Fashion-forward woman with sunglasses in a vibrant retro setting. - Art Glossary

The Creative’s Compendium: A Comprehensive Art Glossary for Photography and Cinematography Styles, and More

What defines an artist? Is it the tools they choose, the skills they master, or the vision they express? I’ve been pondering these questions for a long time, as I experimented with different forms of art and creativity. That’s why I created this ongoing art glossary, to help me with my next adventure: AI art. Many people think AI is just a way to automate art, and maybe that’s true for now, but I believe there’s more to it.

AI is still a young and evolving field, and I think we’ll have more and more control over how we direct it and what we want it to do. And that’s where authenticity comes in. How do we make AI art that reflects who we are and what we feel? How do we reconcile AI and authenticity? It sounds like a contradiction.

I never planned to become a photographer. It all started as a hobby, a way to collect textures for my 3D animation and visual effects projects. I bought a DSLR camera and started snapping away, without much thought or skill. To my surprise, people liked my photos. They called me a ‘photographer’. I felt like an impostor.

But then something changed. I began to see photography as more than just a tool. I saw it as an art form, a way to express myself and connect with others. I discovered the power of storytelling, of capturing moments and emotions. I found my niche in the fitness and fashion industries, where I could create meaningful images that inspired and motivated people.

But I also faced a challenge. I met many ‘photographers’ who were obsessed with their gear and their techniques. They made me feel insecure and inadequate. Was I a ‘photographer’ because I used a camera? Or were they the real photographers because of their technical expertise?

Then I stumbled upon AI and its amazing possibilities for creativity. This opened up a whole new world for me. A world where I could experiment, explore, and innovate. A world where I could collaborate with a machine that could generate art.

But this also raised some 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 choose Stable Diffusion over the other AI generated apps. I didn’t want the AI to create art for me. I wanted to guide it and shape it according to my vision.

How to Use this Art Glossary for Optimal Prompt Engineering

This guide is a personal art glossary for me that I’d like to share with you. It will grow over time and will offer a comprehensive roadmap for prompt engineering, using keywords from Photography and Cinematography. You can use it to craft prompts that capture specific aesthetics, shot types, or lighting styles. Each section is linked to a detailed article that explains the topic in depth. The goal is to help you write prompts that are not only visually appealing, but also technically accurate and contextually rich.

For example, if you want to write a prompt that requires a certain aesthetic, you can check out the ‘Aesthetics & Cinematographic Styles’ section. This will help you to write a prompt that reflects the essence of the aesthetic. Likewise, for prompts that involve particular shot types or lighting styles, you can refer to the ‘Cinematography Cinematic Shots’ and ‘Lighting Styles in Photography and Cinematography’ sections respectively, for useful guidance.

In short, 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. Use this guide as a reference tool, a study guide, or a spark for inspiration as you navigate the world of prompt engineering.

The Creative’s Compendium: A Comprehensive Art Glossary for Photography and Cinematography Styles, and More

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.

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 PhotographyAnalogue PhotographyPolaroid PhotographyInstant PhotographyBeauty Photography
CandidDocumentaryGlamour PhotographyHigh FashionLarge Format
Lifestyle PhotographyModernistPaparazziPictorialist StylePinhole Photography
Street FashionSurrealistTintype PhotographyEnvironmental PortraitsEditorial Portraits
Conceptual PortraitsBusiness PortraitsFamily PortraitsMaternity PortraitsNewborn Portraits
Boudoir PortraitsFitness PhotographyFine Art PhotographyNude Art PhotographyDouble Exposure
Expired Polaroid FilmPhoto NovellaHeadshot PhotographyFine Art PortraitUnderwater Portrait
Smoke Bomb PortraitLevitation PortraitSilhouette PortraitInfrared PortraitComposite Portrait
Bokeh PortraitSplit Lighting PortraitHigh Key PortraitLow Key PortraitPhoto Comic
Long ExposureCross-ProcessingCinematicNeon LightingPolaroid Style

