Photography terms are numerous and can be super confusing for new photographers to get their heads around. But having a good understanding of the photography terms used to describe essential processes will help you enjoy photography a lot more.
Some of the technical jargon is just that, jargon. Listening to two photographers having a conversation seems like they may be speaking a different language. All the technical terms have little or no meaning outside of photography.
Without knowing at least the most essential of these photography terms, you will struggle to learn photography, let alone have an intelligent-sounding conversation about it. Like anything you learn, the more often you practice, the easier it becomes. The more you use the photography terms and jargon, the quicker they will become a natural part of your vocabulary.
Every article and course we publish is full of photography terms. Personally, I always aim to remove as much jargon as possible from my writings and teaching. The aim of this is to help new photographers who may not have learned the photography vocabulary yet. I also do this to help people who do not have English as their first language.
We hope this photography terms glossary will be a valuable resource for all photographers who visit photographycourse.net. Use it to help you better understand the myriads of photography terms, acronyms, and numbers that frequently appear along with anything to do with photography. This photography terms glossary will help you understand and make better use of photography terminology. Add it to your bookmarks now!
The Glossary of Photography Terms by PhotographyCourse.net
A-D Converter (or ADC) –
This is a chip in digital cameras with the function of converting light photons into electrons. The camera’s sensor collects photons when you press the shutter release. The A-D converter transforms these into electrical signals used to create a digital image file.
Aberration is an optical imperfection that occurs in camera lenses. This happens when light enters the lens and is imperfectly translated to the camera’s sensor. There are a variety of types of aberration. The most common is chromatic aberration.
Absolute Resolution –
Absolute resolution is the full size of the image sensor in a camera. It is conveyed as a dimensional count of the sensor in pixels. For example, a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV has an absolute resolution of 6720 x 4480 pixels. This is also measured in the number of megapixels a sensor contains. In the case of the 5D Mark IV sensor, it has 31.7 megapixels.
The actual area of the sensor that an image is formed with and translated to the A-D Converter is often less than the absolute resolution of a sensor.
This term is often used concerning the importation of image files into post-processing software. Image acquisition happens in a variety of ways depending on the software or app being used.
Active Area –
The active area of a sensor consists of the pixels that capture photons. This can vary depending on the mode the camera is set to. Even when set to the highest resolution setting, the active area is often less than the Absolute Resolution of a sensor.
Many cameras provide options to capture images in a variety of formats. For example, when set to capture a square image, the active area will be a square measurement based on the shortest side of the camera sensor.
Adobe RGB –
A color space using RGB primary colors designed to include most colors CMYK printers use. Adobe developed this in 1998 (it’s sometimes still referred to as Adobe RBG 1998).
AF Servo –
Using this auto-focus mode a camera will continuously focus while the shutter button is partly depressed. It is most commonly used when photographing moving subjects.
Aliasing is the jagged look of low-resolution lines that run diagonally across an image. Anti-aliasing tools are available in some image-processing software.
Ambient Light –
Also known as Available Light. It’s the light that exists without the photographer having added it. During the day, the sun is always ambient light. Any electric or any other light source not introduced by the photographer is ambient light.
Angle of View (AOV) –
Also known as Field of View. This is how much of a scene a camera can photograph. It varies depending on the lens and the size of the camera’s sensor. Shorter focal length lenses have a wider angle of view than lenses of longer focal lengths.
The aperture of a lens is an adjustable hole used to regulate the amount of light that passed through the lens. Aperture is one of three parts of the exposure triangle that control light reaching the camera’s sensor and affecting it to make images. Aperture, shutter speed, and ISO need to be controlled together to manage correct exposures.
The aperture has a strong influence on the depth of field. Wider apertures create images with a shallower depth of field. Narrow apertures produce more depth of field in photos.
The widest aperture is always included with lens information. For example, 50mm f/1.4, or 18mm-105mm f/3.5-6.3. The aperture measurement is provided as an f-stop number. The size of the opening is indicated by the calculation of the lens focal length and the f-number. So, for example, a 50mm lens at f/2 has an aperture opening of 25mm.
The aperture is an important and common part of photography terminology that you can learn more about by reading this article.
Aperture Priority –
Aperture priority is an exposure mode setting on cameras. It is the most popular auto-exposure mode. In aperture priority mode the photographer maintains control over the aperture setting while the camera sets the shutter speed to balance the exposure. How this happens depends on the information the camera’s light meter provides.
Aperture priority is very popular because it allows people to capture generically well-exposed photographs while maintaining some level of control over the depth of field.
The aperture priority setting on the mode dial of a camera is usually labeled ‘A’ or ‘Av’ (on Canon cameras).
