The four types of photography
Photography can be divided into four major categories, by intended purpose of the photographs:
1. Wedding photography
2. Commercial photography
3. Snapshot photography
4. Art photography
Wedding photography is an interesting phenomenon because, for most people, it’s the only time in their lives when they spend a significant amount of money to have someone else take pictures of themselves. Portrait photography might be grouped in here as a less profitable type of direct-to-consumer photography.
Commercial photography includes all photography where the photographer is paid by a commercial enterprise and it includes photojournalism, fashion and product photography.
Snapshot photography is what most people do with their cameras or their smartphones.
Art photography is what I present on this blog. Now that may sound pretentious to some people, but only because the word “art” has been ridiculously oversold by a certain type of intellectual. Art just means anything that’s intended to be pretty or interesting to look at and has no other more practical purpose. Art doesn’t have to be good to be art, and in fact the vast majority of art is lousy art.
I’ve also arranged the categories above by the likelihood that you might make a decent middle class to upper middle class living from it, in descending order. That’s why wedding photography is at the top, because successful wedding photographers make more than $100,000/year, and even really bad ones can make more than minimum wage.
Art photography is at the bottom, because it’s far lot more likely to cost you money in expensive camera gear than you are to make any profit from it. Many of the best art photographers are wealthy from other sources.
I don’t really recommend any type of photography as a career. The reason for this is that there are such a large number of people doing photography for fun, the basic rules of supply and demand indicate that you won’t make much money and it will be hard to break into, because supply of photography exceeds the demand for it.
But wedding photography can be a good career for a certain type of person with the right personality. Especially for a young women, because wedding purchasing decisions are made by brides, who are young women, so a young female photographer can bond better with the bride and therefore be much more successful at selling her services. It’s also very good career for raising children, because the only time you have to be out of the house would be on Saturdays when one’s spouse with a normal business hours job would be free to watch the children. The pre-wedding and post-wedding work can be done from home or easily scheduled around children-rearing activities.