Saturday, July 21, 2012

BASIC Digital Photography Glossary: A to F

Basic Digital Photography Glossary: A to F

graphic from
For me to have a better understanding of this hobby before I try it out (and buy expensive equipment!) I went on with my usual research to learn more about it. The best way to start is to have a ready reference for the usual terms I have already encountered and surely will encounter more.

This glossary is lifted mostly from and other sources which I found very useful. The list is mostly from the as I believe this glossary is a more concise and compact reference for beginners likes me. I added some definitions from other sources also to some terms to try to simplify it further.


adapter: Device used to attach certain lenses or filters to your digital camera.

Adobe Photoshop: The leading professional image-editing program for your computer.
Adobe Photoshop Album: A program that enables you to view one or several of your images at the same time, all in one easily navigated workspace.
Adobe Photoshop Elements: A less expensive version of Photoshop with fewer of the ultra-high-end features the professional version includes.

anti-aliasing: A process that smoothes the rough edges or jaggies in images by creating partially transparent pixels along the boundaries that are merged into a smoother line by our eyes.

aperture: An opening made by an adjustable diaphragm, which permits light to enter the camera lens and reach the image sensor; it is the physical size of the hole through which light passes to reach the sensor. Aperture is usually expressed using F/stop values. The smaller the value is, the larger the opening of the lens.

aperture-priority autoexposure: A semi-automatic exposure mode; the photographer sets the aperture, and the camera selects the appropriate shutter speed to produce a good exposure.

Auto mode: A digital camera mode in which both the aperture and shutter speed are set automatically.

auto shut-off: A digital camera feature that turns off the camera after a certain time period of inactivity.

autoexposure: A feature that puts the camera in control of choosing the proper exposure settings.

autofocus: A camera setting that allows the camera to choose the correct focus distance for you, usually based on the contrast of an image or set by a mechanism, such as an infrared sensor, that measures the actual distance to the subject.


backlighting: A lighting effect produced when the main light source is located behind the subject. Backlighting is also a technology for illuminating an LCD display from the rear, making it easier to view under high ambient lighting conditions.

barn doors: Attachments for flash devices that feature movable flaps, which allow you to finely tune light output.

battery charger: A device that recharges rechargeable batteries by connecting to a power source.

battery pack: A device that holds multiple batteries with which you can power your digital camera.

bit depth: Refers to the number of bits available to store color information. A standard digital camera image has a bit depth of 24 bits. Images with more than 24 bits are called high-bit images.

blown out: Term to describe an image or part of an image that’s over-exposed with no detail.

BMP: A Windows bitmap file format; the default graphic created by Windows graphics programs.

bokeh: The quality of the out-of-focus areas of an image that a lens produces. See "100+ Beautiful Examples of Bokeh Photography" for more examples.
 and example of bokeh by Gege
bracketing: Taking a series of photographs of the same subject at different settings to help ensure that one setting will be the correct one.

shooting mode: Range of options that gives you limited or total control of picture-taking settings.

buffer: A digital camera’s internal memory, which stores an image immediately after it was taken until the image can be written to the camera’s memory or a memory card.

Bulb: Shooting mode in which the shutter stays open so long as the shutter button is fully depressed.

burst mode: A special capture setting, offered on some digital cameras, that records several images in rapid succession with one press of the shutter button. Also called continuous capture mode.


camera backpack: A variation on the camera bag that you strap across your back.
camera bag: A portable container for your camera and any additional photography equipment (such as lenses and extra batteries).

camera dolly: A kind of wagon that lets you roll your camera/tripod rig back and forth, as needed.

capture resolution: The resolution of an image that you take with your digital camera.

card reader: A device into which you insert a digital camera’s memory card, then attach to your computer to make that memory card appear as just another drive to your computer.

CCD: Short for charge-coupled device. One of two types of imaging sensors used in digital cameras.

center-weighted metering: Metering mode that reads the entire scene but gives more emphasis to the subject in the center of the frame.

clone source: The area of a digital image that you want to clone.

cloning: The process of copying one area of a digital photo and “painting” the copy onto another area or picture.

close-up lens: A lens add-on, resembling a filter, that allows you to take pictures at a distance that is less than the closest-focusing distance of the prime lens alone.
The front row, left to right, shows a Tiffen 3-lens set of +4, +2 and +1 (37mm). The back row, left to right,
has a Raynox MSN-500 Super Micro (37mm and 28mm), Nikon #3T +1.5, Nikon #4T +2.9, and a Hoya +10 macro
close-up lenses. The Nikon #3T and #4T are only available in 52mm thread, and #5T and #6T in 62mm thread.

