Digital Photography Terminology
Here is the Digital Photography Terminology that you will find most commonly on Digital-Photography-Tips-Tutorial.com, and elsewhere.
Theses terms are here as they would otherwise take up too much room to write within the actual site content. Look out for additional Digital Photography Terminology, elsewhere on the site.
Hope this makes things easier to understand. Enjoy.
Digital Photography Terminology A - D
Aperture: the part of a camera lens that simulates the human iris; increasing or reducing the amount of light allowed to enter the camera lens. (see also f.stop)
Aperture priority: In camera setting whereby the photographer chooses to be able to specifically control the aperture whilst leaving the other settings on automatic.
ASA: American Standards Association, one of the old systems for rating film speed and its sensitivity to light which I still mix up with ISO. Superseded by the ISO system, ASA was essentially the same, although according to my teacher ASA was slightly faster. In any case, ASA is a defunct system no longer used. See ISO.
Auto-focus: The majority of cameras these days, especially digital, are fitted with auto-focus. This is the cameras ability to adjust focus through the use of an internal motor, either in the lens or camera body, to achieve focus of an image, either automatically, or by electronic signal (i.e. you pressing a button).
Average Reading: This piece of Digital Photography Terminology means a Meter exposure reading gained by measuring the average surrounding light. Amount of light available.
Bracketing: Technique used when lighting is less than optimal where the same image is photographed several times either side of the correct metered exposures f.stop. Many dslr's have this function available automatically.... which is just as well, because it was a real pain to have to do it manually.
Burning-in/Burn tool: Photographic printing technique whereby the print was given additional exposure for effect. Now mostly known as the 'burn tool' in Photoshop. See also Dodge for the opposite.
Camera: ...Just kidding.
Cable-release: Manual device for firing the shutter release button in a camera so that no vibration will be picked up by the camera at low shutter speeds. Generally superseded by the 'Wireless Release/wireless remote control' activating the shutter via infrared.
Compact Digital Camera: Essentially what I, and others, call any non-digital slr camera (DSLR/See dslr).
Color balance: Digital Photography Terminology that means the relationship between the principles colors in an image, and whether they 'work' together.
Color compensation: Usage of a filter to balance color within a shot. i.e. Too much ambient blue light in the morning, so therefore use an orange tinted filter to warm it up.
Contrast: The difference in appearance of various colors or tones in an image. The difference in intensity of colors.
Crop/cropping: Reducing/altering the frame of an image, usually at the editing stage (i.e. Photoshop)
Color Temperature: Does it look warm (oranges/reds) or does it look cold (blues). Based on the color inert matter glows when being burned, measured in kelvin, 2000K (Reddish) through 5000/5500 (white) to 6000k and above (blueish, ironically in photography this is called cold yet is the hottest if it were truly related to kelvin).
Dedicated flash: Not to be mistaken with a man who shows up everyday at 6am without fail to expose himself, it's an 'on-camera' flash gun, controlled by the cameras internal circuitry.
Depth of Field: The distance between the nearest and farthest points in an image, that appear sharp and in focus. Wide depth of field: everything or almost everything is in focus, Narrow depth of field: Only certain things are in focus while the others are out of focus.
Difuser: Material that scatters light making it less hard and more soft. Often used in photographic studios ('always used' might be a better term).
Dodging/dodge tool: From a photographic printing term, meaning to give some areas of a photographic print less of the image/light for effect. Now used as a Photoshop term 'dodging'/dodge tool.
Dynamic: The quality of apparent movement in a shot, used composition wise to make a shot look more 'action-packed' and interesting to the human eye.
Dynamic balance: Digital Photography Terminology that means the sense of balance created by two elements in an image that each have a feeling of movement.
Dynamic tension: The sense of two different forces moving in different directions, or the potential thereof. Simple example, a shot of two people doing the tug of war, or see here and scroll down to the two guys about to hit each other in the Ice-hockey game.