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 & DetailCharacter RelationshipCamera AnglePOV & MovementOther
Close Up On FaceOver-the-Shoulder ShotLow Angle / Low AnglePoint of View (POV) ShotEstablishing Shot
Full BodyTwo-ShotEye Level AngleOverhead ShotMaster Shot
Head ShotThree-ShotDutch AngleTop ShotSingle Shot
Upper BodyGroup ShotWorm’s Eye ViewBird’s Eye ShotDetail Shot
Medium Close UpSingle ShotHigh Angle Shot / High AngleReaction ShotInsert Shot
Extreme Close UpCross ShotFlat AngleFollow ShotCutaway Shot
Long ShotMulti-ShotOblique AngleWhip PanWide Shot
Medium ShotSplit ShotAerial ShotTilt ShotCowboy Shot
Full ShotReaction ShotUnderwater ShotDolly ShotProfile 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 MovementsShot Sizes and AnglesCutting TechniquesPoint of ViewMiscellaneous
Aerial ShotHigh Angle ShotJump CutPoint of View (POV) ShotOver-the-Shoulder Shot
Arc ShotLow Angle ShotSmash CutTwo-ShotSingle Shot
Crane ShotEye Level ShotCross-cuttingSubjective ShotGroup Shot
Dolly ShotDutch AngleMatch CutOverhead ShotEstablishing Shot
Tracking ShotWorm’s Eye ViewFade In/OutTop ShotReaction Shot
Zoom ShotBird’s Eye ShotDissolveProfile ShotMontage
Tilt ShotAmerican ShotIris In/OutHand-held ShotSequence Shot
Pan ShotThree-ShotWipeLong TakeInsert Shot
Whip PanTwo-ShotL CutSteadicam ShotCutaway Shot
Master ShotGroup ShotJ CutReverse Angle ShotWhip Zoom Shot

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 LightArtificial LightMixed LightHard LightSoft Light
Direct LightIndirect LightLow Key LightingHigh Key LightingRembrandt Lighting
Split LightingLoop LightingBroad LightingShort LightingButterfly Lighting
Flat LightingSide LightingTop LightingUnder LightingSilhouette Lighting
Frontal LightingChiaroscuro LightingThree-Point LightingFour-Point LightingHigh Contrast Lighting
Low Contrast LightingMotivated LightingMagic Hour LightingGolden Hour LightingBlue Hour Lighting
Twilight LightingDay for NightNight for DayBeauty LightingParamount Lighting
Hollywood LightingClamshell LightingBack LightingRim LightingFill Lighting
Key LightingAmbient LightingPractical LightingDappled LightReflected Light
Soft Diffused LightWindow LightMorning LightAfternoon LightEvening Light
CandlelightSunlightMoonlightNeon LightingShadow Light / Shadow Play
Bounce LightFill-FlashCross LightingRimlit / Edge LightingBroad and Short Lighting
Hatchet LightingContraluz / SilhouettingOvercast LightDawn LightDusk Light
Low KeySandwich LightingCameo LightingLight TentOutdoor Reflector Light
Outdoor Shadow LightDiffused BacklightBarndoorsStroboscopic EffectStage Lighting
Video LightingFill LightCatchlightsBacklighting (Hair Light)Reflected Backlighting
Video LightingFill LightCatchlightsBacklighting (Hair Light)Reflected Backlighting
Up LightingDown LightingGod RaysFlash PhotographyCinematic Lighting

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 AdamsDorothea LangeRobert CapaRichard AvedonHenri Cartier-Bresson
Steve McCurryDiane ArbusIrving PennMan RayAlfred Stieglitz
Margaret Bourke-WhiteAnnie LeibovitzCindy ShermanSebastião SalgadoAndreas Gursky
​Simon J. Morton​Ryan Astamendi​Brett SeeleyAndreas Gursky​Sebastião Salgado
​Cindy ShermanNirav PatelMargaret Bourke-White​Alfred Stieglitz​Man Ray
​Irving Penn​Diane ArbusSteve McCurryRichard AvedonHenri Cartier-Bresson
​Robert Capa​Dorothea LangeAnsel Adams​Alex TimmermansAlfred Stieglitz
Ando FuchsAnne Brigman​August SanderBrandon WoelfelChris Friel
David LaChapelleEugene AtgetGarry WinogradGeorge HurrellGermaine Krull
Hans Bellmer​James BidgoodKim KeeverLee FriedlanderLiam Wong
​Lotte ReinigerMartin SchoellerMickalene ThomasMiko LagerstedtMiles Aldridge
Misha GordinNan Goldin​Nathan WirthNick KnightOleg Oprisco
Oskar FischingerPaolo RoversiPaul BarsonRichard AvedonTim Walker
​Sean Archer​Tyler Shields​Walker EvansWes Anderson​Yousuf Karsh

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 CamerasDigital CamerasRetro CamerasFilm TypesLens
Aaton LTRCanon EOS 5DDiana F+Agfa Vista50mm
​ARRI ALEXA 65Fujifilm X-T4Hasselblad 500CMCinestill 800T8mm Fisheye Lens
Bolex H16GoPro HeroHOLGA 120nEktar 100Voigtländer
RED Digital CinemaHasselblad X1D IIKodak BrownieIlford HP5 Plus
Nokton 50mm f1.1
Canon Cinema EOS C300 Mark IIILumix GH5
Kodak Funsaver
Kodak Vision3 IMAX35mm Lens
Sony VenicePentax 645ZLeica M3
Kodak Vision3
85mm Portrait Lens
Panasonic Varicam LTSony A7IIIRolleiflexLomochrome color film70-200mm Telephoto Zoom Lens
Blackmagic Design Ursa Mini Pro 4.6K G2Leica T
Polaroid SX-70