APS stands for Advanced Photo System. The ‘C’ stands for Classic. This size of an image sensor is a 3:2 ratio, which is the same as a full-frame sensor ratio. APS was a film format introduced for a short period of time in the 1990s before digital cameras were popular. There are two other APS sensor sizes. The exact APS-C size varies depending on the manufacturer of the camera.
APS-C sensors are used in most DSLR cameras that do not have full-frame sensors. They are also known as crop sensors, along with various other sensor sizes that are small than full-frame. The crop factor of an APS-C sensor is 1.5x.
APS-H (APSH) –
This is a similar-sized sensor to the APS-C but has a crop factor of 1.3x. It is used in only a few Canon and Leica cameras.
Typically this term is used together when talking about an archival print or photograph. This is a photographic image that’s made to last a long time. The term can also be applied to film processing which has an emphasis on longevity.
Artifacts appear in images as a result of compression or interpolation. Artifacts form and appear in different ways depending on the subject material of a photograph and how the compression is applied. Artifacting can occur in camera and during post-processing with software or apps.
ASA stands for American Standards Association, which explains nothing of its meaning in photography or anything else. It is represented by a number that indicates the light sensitivity of the film and sometimes digital image sensors. It has largely now been replaced by the term ISO (another acronym that is equally unhelpful.)
Aspect Ratio –
Aspect ratio is how wide and how tall an image or sensor is. To find the ratio you divide the width and height by their common factor. 36mm x 24mm is the size of a full-frame sensor. These numbers have a common factor of 12, so you use this number to divide each to come up with the aspect ratio of 3:2.
Aspherical Lens –
An aspherical lens has aspheric, rather the spheric, surfaces. Their curvature radius varies from the center of the lens to its edge. This type of lens can provide more optical functionality than spherical lenses can. Benefits of aspherical lenses include sharper focusing and larger aperture sizes. They also tend to make auto-focusing in low-light situations easier.
Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) –
Auto exposure bracketing or AEB is a term that is used to signify a process where the camera automatically takes two or more exposures but with different exposure values. This method is generally used when the photographer isn’t quite sure what the correct exposure for a scene is.
Autofocus is a system that’s in most modern cameras. It became more common in the 1980s and since then autofocus systems in cameras continue to become more and more complex.
The camera has sensors that measure the distance of a subject from the camera. Tiny electronic motors in the lens and/or camera body then adust the lens optics to bring the subject into focus.
There are various options on cameras as to how to set up and use the autofocus system. It can be almost completely automated, so the camera decides what is most important to focus on. Or it can be user-controlled so the sensors will determine the distance of where the photographer chooses.
Average Metering –
Average metering refers to a mode setting of in-camera exposure meters. It’s often given different names by camera manufacturers. In Nikon, average metering is called Matrix metering. In Canon cameras, it’s known as Evaluative metering. Olympus uses the photography term Digital ESP to name its average metering mode.
No matter what it’s called on your camera, it has the function of taking light readings from multiple parts of the frame, averaging the value, and presenting an overall exposure value. In many cameras, this is the default exposure meter mode. Most cameras have a selection of various metering modes.
Auto White Balance (AWB) –
Auto White Balance is a camera setting that adjusts the image so white looks white and other colors appear realistic. White balance can also be adjusted manually.
The white balance controls in a camera exist to remove unrealistic color casts caused by variance in light temperature. Light can be cool and bluish. Warm, with a yellow or orange appearance. Or it can be quite neutral.
Set to Auto White Balance your camera filters out any color temperature that causes white elements to appear other than white. In situations where there are lights of varying color temperatures, it may not be possible for the camera to correctly adjust. This can occur indoors where there are different types of electric lighting with bulbs that emit both cool light and warm light.
Most of the time Auto White Balance functions acceptably well. With RAW files it’s easy to adjust the white balance during post-production if it is not to your liking.
Back Button Focus –
Back button focus is a technique used to operate a camera’s autofocus system using a button on the back of the camera body rather than the shutter release button.
By default on most, if not all, cameras, auto-focusing is initiated when the shutter release button is partially depressed. By configuring your camera through the menu system you can set it to only focus when an assigned button, usually on the rear of the camera, is pressed. The auto-focus function of the shutter button can be disabled. This allows you to separate the auto-focus and shutter release functions.
Background, as a photography term, refers to the area behind the main subject or foreground of the photograph.
Backlighting illuminates a subject from behind. It is sometimes referred to as ‘kicker’ or ‘rim’ lighting. Because the light is behind a subject and facing the camera, extra care must be taken when setting the exposure. Backlighting a subject means it is very easy to end up with an underexposed subject when the meter reads directly from the light source.
