What Is the Most Fun Type of Photograph to Take?

What Is the Most Fun Type of Photograph to Take?

One of the simplest questions that could be asked of photography, but surprisingly difficult to answer. What is the type of photograph you most enjoy taking?

The question seems straightforward, but it has some nuance. On the face of it, I could be asking what genre of photography is the most fun to take part in, but I want to go more granular than that. That is, I want to know exactly what type of shot you find the most enjoyable to take. For example, you might be a landscape photographer who loves making tranquil, minimalist, long exposures of water. Or perhaps you're a street photographer that lives for shooting in the late afternoon light for contrast-heavy images.

I'm not certain I can narrow down the exact species of photograph I find to be the most gratifying, but I'll walk you through my thought process of the contenders.

Panning Motorsport

Taken at Motorsport at the Palace, 2014. An incredible Ginetta G4 which sounded superb, if you're into that sort of thing. In fact, if you Google "Ginetta G4 Sound" one of the first videos you'll find is of this exact car and I am a trackside smudge capturing this very image.

Cars have been an obsession of mine since I was old enough to grasp the concept of what exactly they were. Naturally, when I got my first camera, I went out and took a few (dreadful) photos of interesting cars of people I knew. This lead to me attending a drift event a few hours from my house, and despite nearly getting hit by a car that had a blowout, only to then be stung twice by a wasp, I wanted more. From my drift images, I managed to secure press accreditation for Motorsport at the Palace in Crystal Palace. There I became hooked on trying to capture the cars that were competing using panning techniques.

To capture the subjects tack sharp (the lead image and the above image were taken in 2014 and using lackluster equipment, unfortunately, so they're a touch soft for my tastes, but they're in focus) and blur the background in any meaningful way takes practice. The speed at which you move the camera from left to right or right to left, how straight that line is, if the object moves closer or farther away, and knowing the right shutter speed are all key considerations. It's incredibly easy to miss a shot, or not drag the shutter enough, but when you get it right, it's incredible.

Insects in Flight

A Beefly (Bombyliidae) in flight. Taken in April 2015, the image took me just over 3 hours to capture (the beefly was oddly obsessed with staying in a certain area) and over 1,000 miss shots. I did manage to do it again a year later with another beefly and it took just under 2 hours and 400 misses!

I couldn't say for sure what it is about a macro that I enjoy so much; perhaps it's seeing things you'd otherwise miss entirely, perhaps it's chasing difficult shots, or perhaps it's something else entirely. Whatever the case, I enjoy macro photography more than almost any other genre. It can be incredibly frustrating looking for the right insect and then have it fly off, but somewhere along the line, I doubled down on that frustration and decided I wanted to photograph insects in flight, but at macro magnification. It all started with the hoverfly, which as its name suggests, is rather well suited for that practice. Then I moved on to bees, wasps, and the above, which is my crowning achievement thus far: the beefly. It is in fact, just a fly and nothing to do with a bee outside of how it looks, which means it darts around faster than your eyes can track. Fortunately, they frequent areas for up to an hour at a time, so if you're patient, the rewards are there.

This is certainly a niche type of photographs to enjoy taking, but diversity in photography is what keeps it interesting.

Drone Photography

Taken in Great Ashby, Hertfordshire with a DJI Mavic Air 2.

I am wide-eyed and fresh-faced when it comes to drones. As much as I've read about them, and content I've watched either on them or using them, I didn't own one until last month. In fact, I've only flown my drone once so far! It doesn't matter though; it's clear to me already that this is one of the most fun types of photographs to take. In many ways — and it's quite a bizarre parallel to draw — the allure for me is similar to that of macro photography, insofar as it's the unique perspective that I enjoy. Being able to see the world in a different way to how you've ever seen it before is as humbling as it is addictive. It also helps that you're piloting a remote control flying robot with a camera; that really does tick several boxes for me.

What Type of Photograph Do You Enjoy Taking the Most?

This is so far from an exhaustive list, and I'm not even certain it's my top three. It goes without saying that I love portraiture and I enjoy making those shots, but it's more results-driven than most genres, for me at least. I revel in the final product, after color grading, after retouching, after completing the ultimate vision. While I enjoy the process of taking the portrait, it's merely part of a larger process, whereas the above nominations are more self-contained in the way that I enjoy them.

What are the most enjoyable shots for you to take? Do you live for those long exposure shots of rushing water amidst rocks? Do you trek out into the wilderness at the darkest hour to capture the milky way? Do you vibrate with excitement at the notion of capturing live music? All three of those could have made my list. So, let's hear your nominations for the most fun type of image to create. Share yours in the comment section below.

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11 Comments

Matthias Kirk's picture

I always have a blast shooting dogs in action!
Some Off Camera Flash makes things even more exciting for me.

Chris Cameron's picture

Panning insect photography using your drone?

Marc Bee's picture

Funnest?

Matthew Mastrandrea's picture

I'm a climbing photographer primarily, and it is undoubtedly my favorite kind of photo to take. For starters, you get to hangout in beautiful places with great people. Climbing showcases a wide range of human emotions, as well. Fear, doubt, determination, surprise, and joy, all in a short amount of time. I also find it fun to jug up a static rope and take photos mid air.

Trey Mortensen's picture

I love doing climbing shots. I've been left on a neighboring route for an hour while I shot my friends doing a cool overhang route. Totally worth it!

Trey Mortensen's picture

Back when I was single, my favorite type of shot to do was light painting. It was so easy to get my non-photog friends into it. We played with torches, candles, flashlights, and steel wool (shown and probably most overdone). It was awesome to see the creativity of my friends who didn't consider themselves creative, even if the shot didn't turn out. Are they the best photos? No, but they're fun to do. And isn't having fun the most important part? Sadly, I haven't done it since I got married. I really need to fix that...

Robert K Baggs's picture

Ah, light painting is a great call!

Nox Vega's picture

I find drone photography extremely boring. You fly up there a few times, look around and that's it. The view doesn't change.
Macro is fun because you can do it in your backyard.
Panning cars is also fun. But rally and drifting is even more fun.

Graham Taylor's picture

I find air/air the most satisfying in one click as it were - you get to see the result immediately and find out whether the planning and the comms paid off. In fast-jet stuff it's a real test of strength and endurance too.

But I enjoy the slower pace and creativity of studio work. The controlled environment means you're never fighting anything other than the product itself and you can take the time to create something truly unique.

Stuart Carver's picture

Motorsport is definitely a fun subject, had some good mornings at our local circuit with the bikes and Caterhams... the best fun we had during lockdown was taking this though, using off camera flash to illuminate the bottle and an LED torch for the lighting effect, also set up the black side of a large reflector as the back drop, the reflection was our patio table in the back garden.