In photography you will come across different ways to depict your subject matter. These ways are more commonly known as processes and include black and white or monochrome, color photography, full-spectrum and the latest to date - digital photography. The process which you use will create differing effects on the end result.
Lets take black and white photography, or monochrome photography. This process will only record the image in a single color or wavelength of light. Whenever you come across a black or white photograph, this is done through the monochrome process. Before the emergence of color in photography, this process was always used. These days, despite the option of color and other means, black and white imaging appeals to both beginners in the world of photography, due to its simplicity, and those who want to capture beauty and stop the aging process (its a well known fact black and white has more staying power than color). Furthermore, its the detailing in its composition, lighting, perspective and the context that attracts the viewer as opposed to the playfulness of color. To create photographs in black and white you will require a black and white film or you can manipulate color images by using computer software.
Then we come to color photography. This was all made possible due to the discovery of James Clerk Maxwell in the mid 19th century. What he discovered was that color photographs could be made using red, green and blue filters, a discovery which he showcased to the world in 1861. The process has developed greatly over time and can include the use of prints, roll and sheet films, transparencies with slides and color negatives.
Full- spectrum photography is necessary in many professional careers, like forensics and geology, providing a broad spectrum of a film or camera sensor bandwidth. It can be used to capture visible and near infrared and ultraviolet radiation, hence its use in the aforementioned sciences.
In contrast to the above methods, digital photography doesn't require any chemical processing. These photographs are often manipulated using digital and computer techniques. The convenience of this process makes it popular amongst commercial photographers and anyone who wants to publish their works over the world wide web. There is no doubt that the cost of digital photography as opposed to other methods, drops considerably if you can store your images on the computer and not have to print each one. A smaller sensor format allows for smaller lenses and wider zoom ranges.
Once you understand the different processes of photography, you can apply your knowledge to experiment with different genres such as portraiture, landscape and wildlife photography.
Portrait photography captures the similitude in a person or small group of people. Good examples of portrait photography are wedding photos. The idea is to capture the mood and expression on the subjects face and more often than not, that person will be looking towards the lens in a still position.
Nature, landscape and wildlife photography are very vast, but what they all have in common is the means to capture elements within nature, whether it be photographs of lions basking in the sun, scenic views of a mountain range or a close-up of a bunch of flowers. Many landscape photos exclude any human subjects and focus purely on the beauty of natural spaces. Landscapes are often created with such tools as a pinhole camera, or a large format camera and tripod, usually with a wide angle lenses (24 mm and 35 mm are especially popular).