Home Photography A Glossary of 69 Essential Photographic Terms

A Glossary of 69 Essential Photographic Terms

by kyngsam


Are you overwhelmed or confused by pictures terminology? Do you wish to converse “photographer” like the professionals?

That’s what this text is all about.

I’ll go over a few of the most typical technical pictures phrases in addition to some much less widespread slang and photographer jargon. By the tip, I promise you should have a greater grasp of the language. You’ll even be capable to have a dialog with a seasoned professional and maintain your personal!

Let’s get began.

Primary pictures phrases

These are the pictures phrases you’ll discover in your digital camera’s guide and in most newbie tutorials:

  • Aperture – The variable opening within the lens via which mild passes to the movie or digital sensor. Aperture is measured in f-stops. I like to match it to your pupil, which opens and closes to permit roughly mild into your eye relying on the brightness degree of the room.
  • Bracketing – Taking a collection of pictures at completely different exposures. You may even see a setting in your digital camera that claims AEB (auto publicity bracketing). Bracketing is usually used when creating HDR pictures or in troublesome lighting conditions the place you might wish to have a spread of exposures from mild to darkish.
  • Bulb – the “B” setting in your digital camera the place the shutter stays open for so long as the button or cable launch (distant set off) is pressed.
  • DSLR – A digital single-lens reflex digital camera. Any digital digital camera with interchangeable lenses the place the picture is seen utilizing a mirror and prism and the picture is taken straight via the lens. What you see in your viewfinder is what the lens sees.
  • EV – Publicity worth; this can be a quantity that represents the assorted completely different combos of aperture and shutter velocity that may create the identical publicity impact.
  • Exposure compensation – Modifying the shutter velocity or aperture from the digital camera’s really useful publicity to create a sure impact or right for publicity issues. Your digital camera reads mild bouncing off your topic and is designed to reveal for medium grey. So when photographing a topic that’s lighter or darker than 18% grey, you need to use this setting to inform the digital camera the right publicity (by dialing in – or + publicity compensation).
  • Exposure – The overall quantity of sunshine reaching the digital sensor. It’s decided by the aperture, shutter velocity, and ISO.
  • F-stop – A measure of the aperture opening within the lens outlined by dividing the focal size of the lens by the aperture diameter. The sequence of f-stops options multiples of the sq. root of two (1.4): 1, 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22, and so forth. Although these numbers are relatively cryptic, ensure that to keep in mind that every step is double the quantity of sunshine. Know that, and also you’ve received half the battle.
  • ISO – Represents the sensitivity of your digital camera’s digital sensor to mild. The decrease the quantity (ISO 100), the much less delicate to mild; the upper the quantity (ISO 3200), the extra delicate to mild. A better ISO lets you shoot in low-light situations.
  • Shutter speed – The period of time the shutter is open throughout an publicity. The shutter velocity controls the looks of movement. Use a quick shutter velocity (corresponding to 1/2000s) to freeze movement or a gradual shutter velocity (corresponding to 1/30s or longer) to blur transferring objects.
  • Zoom lens – Any lens that has a variable focal size, corresponding to a 24-70mm or an 18-55mm lens. You typically zoom in or out by rotating the barrel of the lens.
  • Prime or fixed lens – Any lens that doesn’t zoom and encompasses a set focal size, corresponding to a nifty 50mm lens.
  • Distant set off or digital cable launch – A tool that enables the digital camera to be fired with out urgent the shutter button or touching the digital camera. Helps get rid of digital camera motion throughout lengthy exposures.
  • Macro lens – A lens that focuses very near a topic, so you possibly can seize extremely detailed, magnified pictures.
  • “Regular” lens – Usually a 50mm lens (on a full-frame digital camera). This lens intently parallels what the human eye sees. If in case you have a crop-sensor digital camera, a “regular” lens can be nearer to 35mm.
  • Telephoto lens – Presents a tighter discipline of view than a standard lens (i.e., it takes extra magnified pictures). Usually from round 70mm to 300mm. An excellent-telephoto lens is often 300mm or longer.
  • Large-angle lens – A lens that encompasses a wider discipline of view than a standard lens. Usually spans from over 10mm to underneath 50mm. Relying on the focal size, there can also be edge distortion (i.e., in tremendous wide-angle lenses).
  • Tilt-shift lens – A special-effect lens. Permits for realignment of the airplane of focus (tilt). Permits for adjusting the location of the topic throughout the body with out angling the digital camera, thus protecting parallel strains from converging (shift). A well-liked lens for architectural and panorama photographers and is changing into extra extensively utilized by portrait photographers to create a novel, stylized look.
  • Camera resolution – The size your digital camera’s sensor is able to capturing, expressed in megapixels. This isn’t the one consider picture high quality, however the higher the decision, the bigger the prints you possibly can produce with out vital lack of high quality (typically talking).
  • JPEG vs RAW – Two completely different picture file sorts. Most cameras have the power to shoot in JPEG and RAW. When you select JPEG, the digital camera will shoot a RAW file, course of it utilizing the image type you’ve chosen in your menu, reserve it as a JPEG, and discard the RAW model. When you select RAW, the ensuing file can be bigger, carry extra data, and require software program to course of. It offers you – the photographer – extra management over the ultimate look of the picture.
  • Full-frame vs crop/APS-C sensor – A full-frame sensor is roughly the dimensions of 35mm movie. Most lenses create a circle of sunshine simply massive sufficient to cowl the 35mm sensor space. However in a crop-sensor digital camera, the bodily dimension of the sensor is smaller; it solely captures a portion of your entire picture the lens is projecting, successfully cropping out a part of the shot. Widespread crop components are 1.5x and 1.6x, so in case you use a 50mm lens on an APS-C digital camera, it affords a 75mm focal size equal.
  • Camera modes – There are 4 commonplace digital camera modes. Auto mode selects settings with out consumer enter. Handbook mode permits the consumer to regulate the ISO, shutter velocity, and aperture. Shutter Precedence mode permits the consumer to pick the ISO and shutter velocity whereas the digital camera selects the aperture. Aperture Priority mode permits the consumer to pick the ISO and aperture whereas the digital camera picks the shutter velocity. Program mode permits the consumer to pick the ISO whereas the digital camera picks the aperture and shutter velocity.