DSLR: An SLR camera with a CCD or CMOS digital sensor in the camera body at the focal plane, in place of film in a non-digital slr. (see SLR)
Digital Photography Terminology E - G
Exposure value/EV: A value for an amount of light that uses shutter speed and aperture. For example, 1/60 at f.5.6 is equal in light entering the camera to 1/250 at f.2.8.
Eye-line: The suggested line a person is looking in dependent on their eyes direction.
Exposure Meter: An electronic measure within a lens, camera body or portable that judges the amount of available light and translates it as a figure setting for the aperture and/or shutter speed, dependant on previously settings imputed.
f.stop: the decimal digit often seen displayed on the side of a camera lens indicating the possible aperture range. Varies from lens to lens. Calculated by a lens's focal length divided by its effective aperture. f.1, f.1.4., f.2, f.2.8 is in steps of a factor of two. Each higher number represents half the amount of light allowed to pass.
Fast ISO: 200ISO/100ISO or lower, are effectively what is a fast ISO. Based on the old film speed system transferred over to the digital camera system.
Filter: Transparent sheet of glass or plastic attached to a camera lens in someway, in order to alter light entering the lens.
Fish-eye-lens: An extreme wide-angle lens where the curvilinear distortion is left uncovered in order to give greater coverage. Named because this is the way a fish see's, as you may have guessed, although no one's managed to prove it mind you.
Flash-synch/synchronization: A system for making flashes go off at the same time as the shutter opening in a camera. Several flashes can be synched at the same time, as in a studio is frequently the case.
Flash gun: A flash unit that can be removed or attached to a camera body.
F-Mount: Nikons lens-mount connectivity system.
Focal-length: Digital Photography Terminology that means the distance between the rear nodal point of the lens and the focal plane of the camera when the lens is focused on infinity. This is the standard way they classify a lens by how much it can magnify an image.
Focal Plane: The plane that is perpendicular to the axis of the lens and where the image is in focus. This is where the digital sensor is located. Formally where the film was exposed years ago.
Focusing: Changing the distance between the lens and the sensor plane to create an image without blur.
Grain/Y: The term used in film photography to represent an individual crystal on photographic film emulsion, which is now called 'noise'(see 'noise'). Grainy, an image unclear due to not enough emulsion crystals being either present in the film (400 ISO = less crystals/100 = high amount of crystals), or not enough light having impacted the emulsion crystals.
Digital Photography Terminology H - K
Hot-Shoe: A fitting on the body of a camera (usually the top, if not always), containing the electrical contact needed to trigger an exterior flash-synch. Basically that place you put your flash on.
Image Editing Software: Software used for editing photos. Commonly used for enhancing a digital photograph. Adobe Photoshop being a prime example.
Incident Light: The light that falls upon a particular subject as opposed to 'ambient light'.
Incident Light Reading: The exposure measurement of a subject usually made with a hand-held light meter.
Infinity: A very long way away. Sorry, actually the symbol on the side of a lens that looks like an '8' that's fallen over due to too much alcohol and is now resting comfortably on its side. When the lens is set on 'infinity' the majority of the shot should be in focus.
ISO: 'International Standards Organization'. A carry-over from the former film-speed rating system now transposed to digital cameras, allowing the same flexibility of light control that film ISO number settings did previously. e.g. 100 ISO/ASA, 200ISO/ASA, 400 ISO/ASA. Now ISO is used in Digital Photography Terminology (see ASA if you're curious)
Digital Photography Terminology L - P
Lens speed: The quantity of light a lens can transmit from an image to the sensor. Usually expressed as an f.stop number.
Light Meter: An electronic measure within a lens, camera body or portable that judges the amount of available light and translates it as a figure setting for the aperture and/or shutter speed, dependant on previously settings imputed.
Macro-lens: A lens used for close-up photography, designed to give the best image quality at magnifications close to life size.