Barrel Distortion –
Barrel distortion causes straight lines in photographs to appear as though they are bent. A photo of a grid pattern with barrel distortion looks like the lines bend inwards, giving a barrel-shaped impression.
Barrel Distortion is commonly seen in low-quality wide-angle lenses. It is most apparent in photos that contain strong, straight lines in the composition, such as in a lot of architectural photography.
Batch Scan –
Batch scanning refers to the process of scanning multiple images in one session without making adjustments to settings between scans. This can be applied to scanning prints or film. This practice is most effective when there are no significant color, light, or contrast variations in the selected images.
One bit of digital information is the smallest unit measurable. Eight bits is equal to one byte. They are the basic building blocks of information used in all computer technology. In digital photography, bit depth is used to indicate the color value in images. For example, an 8-bit image has 256 available colors.
Bit stands for ‘binary device’. In digital photography, it has a value of either 0 (which is black) or 1 (which is white). The combinations of 1s and 0s determine what color is.
A bitmap is a digital image format with the file extension of .bmp. It’s sometimes called a ‘raster image’, and is not to be confused with a rasta image. A bitmap is literally a map of bits (units of digital information) that form an image when rendered on a digital display, like a phone or computer monitor.
Blocked Shadows –
Blocked shadows refer to dark areas in a digital image that contains no detail. This is usually because that part of the photo is underexposed and the dynamic range of the camera’s sensor is not broad enough to record detail in those places. Lower quality sensors present this problem more so than higher quality ones.
Blooming happens in an image when a camera’s sensor does not properly manage very bright areas well. It appears as halo-like brightness or color around affected areas. It looks similar to chromatic aberration.
Blown Out (blowout) –
A blown-out area in a photograph contains no detail because it is too bright and has been overexposed. As with blocked shadows, blowout occurs more commonly on lower-quality sensors that have a more limited dynamic range.
Blue Hour –
Blue hour happens in the morning and evening when the sun is between about 4 and 8 degrees below the horizon. It’s given this name because at these times daylight appears bluish and cool. Blue hour usually lasts less than an hour. How long it lasts depends on the season and proximity to the equator. Further away it’s more likely to last longer.
PÁRATE UN MOMENTO, que queremos saber si aceptas las cookies y tenemos que tomarte la temperatura Utilizamos cookies nuestras, de segundones, de tercerones y bla, bla, y más bla; dicen que para asegurar que te brindamos la mejor experiencia en nuestro sitio web, aunque no sabemos qué te podría pasar si no las aceptas, pero podemos hacer que parezca un accidente. Al continuar navegando por el sitio asumiremos que las aceptas y que incluso nos felicitas por nuestra política de galletitas y su uso. Puedes revocar tu consentimiento en cualquier momento, aunque esperemos que este mensaje no te salga cada vez que entras. Y, si crees que 'cookies' sólo quiere decir galletas en inglés, te recomendamos que sigas el enlace y te leas la txapa. Si no las aceptas... cierra esta página y vete a paseo. Enseguida...
Espera un poco, que aquí puedes revisar el consentimiento
RESUMEN DE PRIVACIDAD
Acerca de nuestra política de galletitas.
Esta página, como todas, usa galletitas sin chocolate para que puedas navegar. Asumo que estás al corriente de qué hablo, pero la legislación UE me obliga a advertírtelo así que ahí va. Pero si crees que cookies sólo quiere decir ‘galletas’ en inglés, te recomiendo que te leas esta página con sus anexos.
Debes leer esta política para comprender qué son las galletas, cómo las utilizamos, los tipos de cookies que utilizamos, es decir, la información que recopilamos utilizando cookies, cómo se utiliza esa información, las consultas a tu sistema del knowledge base, cómo controlar las preferencias de cookies y bla, bla, y más bla.
Para obtener más información sobre cómo usamos, cocinamos, almacenamos y mantenemos seguros tus datos personales, consulta nuestra Política de Privacidad. En cualquier momento puedes cambiar o retirar tu consentimiento del uso de cookies en nuestro sitio web. Obtén más información sobre la nueva funcionalidad del biofeedback, quiénes somos, cómo puedes contactarnos y cómo procesamos los datos personales en nuestra Política de Privacidad.
Tu consentimiento se aplica a todos los dominios de los que es responsable Jaio, aquí este https://jaio.net/
Las cookies necesarias son absolutamente esenciales para que el sitio web funcione correctamente. Esta categoría solo incluye cookies que garantizan funcionalidades básicas y características de seguridad del sitio web. Estas cookies no almacenan ninguna información personal.