal investigations to accurately document crime scenes (TKP), physical evidence, and important details that can support the investigation and court process.

Examples of forensic photography include crime scene images in crime cases, documentation of physical injuries to victims, evidence found at the scene, and digital evidence such as digital traces in cybercrime investigations. Forensic photography has an important role in assisting investigations and revealing the truth in legal processes.


23. Nature Photos


Nature photography illustration
Nature photography illustration (James Wheeler/Unsplash)


Nature photography is a type of photography that focuses on capturing the beauty and wonder of nature in its various forms. The aim is to capture natural landscapes, flora, fauna and natural phenomena in an artistic and charming way.

Examples of nature photography include images of the sun rising over a mountain, flowers blooming in a meadow, wild animals in their natural habitat, and natural phenomena such as rainbows or eclipses. Nature photography allows us to experience the wonders of nature and appreciate the beauty of this universe.


24. Architectural Photos

Architectural photography illustration
Architectural photography illustration (Lance Anderson/Unsplash)



Architectural photography is a type of photography that focuses on capturing the beauty, design and structure of buildings and other architectural elements. The goal is to show the beauty and details of various types of buildings in an artistic and impressive way.

Examples of architectural photography include images of skyscrapers with the silhouette of the city behind them, portraits of architectural details such as unique windows, doors or stairs, as well as images of building interiors with interesting layouts. Architectural photography allows us to understand the beauty and uniqueness of the various building structures around us.


Basic Photography Techniques You Need to Know

To take impressive pictures, it is important to understand the basic techniques of what photography is all about. Here are some basic techniques you need to know:


Lighting is a key element in photography. Light affects the look and feel of your images. Understand how light comes to your subject and how to control it. In bright light conditions, consider reducing exposure to avoid overexposed images. On the other hand, in low light conditions, consider using additional lighting such as flashes or reflectors.


Good composition helps create a visually strong image. The “Rule of Thirds” is a general guideline in composition. Break the image into nine parts with two horizontal lines and two vertical lines. Place the main subject along lines or meeting points to create an interesting visual balance.


Image sharpness is the result of proper focus. Make sure your subject is sharp and clear. Use the focus settings on your camera, and if necessary, use manual focus mode to control focus more accurately. Avoid camera shake when shooting by using a tripod or other stabilization technique.


Experiment with perspective to create interesting images. Instead of just shooting from your eye level, try taking pictures from unusual angles. A unique perspective can change the way the subject looks in the image and give it a new beauty.

Combining all these techniques will help you take better and more creative pictures. Keep practicing and experimenting with different photography settings and styles.



Photography has the power to record, immortalize and reveal precious moments in our lives. From simple everyday moments to special moments, photography allows us to see the world with creative eyes.

Through an understanding of what photography is, the history and types of photography, you can explore various ways to express yourself through images.

Herlan Khenz

Herlan Khenz

Seorang penghobi fotografi, mulai dari tahun 2017 sampai saat ini. Dan sekarang sebagai freelance fotografer. Sekarang mulai merambah kedunia blogging. Selamat membaca dan semoga berkenan ilmu atau pengalaman yang saya berikan.
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