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The Creative's Compendium: An Ongoing Glossary for Photography and Cinematography Styles, and Beyond

Photography and Cinematography Styles - Pink Aesthetics Blonde Babe in Shades
Styles and Beyond for the Prompt Engineer

Life often takes us by surprise. That was the case with me and photography. I'd been exploring 3D animation and visual effects, and I got a camera only to capture textures for my creative work.

Then something odd happened. People began to call me a 'photographer'. This felt strange. I thought the appeal of my early pictures was down to the DSLR, not any skill on my part.

But as time went on, I started to see things differently. I realized that photography was about more than just taking pictures. It was about telling stories and capturing moments and emotions. This idea was reinforced by my work in the fitness and fashion sectors. The goal wasn't just to take a picture. It was to create something meaningful.

Along the way, I met many 'photographers'. These were people who loved to talk about their equipment. It made me wonder about my place in all this. Was I a 'photographer' because I used a camera? Or were they the real photographers because of their technical know-how?

Then I discovered AI and its potential for creativity. This threw up a whole new set of questions. Was I the artist, or was I just directing the AI? Was the art created by the AI, or was I influencing it in some way?

For me, the answer was clear. I didn't want to let the AI do all the work. That's why I started working with Stable Diffusion. I didn't want the AI to create art for me. I wanted to guide it and shape it according to my vision.

Girl in pink shades

How to Use this Guide for Optimal Prompt Engineering

This guide will grow overtime and will offer a comprehensive roadmap for prompt engineering, leveraging keywords from Photography and Cinematography. Use it to craft prompts that capture specific aesthetics, shot types, or lighting styles. Each section is linked to a dedicated, in-depth article which explores the respective subject matter in detail. The goal is to enable you to write prompts that are not just visually engaging, but also technically accurate and contextually rich.

For instance, if you're writing a prompt that requires a specific aesthetic, you can refer to the 'Aesthetics & Cinematographic Styles' section. This helps you to capture the essence of the aesthetic accurately in your prompt. Similarly, for prompts involving particular shot types or lighting styles, the sections on 'Cinematography Cinematic Shots' and 'Lighting Styles in Photography and Cinematography' respectively, serve as useful references.

Essentially, each section of this guide is designed to help you find key terms of photography, cinematography, to be used for Prompt Engineering in applications like Stable Diffusion and Midjourney, helping you to write nuanced, insightful prompts. Utilize this guide as a reference tool, a study guide, or a spark for inspiration as you navigate the world of prompt engineering.


Table of Contents:

  1. Photographic Styles and Techniques

  2. Photography and Cinematography Styles

  3. The Language of Shots: Camera Angles in Photography

  4. The Visual Language of Cinematography

  5. Lighting Styles in Photography and Cinematography

  6. Key Figures in Photography and Cinematography

  7. A Guide to Cameras and Lenses

  8. Color and Aesthetics a. An Overview of Filters and Photographic Effects b. Exploration of Aesthetics & Cinematographic Styles

  9. Conclusion


Photographic Styles and Techniques

Photography, like any art form, is not simply a one-size-fits-all discipline. It's a world as wide and varied as the people who explore it, each practitioner bringing their own unique lens to bear upon the world around them. Over the years, various styles and techniques have emerged and evolved, becoming recognized as distinct genres within the larger umbrella of photography. Let's explore some of these styles, and the techniques often employed within them.

Girl in a subway in red light

Photography and Cinematography Styles

Each of these styles encompasses a different perspective of the world, offering unique opportunities for creativity and exploration. As your understanding of these styles evolves, you may find yourself drawn to particular ones. Explore, experiment, and enjoy the process of discovery.

Abstract Photography

Analogue Photography

Polaroid Photography

Instant Photography

Beauty Photography



Glamour Photography

High Fashion

Large Format

Lifestyle Photography



Pictorialist Style

Pinhole Photography

Street Fashion


Tintype Photography

Environmental Portraits

Editorial Portraits

Conceptual Portraits

Business Portraits

Family Portraits

Maternity Portraits

Newborn Portraits

Boudoir Portraits

Fitness Photography

Nude Art Photography

Fine Art Photography

Double Exposure

blonde girl with exotic eyes

The Language of Shots: Camera Angles in Photography

This section will act as a guide to the vast range of camera angles employed in both photography and cinematography to imbue each frame with the desired feeling or message. Recognizing and understanding these different camera angles is essential to capturing or interpreting a scene effectively.

Size & Detail

Character Relationship

Camera Angle

POV & Movement


Close Up On Face

Over-the-Shoulder Shot

Low Angle / Low Angle

Point of View (POV) Shot

Establishing Shot

Full Body


Eye Level Angle

Overhead Shot

Master Shot

Head Shot


Dutch Angle

Top Shot

Single Shot

Upper Body

Group Shot

Worm's Eye View

Bird's Eye Shot

Detail Shot

Medium Close Up

Single Shot

High Angle Shot / High Angle

Reaction Shot

Insert Shot

Extreme Close Up

Cross Shot

Flat Angle

Follow Shot

Cutaway Shot

Long Shot


Oblique Angle

Whip Pan

Wide Shot

Medium Shot

Split Shot

Aerial Shot

Tilt Shot

Cowboy Shot

Full Shot

Reaction Shot

Underwater Shot

Dolly Shot

Profile Shot

The Visual Language of Cinematography

This section dives into the nuanced world of cinematic shots. From close-ups to aerial views, understanding these shot types can drastically enhance the storytelling capabilities of a filmmaker or photographer. These techniques provide a language through which artists can communicate visually, evoke emotions, and guide viewers' attention.

