Photography is brilliant, anyone can pick up a camera and start taking photos and having fun.
But pick up a camera manual or photography magazine and you discover that it has a language all of it’s own.
In order to make it slightly less intimidating I have gathered together 30 of the most commonly used terms and explanations for them.
1) Exposure: The amount of light captured by your camera’s sensor, or film.
2) ISO: Film speed expressed as a number indicating the film’s sensitivity to light, the higher the number, the more sensitive the film is.
3) Aperture: The opening through which light enters the lens.
4) F-Stop: refers to the size of the aperture.
5) Focus: The area your camera is trying to photograph, that will be crisp and not blurry.
6) Depth of Field: How much of the foreground and background is in focus in front and behind your subject.
7) Shutter Speed: The length of time the shutter is open at a given setting.
8) White Balance: The colour balance which often needs to be adjusted to look more natural in different lighting scenarios.
9) Macro: A close up photo, generally taken 2-4 inches from the subject.
10) JPEG: the standard for file compression, reduces digital files to around 5% of their original size.
11) Lag Time: The time between depressing the shutter button and the photo being taken.
12) Digital Zoom: A lens that crops and enlarges an image, leading to loss of detail.
13) Optical Zoom: The name for a lens that allows you to change it’s magnification, bringing an object ‘closer’ without losing detail.
14) : Derived from the Japanese for focus, describes the aesthetic quality of the blurred section of a photograph with a shallow depth of field.
15) Golden Hour: The hour after sunrise and before sunset, when the sun is low, shadows are long and the light is golden and buttery.
16) Prime Lens: A lens with a fixed focal length.
17) Focal Length: The distance between the centre of a lens and the sensor.
18) Wide Open: A lens at it’s widest aperture (smallest f-stop number).
19) Wide Angle: A lens with a focal length smaller than 50mm.
20) Telephoto: A lens with a focal length greater than 50mm.
21) Full Frame: 36x24mm sensor which is smaller than a 35mm frame of film, allowing the sensor to record the full angle of view offered by the lens.
22) Clipping: When you over or under expose an image, causing parts of the histogram to be ‘clipped off’ at the sides.
23) Fish Eye: A lens with a super wide field of vision covering up to 180 degrees.
24) Hot Shoe: A live socket on the camera for attaching accessories such as a flash gun or microphone.
25) Dynamic Range: The range between the darkest and the lightest areas of an image. A wide dynamic range means more detail in these areas.
26) RAW: The raw data file created by your camera, captures all the detail available meaning the file can be adjusted in more detail during the editing process. Also known as a digital negative.
27) Vignetting: When the edges of an image are darker due to the lens inability to distribute light to the edges. This effect can also be added or removed during the editing process.
28) Noise: The appearance of ‘artifacts’ in an image taken with a high ISO. Noise is the digital equivalent of grain in film photography.
29) Post Processing: Any editing done after the image has been taken. Popular programs used for this include Photoshop, Lightroom, Photoshop Elements, GIMP, iPhoto or Picassa.
30) Saturation: The depth of colours within a photograph.
I hope this article has been helpful, as always, if you have any questions just send me an email or leave a comment below and I’ll do the best I can to help.