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Photography is easily the most popular art form – having surpassed predecessors such as painting and drawing in terms of accessibility and versatility and capturing images that are true to life. The medium itself has a storied history, and since its inception in 1839, it has branched into different styles and genres.

Whether you’re an aspiring photographer or a photo connoisseur looking for your next photo on canvas print, it’s vital that you have an idea what these styles are, and which one is currently the most popular. In this post, we'll share the five most popular photography styles and genres.

Landscape Photography

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This photography genre is easily the most popular and you can argue that it’s one of the oldest along with cityscape photography. This style focuses on capturing nature, and contrary to its name isn’t restricted to just landscapes.

Photo Composition

Landscape photography adheres to the rule of thirds wherein photographers mentally divide the image, horizontally and vertically, into nine parts. Landscape photographers typically capture their subjects in such a way that the focal points of the resulting image are within the intersection of the grid. The result is a landscape photo that has depth and balance.

Genre Focal Points

Landscape photography typically includes natural set pieces such as trees, bodies of water, and animals in an untouched setting. Man-made structures such as houses and buildings are not excluded, but only if they are a secondary element to the natural background.


Landscape photographers usually capture images at dawn and dusk as these are the times when the sun lights up the landscape perfectly. This rule isn’t set in stone though, and many beautiful landscape photo prints take place in the middle of the day or during a rolling thunderstorm.

Cityscape Photography

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As the ‘urban version’ of landscape photography, this photo genre focuses on picturesque towns, sprawling metropolises, and urban areas. It may include candid photos of people going on about their city routine or feature important landmarks.

Photo Composition

Just like landscape photography, this genre follows the rule of thirds. The grid is arguably more important in city photo prints as unlike natural settings, there are a lot of background elements and set pieces that can be classified as focal points. With a grid in mind, the photographer can highlight which city element the viewer will focus on.

Genre Focal Points

This genre has a lot of focal points and it’s up to the photographer to choose which ones they want to highlight. This usually includes buildings, city structures such as bridges and parks, or iconic landmarks. In a city like Sydney, these would include staples such as Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge and more ‘inland’ landmarks such as the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Sydney Town Hall.


There aren’t any lighting restrictions when it comes to cityscape photography, but it’s very common for photographers to capture cityscapes at night when the artificial light of the buildings and city structures provide the image a distinct ‘urban’ colour palette. 

Fine Art Photography

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Although fine art photography traces its roots to the inception of the medium, the process of how photographers capture and depict their photographs is quite different. This genre is very similar to its painting predecessors and unlike commercial photography, the style draws from the personal concept of the photographer.

Photo Composition

Whereas genres such as landscape and cityscape depict the subject in a ‘natural’ setting, there’s a touch of creativity in fine art photos that is more idealistic than realistic. Contrary to what most people believe, fine art canvas photos don’t always come with a message. Rather, they evoke emotion from the viewer.

Genre Focal Points

Fine art photography can depict any subject and can be as abstract or realistic as possible. It’s up to the photographer to tweak and enhance their subjects into a more artistic photo print that will convey their intended emotion to their viewer.


Lighting ultimately depends on the artist, and their prints can be as colourful or monotone as they see fit.

Lifestyle Photography

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We live in an age where you can know everything there is to know about a person online from their pictures. While some prefer candid shots of their everyday lives, some prefer an idealistic setting that’s slightly divorced from the truth. This ‘need’ is where lifestyle photography traces its roots.

Photo Composition

Lifestyle photos capture people in realistic settings and can be day-to-day interactions or snapshots of the subject’s everyday routine. Unlike candid photos and fashion shoots, lifestyle photographs are staged and structured more naturally and believably.

Genre Focal Points

The focus of these lifestyle photographs are people in natural, real-life situations or scenes from their point of view. As with any story, there’s a focus on the details of the setting more than the actual subject. A candid photograph of a man going to work isn’t anything special, but lifestyle photographers will put the focus on what he’s wearing, the stuff he’s carrying, and the place where he’s going to fully portray his lifestyle.


Lighting in lifestyle photos is natural and often unedited as photographers would want to portray the true-to-life setting of their subjects. 

Still-Life Photography

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Capturing still-life images is a universal genre in art, and photography is no exception. The difference is that unlike painting and drawing, still, life canvas photos depict the subject realistically and accurately.

Photo Composition

Still-life photos follow the rule of thirds but have a more minimalistic approach to ‘setting up the stage’ of the subject. The composition is also clean and neat; even messy still-life photos need to be staged properly!

Genre Focal Points

The focus of still-life photos is its subject, with the background often ‘vanishing’ from view even as the inanimate objects become more prominent. Some photographers even do away with backgrounds to highlight their still-life subjects even better.


Lighting is more focused and specifically modified to flesh out the still-life’s imagery, with the light itself originating from the left side of the photo so that the viewer can also see the shadow the objects cast.

These are just some of the most popular genres and styles that photography as a medium has to offer.  As technology advances and creative processes are refined, photographers are finding more niches and genres to pioneer.

At The Canvas Art Factory, we offer a range of exclusive canvas photo prints from local and award-winning photographers in Australia. Visit our showroom or call us today at +61 7 3383 2880 to learn more about the different photo styles and genres we have to offer.