Porta 160
100mm Macro Lens
ARRI AmiraNikon Z7 IINikon F3
Tri-X 400
24-70mm Standard Zoom Lens
RED KomodoOlympus OM-D E-M1 Mark IIICanon AE-1
Velvia 100
14-24mm Wide-Angle Zoom Lens
AJA CIONSigma fp LContax RTSFujicolor Pro300mm Super Telephoto Lens

Color and Aesthetics

An Overview of Filters and Photographic Effects

Filters and photographic effects offer limitless potential for artists to manipulate and enhance their work. They can drastically alter the mood, tone, and overall look of a photo or film, providing an added layer of creativity and complexity.

black and whitecolor filterbokehdesaturated grunge filterOrton Effect
Cross-ProcessingLo-FiMonochromeToy CameraLight Leak
dreamy hazeglitch stylehologram effectinfrared filterlens flare
sepia tonesoft focussolarizedlong exposureND filter
overexposedtechnicolorunderexposedvignetteCross Processing Effect
CollageDouble ExposureInfraredSelective ColorSplit Tone

Exploration of Aesthetics & Cinematographic Styles

Every artist has a unique way of seeing and interpreting the world. This section explores various aesthetics and cinematographic styles that are popular today, showcasing how artists can create distinct visual narratives that reflect their personal vision.

Classic Hollywood CinemaGerman ExpressionismFrench New WaveItalian NeorealismJapanese New Wave
New HollywoodFilm NoirWes Anderson StyleHigh ContrastLow Key
High KeySepia ToneBlack and WhiteNeon Punk​Kawaii
Cyberpunk80’s AestheticRetroPastelMinimalist
Neo NoirGrittyGrungeNaturalisticSurreal
Magical Realism​DreamyRusticStreetMonochromatic
BohemianFuturistic/FuturismGothicSurrealistHigh Fashion
Near FutureSin CityNeon NoirPunk AestheticHipster Aesthetic
Documentary-stylePop ArtAbstractIndustrialGlitch
PsychedelicDuotone​Color SplashHolga-esqueHipster Vintage
Gothic Slasher FilmParanormal HorrorPsychological HorrorZombie Apocalypse
Boho AestheticMinimalist Harajuku AestheticGlam AestheticPreppy Aesthetic
HorrorNoon PunkSporty AestheticNautical AestheticRockabilly Aesthetic
Lolita AestheticFairy Kei AestheticVaporwave AestheticDark Academia Light Academia
E-girl AestheticE-boy AestheticSoft Girl AestheticSoft Boy AestheticBaddie Aesthetic
Indie AestheticY2K AestheticArt Hoe AestheticK-pop AestheticMoroccan Aesthetic
Hawaiian AestheticSafari AestheticMilitary AestheticWestern AestheticRave Aesthetic
Space AestheticWitch AestheticRoyal AestheticHippie AestheticMod Aesthetic
Skater AestheticSurfer AestheticBiker AestheticGamer AestheticAnime Aesthetic
Flapper AestheticRegency AestheticVictorian AestheticMedieval AestheticBladerunner Aesthetic
Pulp comics90’s Vintage MagazineSuper Model 90’sStyle of outrunRenaissance
BaroqueRoaring Twenties Rock and RollHanfu AestheticTechwear Aesthetic
Fusion Wear AestheticSustainable Fashion AestheticShibuya AestheticMori Girl AestheticGyaru Aesthetic
Larme Kei AestheticVisual Kei AestheticDecora AestheticOtome Kei AestheticUra-Hara Aesthetic


Photography and cinematography are captivating forms of art that blend technical skills with creative vision. By understanding the language of shots, mastering the use of lighting, exploring different aesthetics, employing various camera gear and filters, and learning from the masters, you can significantly enhance your artistic capabilities.

However, the value of this knowledge extends beyond just creating beautiful images and compelling narratives. It also serves as a powerful tool in image prompting or prompt engineering. Whether you’re a content creator, a visual artist, or simply someone passionate about the visual arts, being fluent in these elements will enable you to guide your creative process more effectively and achieve your desired results with greater precision.

This blog is intended to be a continually updated resource, an evolving encyclopedia of styles, techniques, and artistic perspectives. As such, your input is invaluable. If there’s an artist, style, technique, or piece of equipment you’d like us to explore further, please leave a comment below. Your contribution will enrich this resource and help us build a comprehensive guide that everyone can use as a reference and draw inspiration from.

By sharing and learning from each other, we can all contribute to the rich and diverse world of visual storytelling.

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