Talking Like a Pro: 20 Photography Terms and What They Mean?

Do you love photography? Are you interested in taking professional quality landscape photos, portraits, stock photos, and more? If so, you need to know more about photography. Before you start taking top-class photos, it is important to know more about camera settings, types of photos, etc.

You should be aware of the various terminologies used in photography before thinking of becoming a pro. There are many terms you would have heard about but did not know what they meant. To help you, we have a glossary of photography terms for you. The glossary of twenty terms will help you understand more about photography.

Glossary of Photography Terms

1) Aperture

Aperture is the size of the lens opening. It is like a window. Just as a large window allows more light, a wide aperture allows more light. This makes the photo appear brighter. The f-stop (a term defined below) is used to measure the aperture.

2) Aspect ratio

Aspect ratio is the ratio of height to width. It explains the relationship between the length of the image and its width. The common aspect ratios are 3:2 and 4:3.

3) Burst Mode

This is an important camera feature that helps you take multiple photos with a single click. When you activate the burst mode, press the button and the camera keeps taking photos continuously until you release the button.

4) Depth of field

Depth of field or DOF is the distance between the farthest object and the closest object within the focus zone of an image. It tells you how much of the image is in focus. Portraits would have a shallow depth of field, while landscapes would have a large depth of field.

5) Exposure

This term refers to how dark or light the image is. A photo not exposed to enough light is dark or called underexposed. An overexposed photo is one that is exposed to more light and is bright. Exposure is controlled using three factors – aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.

6) File Format

This term refers to the format in which the image is saved as a file. RAW files would have more information, which is useful while editing. JPG files are the most common file formats and are universally accepted.

7) Focal length

Focal length is the distance between the lens and the image formed on the film. Focal length is measured in millimeters. Focal length determines how magnified or zoomed the image is. Focal length of less than 35 mm is known as wide-angle. 35mm to 70mm is standard, 70mm to 135mm is medium, and more than 135mm is telephoto.

8) Focus

Focusing on an object makes it look sharper, which is how it will look in the photo. If the object is not in focus, then the image would not be sharp.

9) FPS

FPS or Frame Per Seconds is the speed at which a camera takes photos. The FPS is an important factor in outdoor photography (eg: wildlife photography) where you need to shoot faster, so you capture the best image.

10) F-Stop

F-stop of F-number is a ratio of lens focal length to entrance pupil diameter. In simple terms, it is the number you see when you change the lens aperture size. F-stop is shown as f/2.8, f/5.6, f/11, etc. An aperture of f/2.8 is larger than an aperture of f/5.6.

11) Golden Hour

Golden hour or magic hour is the time just before sunset and after sunrise. This is the time when the sun is low on the horizon. The light shade is reddish, giving a different effect to the photo.

12) ISO

ISO stands for the International Organization for Standardization (pronounced as ‘iso’). It indicates the sensitivity of the sensor to light. A lower ISO means that the camera is not sensitive. This is ideal to use in daylight. A higher ISO indicates higher sensitivity allowing you to use the camera in low light.

13) Lens Reflex

A single-lens reflex is a camera type where the camera has a single lens forming the image. This image is seen in the viewfinder. The most popular types of cameras are DSLR or digital single-lens reflex cameras.

14) Manual mode

In manual mode, the photographer manages all the settings manually. This is different from an automatic mode where the camera has settings already fixed. The manual mode is used by pros who change settings to suit the situation. It gives them greater creative control.

15) Resolution

Resolution refers to the dimensions a camera sensor can capture and is measured in megapixels. A camera with a higher resolution allows you to capture more details in the photo. High-resolution pictures are of better quality.

16) Rule of Third

The rule of thirds is an important rule that would help you while clicking a photo. More than a rule, it is a guideline. It says that an image should be divided into thirds using imaginary horizontal and vertical lines (2 each). The rule suggests that you position the focus object at the intersection points.

17) Shutter Speed

Shutter Speed refers to how much time the shutter would remain open. It is the time for which the sensor of the camera is exposed to light when you take a photo. If you reduce the shutter speed, it is useful for night and landscape photos. High shutter speed is useful while taking sports photos.

18) Viewfinder

While many photographers prefer to look at the screen while clicking, there are others who prefer the viewfinder. It has its origins in the analog camera where a hole was provided for the photographer to view the picture before shooting.

19) White balance

Sometimes the image color can vary as compared to what you see in reality. This is because the eye can adjust to light sources while the camera can’t. White balance ensures that anything that is white will appear as it is instead of in a changed color.

20) Zoom

Zoom is the feature allowing you to adjust the focal length. This makes an object appear closer than it really is. It allows you to take close-up shots easily. It is a very important feature in wildlife photography and other types of outdoor photography.

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