Lighting and portrait pictures phrases

  • Ambient mild – Additionally known as out there mild. Ambient mild happens within the scene with out including any flash or mild modifiers. It may be daylight, or it may be synthetic mild corresponding to tungsten or fluorescent bulbs.
  • Fundamental mild or key mild – The principle mild supply for {a photograph}. It may very well be the solar, a studio strobe, a flash, a reflector, or one thing else. It’s the supply that produces the sample of sunshine on the topic with probably the most depth.
  • Fill light – The sunshine supply that’s secondary to the important thing mild. Used to “fill” within the shadows. Could be produced with a flash, a reflector, or a studio strobe.
  • Lighting pattern – The best way the sunshine falls on the topic’s face (e.g., at a 45-degree angle).
  • Lighting ratio – A comparability between the depth (brightness) of the principle mild and the fill mild. In different phrases: the distinction between the lit and shadow sides of the topic’s face.
  • Incident mild meter – A handheld gadget that measures the quantity of sunshine falling on a topic. An incident meter isn’t fooled by the brightness vary of the topic, whereas in-camera reflective meters will be fooled (leading to overexposure and underexposure).
  • Speedlight – A small, transportable flash that may connect to your digital camera’s sizzling shoe or stand by itself when activated remotely.
  • Reflector – A tool used to replicate mild (typically again towards the topic). It may be a specialised, factory-made reflector (I like to recommend getting a 5-in-1), or a bit of white cardboard.
  • Mild meter – A tool that measures the quantity of sunshine in a scene. Just about all fashionable cameras supply a built-in mild meter, although it makes use of reflective readings (see the entry on incident mild meters, above).
  • Distant flash set off – A tool used to fireplace speedlights off-camera.
  • Subtractive lighting – Taking away mild to create a darker look. It usually includes holding a reflector or an opaque panel over the topic’s head to dam mild from above and open up deep eye shadows brought on by overhead lighting. It could possibly additionally contain holding a black reflector reverse your primary mild to create a deeper shadow (i.e., primarily reflecting black onto the topic as a substitute of sunshine.)
  • Hard light – Harsh or non-diffused mild corresponding to that produced by vibrant daylight, a small speedlight, or an on-camera flash. Creates harsh shadows with well-defined edges, distinction, and texture (if used at an angle to the topic). Emphasizes texture, strains, and wrinkles. Usually used to create a extra dramatic sort of portrait.
  • Soft light – Subtle mild, corresponding to that from an overcast sky, north-facing window with no direct mild, or a big studio softbox. Any such mild produces delicate shadows with delicate edges, decrease distinction, and fewer texture. Tender mild is usually most popular by most wedding ceremony and portrait photographers as a result of it flatters the topic.
  • Edge switch – How shortly shadow edges go from darkish to mild. With harsh mild, the sting switch may be very outlined and sudden (nearly a transparent line). With delicate lighting, the sting switch is rather more refined – nearly imperceptible – because it regularly adjustments from darkish to mild.
  • Flash sync – The synchronization of the firing of an digital flash and the shutter velocity. It is advisable know what shutter velocity your digital camera syncs at; in any other case, in case you use a too-fast shutter velocity, you might get {a partially} illuminated picture. For many cameras, the sync velocity is round 1/200s.

Slang and pictures jargon

Listed here are a number of different pictures phrases which are a bit extra superior (together with some wacky jargon and slang!). Develop into acquainted with this terminology so you possibly can discuss to professionals with confidence.