Manual (as in a camera set on 'manual setting'): A camera whereby all the automatic functions have been overrided by the photographer. A Digital Photography Terminology basic
Mega-pixel: A representative pixel or one million pixels. Also used to express the amount of image sensor elements of a digital camera.
Mono-pod: Single legged stand for a camera, or walking stick substitute for the old and infirm.
Mount: Metal ring-like flange of various sizes and proportions dependent on brand used for easily connecting and disconnecting a lens from the camera body.
Neutral Density Filter: A grey colored filter that is affixed to the front of the lens to reduce the amount of light getting to the digital sensor. Good for providing strong colors.
Nikkor: Essentially the branch of Nikkon that makes their dedicated lenses and annoyingly has a different name, just to confuse you.
Over-Exposed: An image that has received more light than is acceptable for a half-way decent image, giving a greyish look without strong contrast and with weak colors.
Pan/ning: In Digital Photography Terminology this means moving the camera along with the movement of an object in order to gain a good shot or create a specific effect.
Pixel: The smallest unit of a digital image of a square shape. The number of pixels in an image determines its resolution. More pixels = higher resolution = clearer image (past a certain point the human eye can't discern the difference though).
Digital Photography Terminology Driving You Insane? Take a Break and Read About the History
Digital Photography Terminology Q - V
Ring-flash: Electronic flash shaped like a ring that fits around a camera lens that gives a less harsh, more diffused form of light and also eliminates shadows.
Shutter: Mechanical contraption in front of the CCD digital sensor that is also mirrored (see SLR) and allows light onto the sensor based on camera 'shutter speed', i.e. 30/60/100/200 and so on.
Shutter Speed: In Digital Photography Terminology: The speed at which the camera is set to allow light onto the digital sensor based on fractions of a minute i.e 1/60, 1/120 (one hundredth of a second).
Shutter priority: The setting in a camera that allows the photographer to set the shutter speed and allows the camera to create automatic settings based on it in order to give a good exposure.
SLR (single lens reflex): Refers to a camera where the light from the lens is reflected upwards through the camera body and then to a prism which then shows the exact image the lens sees to your eye. Bit like a periscope really. A camera that uses mirrors and a prism to show you exactly what the lens sees. (also see DSLR)
Standard Lens: A lens that creates an image that has a similar perspective to that of the un-aided human eye. Very useful in portrait photography.
Soft-box: A box that is soft. Well, OK, it is a bit more than that. A box shaped device containing a light with a cover attached over it in order to diffuse light (i.e. create 'soft;light'), usually used in a photographic studio, but by no means exclusively so.
Telephoto Lens: The design of a long-focus lens in which the distance between between the lens and film is less than the focal length. Basically one of the lenses than can see for a long distance.
Tripod: Stable three legged stand for a camera (see also mono-pod) usually used in order to be able to use shutter speeds below 1/60, or gain optimal shots.
Under-exposed: An image unclear and without detail due to a lack of light having impacted the digital sensor. Used the same way in Digital Photography Terminology as in film photography.
Volume: The amount of contrast within a picture that creates an over-all 3D feeling, as opposed to a flat overly lit image (not the same as over-exposed though). For example, the more shadow something castes the more it looks 'real-world'.
Viewfinder: Optical aid usually on non-dslr/dsl cameras that led to many people being accused of not being able to take pictures properly at Christmas due to images of people with the top of their heads cut off. Unbeknownst to most people this was due to something called 'parallax-error', the bane of all viewfinder cameras.
Digital Photography Terminology W - Z
Wide angle lens: Any lens with an angle of view wider than a standard lens (less than 50mm).
Wireless Release: Device for setting off the cameras shutter at a distance and taking a shot unaffected by human movement (camera-shake). Sometimes this is known as a remote control release.
Zoom lens: A lens with a continuously variable focal length over a certain range. To be honest, there's not much point worrying about whats the difference between a telephoto lens and a zoom lens; as long as you know they can focus on things at a distance, that's good enough.
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