Camera Movements

Shot Sizes and Angles

Cutting Techniques

Point of View


Aerial Shot

High Angle Shot

Jump Cut

Point of View (POV) Shot

Over-the-Shoulder Shot

Arc Shot

Low Angle Shot

Smash Cut


Single Shot

Crane Shot

Eye Level Shot

Match Cut

Subjective Shot

Group Shot

Dolly Shot

Dutch Angle

Fade In/Out

Overhead Shot

Establishing Shot

Tracking Shot

Worm's Eye View


Top Shot

Reaction Shot

Zoom Shot

Bird's Eye Shot

Iris In/Out

Profile Shot


Tilt Shot

American Shot


Hand-held Shot

Sequence Shot

Pan Shot


L Cut

Long Take

Insert Shot

Whip Pan


J Cut

Steadicam Shot

Cutaway Shot

Master Shot

Group Shot


Reverse Angle Shot

Whip Zoom Shot

Pink retro girl in shades

Lighting Styles in Photography and Cinematography

Lighting is an essential aspect of both photography and cinematography, playing a vital role in setting the scene, creating mood, and revealing the texture and form of subjects. This section examines various lighting styles that artists can use to enhance their work and evoke specific emotions or reactions.

Natural Light

Artificial Light

Mixed Light

Hard Light

Soft Light

Direct Light

Indirect Light

Low Key Lighting

High Key Lighting

Rembrandt Lighting

Split Lighting

Loop Lighting

Broad Lighting

Short Lighting

Butterfly Lighting

Flat Lighting

Side Lighting

Top Lighting

Under Lighting

Silhouette Lighting

Frontal Lighting

Chiaroscuro Lighting

Three-Point Lighting

Four-Point Lighting

High Contrast Lighting

Low Contrast Lighting

Motivated Lighting

Magic Hour Lighting

Golden Hour Lighting

Blue Hour Lighting

Twilight Lighting

Day for Night

Night for Day

Beauty Lighting

Paramount Lighting

Hollywood Lighting

Clamshell Lighting

Back Lighting

Rim Lighting

Fill Lighting

Key Lighting

Ambient Lighting

Practical Lighting

Dappled Light

Reflected Light

Soft Diffused Light

Window Light

Morning Light

Afternoon Light

Evening Light




Neon Lighting

Shadow Light / Shadow Play

Bounceg Light


Cross Lighting

Rimlit / Edge Lighting

Broad and Short Lighting

Hatchet Lighting

Contraluz / Silhouetting

Overcast Light

Dawn Light

Dusk Light

Spot Lighting

Lantern Lighting

Double-Back Lighting

Long Exposure

High Key Portrait

Low Key Portrait

Sandwich Lighting

Cameo Lighting

Light Tent

Outdoor Reflector Light

Outdoor Shadow Light

Diffused Backlight


Stroboscopic Effect

Stage Lighting

Video Lighting

Fill Light


Backlighting (Hair Light)

Reflected Backlighting

Up Lighting

Down Lighting

God Rays

Flash Photography

Cinematic Lighting

Influential  figures in photography and cinematography

Key Figures in Photography and Cinematography

Explore the inspiring work and unique styles of well-known artists in the fields of photography and cinematography. From pioneers who defined the medium to contemporary artists who continue to push the boundaries, this section offers a glimpse into their creativity and impact on the visual arts.

Ansel Adams

Dorothea Lange

Robert Capa

Richard Avedon

Henri Cartier-Bresson

Steve McCurry

Diane Arbus

Irving Penn

Man Ray

Alfred Stieglitz

Margaret Bourke-White

Annie Leibovitz

Cindy Sherman

Sebastião Salgado

Andreas Gursky

​Simon J. Morton

​Ryan Astamendi

​Brett Seeley

Andreas Gursky

​Sebastião Salgado

​Cindy Sherman

​Annie Leibovitz

​Margaret Bourke-White

​Alfred Stieglitz

​Man Ray

​Irving Penn

​Diane Arbus

Steve McCurry

Richard Avedon

Henri Cartier-Bresson

​Robert Capa

​Dorothea Lange

​Ansel Adams

​Alex Timmermans

​Alfred Stieglitz

Ando Fuchs

Anne Brigman

​August Sander

Brandon Woelfel

Chris Friel

David LaChapelle

Eugene Atget

​Garry Winograd

​George Hurrell

Germaine Krull

​Hans Bellmer

​James Bidgood

Kim Keever

​Lee Friedlander

Liam Wong

​Lotte Reiniger

Martin Schoeller

Mickalene Thomas

Miko Lagerstedt

​Miles Aldridge

Misha Gordin

Nan Goldin

​Nathan Wirth

Nick Knight

Oleg Oprisco

Oskar Fischinger

​Paolo Roversi

Paul Barson

​Richard Avedon

Tim Walker

​Sean Archer

​Tyler Shields

​Walker Evans

​Wes Anderson

​Yousuf Karsh

Kawaii retro girl in neon light with off shoulder shirt

A Guide to Cameras and Lenses

This section provides an overview of the tools that help bring creative visions to life. From retro to digital cameras and a variety of lenses, understanding their features and capabilities can empower artists to choose the right tool for their artistic goals.


Cinema Cameras

Digital Cameras

Retro Cameras

Film Types


Aaton LTR

Canon EOS 5D

Diana F+

Agfa Vista