  • Quick glass – Refers to a lens with a really massive most aperture (corresponding to f/1.Eight or f/1.2). The lens is “quick” as a result of it helps you to shoot with a quick shutter velocity.
  • Chimping – Slang time period for wanting in the back of your digital camera after each picture. Has a unfavourable connotation; in case you chimp, you’re spending an excessive amount of time reviewing pictures on the digital camera and never sufficient time capturing.
  • Bokeh – The out-of-focus blurred bits in a picture background. Most frequently bokeh happens when small mild sources are within the background.
  • Depth of field (DOF or DoF) – The gap between the closest and farthest objects in your scene that seem in focus. Managed by many components, together with the aperture, lens focal size, and distance to the topic.
  • Hyperfocal distance – The main focus distance offering the utmost depth of discipline for a selected aperture and focal size. Older prime lenses usually have hyperfocal distance marks to assist to find this depth-of-field candy spot. With immediately’s lenses, it’s doable to calculate the hyperfocal distance, nevertheless it takes a bit extra work and a hyperfocal distance calculator.
  • Gobo – One thing used to dam undesirable or stray mild from falling onto the topic. Usually the darkish facet of a reflector is used as a gobo.
  • Scrim – A translucent gadget used to diffuse and soften the sunshine. Is usually a reflector with a translucent panel. Scrims will be made extraordinarily massive and clamped in place to create shade even in direct daylight.
  • Shutter lag – The slight delay from the time you press the shutter button to the time the shutter truly opens. In DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, shutter lag is minimal and nearly unnoticeable. In smaller point-and-shoot cameras, the delay is extra pronounced (and may trigger you to overlook photographs of fast-moving topics).
  • Chromatic aberration – Coloration fringing that may seem in areas of pictures the place darkish meets mild (e.g., the sting of a constructing in opposition to the sky). CA is correctable to a terrific diploma utilizing Photoshop, Lightroom, and most different enhancing software program.
  • Rear-curtain sync – Rear-curtain sync fires the flash on the finish of an publicity. By default, most cameras are set to front-curtain sync (i.e., if the flash fires, it does so in the beginning of the publicity). When capturing a transferring topic, front-curtain sync will put any movement blur in entrance of the topic, whereas rear-curtain sync will place the blur behind the topic. Neither is flawed; it is determined by the impact you’re after.
  • Camera shake – When a digital camera strikes throughout an publicity and creates blur.
  • Lens flare – Stray mild that creates haze, circles, or different artifacts in a picture. Some photographers truly need lens flare; they place their cameras to create flare and use it as a compositional factor.
  • Kelvin – Absolutely the measurement of colour temperature. Decrease numbers symbolize hotter colours like orange (tungsten mild), whereas the upper numbers are cooler (blues). Play with the colour temperature to create completely different results.
  • ND filter – Stands for impartial density filter. It’s a filter designed to go in entrance of the lens to dam out a few of the mild coming into the digital camera. Usually utilized by panorama photographers to get gradual shutter speeds when photographing waterfalls and streams in full daylight.
  • Panning – The act of utilizing a gradual shutter velocity and transferring the digital camera in the identical route as a transferring topic. Creates an inventive, blurred background.
  • Stopping down – Closing down the aperture to a smaller opening (e.g., going from f/5.6 to f/8).
  • TTL and ETTL – TTL stands for via the lens; it refers back to the metering system in regard to flash publicity. The flash emits mild till it’s turned off by the digital camera sensor. ETTL stands for evaluative through-the-lens metering. It fires a “preflash” to judge and calculate for misplaced mild, then compensates and fires the principle flash. It occurs so quick you don’t see two flashes.
  • Photog – Quick for “photographer.” One thing professionals usually name one another.
  • Glass – A lens. As in, “What glass do you personal?”
  • Golden hour – Additionally referred to as “magic hour.” That is the hour or two proper earlier than sundown and proper after dawn. The solar is low on the horizon, and it’s an optimum time for pictures.
  • Spray and pray – Shoot as many pictures as doable whereas praying you get one thing good.
  • Blown out – A picture with no particulars within the white areas.
  • Clipped – Both blown out areas (above) or darkish, detailless shadows.
  • Grip-and-grin – A fast photoshoot at an occasion or a setup with two individuals shaking arms. Most portrait and occasion photographers must shoot these sooner or later of their careers.
  • Selfie – A self-portrait.
  • SOOC – Straight out of digital camera; a picture with no post-processing.
  • Mud bunnies – Darkish spots that seem on a picture brought on by bits of mud on the digital sensor.
  • Pixel peeper – Somebody who spends an excessive amount of time taking a look at pictures magnified in Photoshop.
  • Nifty fifty – A 50mm prime lens. Nice to have!
  • ACR – Adobe Digital camera Uncooked. The enhancing software program that’s packaged alongside Photoshop.
  • Flash and drag – The strategy of utilizing a gradual shutter velocity mixed with flash to seize extra of the ambient mild in proportion to the flash.
  • Large open – Utilizing your lens with the aperture at its widest setting (f/1.8, for instance).

Photography terminology: remaining phrases

Whew! That was a lengthy listing. When you made it this far, congratulations; you know the way to make use of pictures phrases like a professional.

So get on the market and begin working towards your pictures terminology. Make sure you have numerous enjoyable!

Now over to you:

What pictures phrases do you wrestle with? Do you’ve any extra phrases I ought to add to this listing? Share your ideas within the feedback under!





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