Photography Essay Topics

Photography is one branch of the fine arts and since its conception it has evolved according to the necessity. Advances in the field have meant that photography has grown and become more popular, particularly with digital technology. As one of the emerging fields, photography can capture images and scenes and keeps them preserved for future generations. This has become one of the most important factors as well as the ability for the photographer to be more mobile using smartphones and smaller cameras with more capacity on them. Innovation as well as the numerous sociocultural impacts that photography as a field has harnessed, has become a popular topic for essay. It is important that when choosing your essay subject that you choose wisely and a topic which you are passionate about so that you can critically evaluate the use of photography in your chosen setting. Some subsections of topics for photography are identified below.


General Photography Topics

Photography has become a far more progressive topic with many sections to it. It is important that the right mix can be gained in order to engage the audience. Digital technology has advanced to the point that as soon as a photograph is taken it can be seen everywhere. As technology advances, more opportunities will become apparent in the field of photography which will promote the discipline to a higher level. Photography can be a career choice or a hobby. Below are some topics which can be explored.

  • The era of the selfie. How important is the selfie to identity and culture?
  • What factors are important to the individual when identifying photography as a hobby?
  • What improvements can be made to modern photography?
  • What has changed since the conception of the first camera?
  • How has the portrayal of war impacted on modern photography?
  • What is the role of photojournalism in modern society?
  • Can photography fully document the Covid-19 pandemic?

Ethical Photography in Society and Culture

It is important to understand the ethical considerations in the field of photography and how these can impact both negatively or positively on culture and society. The evolution of photography from black and white to colour has been a dynamic process. Development of photographs also has been decreased and photographers can now edit photographs by using digital technology. Here are some topics which are reflective of ethics in society and culture.

  • What role does ethics play in photography today?
  • Can more be done to protect the vulnerable from photographic exploitation? Provide examples.
  • Using editing suites. Can they be called unethical? Discuss.
  • Are personal ethics sufficient for the modern-day photographer?
  • Can photography be too intrusive?
  • How ethical is the process of photography in the age of advance technology and mass surveillance?


As technology advances, photographers are able to fully appreciate the need for autonomy and transparency. However, this may not always be possible, and the story may be worth more than the moral integrity of the photographer. Getting an original photograph is the definition of photojournalism and this is even more vital as the photography can be shared almost as quickly as it is taken. Photojournalism has become the template for getting information as it happens and passing it on to the individual/ media, etc. Originality and speed are key to this profession. Below are some ideas for topics.

  • Can photojournalism clearly portray war more clearly using modern technology?
  • Has mobile technology made photojournalism more productive?
  • What challenges do photojournalists face? Is it realistic to believe everything you see?
  • What are the key differences between photojournalism and the paparazzi?
  • Is modern technology destroying photojournalism?
  • Can photojournalism be used effectively to help raise money for charities?

Technological Advances in Photography

Technology has advanced with rapid speed which brings more diversity and challenges to the field of photography. There are several factors which can be evaluated here such as how photography has changed, and how this has changed the socio-cultural background. Ethics has also been drawn into this debate and how photography may be used unethically and for numerous reasons. Below are some topics which are related to this.

  • Has the ability to airbrush out imperfections presented challenges to photography?
  • What are the risks to the individual who strive towards their favourite celebrity portrayed through photographs?
  • Does the use of black and white photography capture landscapes clearer than using colour photography?
  • Discuss one era in photography which you believe is important to the development of the field.
  • What are the most important features of a good camera?
  • Has technological advancements in photography helped the development of communication systems and social media?
  • How has technological advancements helped to produce the best photography? Discuss the relevance of angles and approaches.

Digital Photography

Photography has rapidly grown with the development of digital technology since its conception in the 1990’s. A computer mediated approach to photography has been developed with the ability to enhance photographs significantly. The replacement of old technologies has been enhanced and improved using digital technology. More advanced methods have been introduced to allow photography to be adopted in the use of information technology. This improvement has made many major developments which can be seen in some of the topics below:

  • The impact on photography methods from the evolution of digital photography.
  • Has the advancement in digital technology in photography transformed how journalists perform and how the news is reported?
  • How effective can photography be as a visual storytelling in conflict situations?
  • The use of digital technology in photographs can present unique situations. Explore this and present examples.

The Evolution of Photography

While photography has evolved rapidly over the past decade, it is important to look back to its roots. A vast amount of development has taken place since photography was first created in 1839 and this can lead to interesting topics which can be viewed below:

  • Can photography provide a window into another world?
  • Identify how photography has evolved into its modern-day role?
  • How effective has photography been to detailing historical events? Investigate choosing one important event which was photographed and explain its relevance to the development of photography.
  • How has photography impacted on the political world? Discuss with references.



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