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Photography and Illustration

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"Photograph - I don't want your
Photograph - I don't need your
Photograph - all I've got is a photograph
But it's not enough"

Since humans first discovered they could smear pigments on rock walls to represent things, we have had visual images. From cave stencils of hands, to Renaissance paintings, to 1700s pencil drawings, to the first photograph in 1827, to 1970s pixel artnote , illustrations and photographs are the oldest two forms of visual works.

These tropes apply to anything related to creating still images, whether it be family photos, magazines, comics, etc.

Compare Camera Tricks, since photography lead to motion pictures.


  • Anomalous Art: Photographs with supernatural properties.
  • "Before" and "After" Pictures: An ad that shows a picture of a customer before they used a health or beauty product (often looking drab) and a picture depicting the customer after they used the product (looking beautiful).
  • Boring Vacation Slideshow: A slideshow of someone's vacation is considered boring to friends and family who have to watch it, especially if there's three shots of every statue and castle.
  • Blinding Camera Flash: Someone having their picture taken is blinded by the camera flash.
  • Bunny Ears Picture Prank: When two or more people are having a group photo taken, one person places their index and middle fingers behind another person's head to make it look like they have bunny ears.
  • Camera Fiend: A character who always has their camera and who is always snapping photos.
  • Camera Obscurer: A character takes a picture, only to later discover that the camera lens was covered.
  • Camera Sniper: A camera whose viewfinder looks like the optical scope on a sniper rifle.
  • Candids for Sale: Someone sells candid, often unauthorized photographs or videos of someone, typically a celebrity or VIP.
  • Colorization: Adding color to a photograph that was originally taken in black-and-white.
  • Convenient Photograph: A photograph just happens to share a piece of important information that characters wouldn't have otherwise known or capture a crucial image.
  • Creepy Changing Painting: A painting that changes every time a person looks away from it.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: A modern work is intentionally colored in black-and-white.
    • Splash of Color: Most of the work is in black-and-white, but some small details are in color.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: A visual image that is artistic and nonsensical.
  • Embarrassing Old Photo: Someone has an embarrassing, cringy photograph of when they were young and foolish.
  • Embarrassing Slide: A slide show somehow has an embarrassing photograph of the presenter unintentionally included with the other images.
  • Enhance Button: Impossible image enhancement depicted in crime shows.
  • Face on the Cover: Using a celebrity's face to sell a product or service.
  • Family Portrait of Characterization: A family portrait tells us something important about the members and their relationship.
  • Fatal Family Photo: Someone gets killed after showing or looking at a photo of their family, a spouse, or child, particularly in a war movie.
  • Fictional Painting: A work that focuses on a fictional in-universe painting.
  • First-Person Snapshooter: A gameplay element that requires you to take pictures of things.
  • Font Anachronism: When creators use fonts in their works that weren't even invented yet.
  • Former Friends Photo: An old photo shows that bitter enemies were once good friends.
  • Funny Photo Phrase: Someone says, or is asked to say, a silly phrase instead of "Cheese" when their photo is taken.
  • Furries Are Easier to Draw: An artist finds it easier to draw anthropomorphic animals than humans.
  • Group Picture Ending: The story closes on a group picture of the main cast.
  • Inconvenient Darkroom Illumination: A darkroom is suddenly illuminated at the worst possible moment, instantly ruining any photos that were being developed inside.
  • Last-Second Photo Failure: An attempt at a posed picture goes wrong just as the picture is taken.
  • Living Drawing: Artwork that has a mind of its own.
  • Midair Motion Shot: Anyone depicted on a vehicle is depicted in mid-air.
  • Mugshot Montage: A character who is arrested gets their mugshot taken.
  • Multi-Part Picture
  • Mustache Vandalism: Someone vandalizes a person's picture by drawing on it, often adding a mustache.
  • One-Track-Minded Artist: An artist who always draws the same thing.
  • Painting the Medium: Font, interface changes, or camera or editing tricks convey things about the story.
  • Photo-Booth Montage: We see people messing around in a photo booth by making as many funny faces as possible when the pictures are taken.
  • Photo Comic: A comic that is made using photographs of three-dimensional objects and/or real people.
  • Photo Doodle Recognition: Recognizing a person by drawing their disguise or distinguishing features on a photograph where they don't have them.
  • Photo Memento: Group of (heroic) characters celebrate the end/importance of an event by posing together for a photograph as a piece of history.
  • Photo Montage: a series of photographs featuring the main characters.
  • Photo Op with the Dog: A character makes a big show out of doing something nice, in order to better their image.
  • Photoshop Filter of Evil: Digitally editing a photograph of a person to make them look untrustworthy and vile.
  • Photos Lie: A photo doesn't show what happened before or after it was taken, leading to some lies.
  • Picture Day: Students attempt to look nice the whole school day so they will look nice for their school photo.
  • Pixellation: An image is censored using pixels.
  • Plot-Based Photograph Obfuscation: Part of a photo is obscured for plot related reasons.
  • Political Cartoons: Print cartoons and comics, often associated with newspaper editorials, which satirically comment on current events.
  • Portal Picture: A picture or painting can transport people to another world or dimension.
  • Portrait Painting Peephole: A character spies on others by looking through a peephole hidden in the eye(s) of a portrait.
  • Precious Photo: A person carries a photo of a loved one who isn't with them.
  • Removed from the Picture: After a nasty break up, a character cuts their former lover's image out of pictures of them together.
  • Ridiculously Photogenic: A character with an uncanny aptitude to look great in photos.
  • Secret Society Group Picture: The members of a (not so) secret society all posed for a group photo that provides damning evidence of their existence.
  • Selfie Fiend: A person completely obsessed with selfies.
  • Side-Story Bonus Art: Artists draw scenes of the characters doing things that aren't actually in the work.
  • Sleazy Photoshoot: A model is forced or manipulated into doing suspect things in a photoshoot, like taking risque shots or performing sexual acts.
  • Spooky Painting: A painted image that seems normal at first. It probably isn't.
  • Spooky Photographs: A photograph that contains haunting or foreboding images.
  • Symbolic Serene Submersion: A dead body is shown floating beneath the water, in a symbolic kind of way.
  • Unexpected Art Upgrade Moment: When art media upgrades or enlarges its detail to signify a special moment.
  • Unflattering ID Photo: A character's ID card has an unflattering picture of them.
  • We Will Not Use Photoshop in the Future: An obviously doctored photo isn't considered as being fake.

Alternative Title(s): Photography Tropes