CMOS: Pronounced see-moss. A much easier way to say complementary metal-oxide semiconductor. A type of imaging sensor used in digital cameras; used less often than CCD chips.

CMYK: The print color model in which cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks are mixed to produce colors.

color cast: A tinge of color that discolors your image in whole or in part.

color saturation: The purity of color; the amount by which a pure color is diluated with white or gray.

composition: The arrangement of the main subject, other objects in a scene, and/or the foreground and background.

compression: A process that reduces the size of the image file by eliminating some image data.

Continuous Auto-Focus : A mode in which the camera updates focus when the subject moves as long as you continue pressing the shutter button halfway.

Continuous Drive: A mode in which the camera continues taking pictures as long as you press the shutter button.

contrast: The range of difference in the light to dark areas of a photo.

convergence: An image distortion that makes vertical structures appear to lean toward the center of the frame.

Corel Paint Shop Pro (PSP): An image-editing program that allows you to do all the standard image-editing activities and includes photographer-quality tools.

Corel PhotoImpact: An easy-to-use image-editing program that includes basic fixes and guided projects.

Corel Photo-Paint: An image-editing program with a fairly comprehensive set of retouching tools, but it’s not quite as tool-rich as Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. It comes as a part of the CorelDRAW graphics suite.

CorelDRAW: A bundle of image-editing software (described as a graphics suite). It includes tools for vector illustration and page layout, photo editing, and bitmap to vector tracing.
crop: To trim an image or page by adjusting its boundaries.


defraction: The breaking up of a ray of light into dark and light bands or into the colors of the spectrum, caused by the interference of one part of a beam with another.

depth of field: The zone of sharp focus in a photograph. This refers to how much of the image is in focus. Deep depths of field will generally allow everything to be in focus while a shallow depth of field will only have smaller portions in focus.
The area within the depth of field appears sharp, while the areas in front of and beyond the depth of field appear blurry.

diffusion screen: A thin screen-like material that diffuses or softens a light source’s illumination.

digital zoom: A feature offered on most digital cameras; crops the perimeter of the image and then enlarges the area at the center. Results in reduced image quality.

diopter adjustment: A viewfinder feature that corrects for common eyeglass prescriptions so eyeglass wearers can use the viewfinder without wearing their glasses.

downsample: Remove pixels from a digital image.

DPOF: Stands for digital print order format. A feature offered by some digital cameras that enables you to add print instructions to the image file; some photo printers can read that information when printing your pictures directly from a memory card.

drive mode: Setting that determines whether a camera takes a single picture or a series of pictures.

DVI interface: Digital Video Interface. A specification to accommodate analog and digital monitors with the same cable.

dye-sublimation printer: A type of printer that uses a printing technique in which inks are heated and transferred to a polyester substrate to form an image.


edge: An area where neighboring image pixels are significantly different in color; in other words, an area of high contrast.

EXIF: Exchangeable Image File Format. Developed to standardize the exchange of image data between hardware devices and software.

exposure: The amount of light allowed to reach the film or sensor, determined by the intensity of the light, the amount admitted by the iris of the lens, and the length of time determined by the shutter speed.                   
It is the amount of light that is collected by the camera’s sensor. Exposure is similar to f/stops in that it refers to the relationship between shutter speed and aperture.
At each point of the triangles lies one of the critical components that comprise a correct exposure:
ISO: This is the numeric value assigned to the sensitivity level of your camera sensor
Aperture: The opening of your lens, which controls the volume of light entering the camera
Shutter Speed: This controls the length of time that light is allowed in through the lens
exposure compensation: A setting used to increase or decrease the exposure manually when the camera gets it wrong.

exposure value (EV): EV settings are a way of adding or decreasing exposure without the need to reference f-stops or shutter speeds. For example, if you tell your camera to add +1EV, it will provide twice as much exposure by using a larger f-stop, slower shutter speed, or both.

extension tube: A camera attachment that moves your camera lens farther from the sensor, enlarging the image captured by the camera. Also called a lens extender.

eyepoint: The distance your eye can be from the camera viewfinder’s window and still see the entire view.


fanny pack: A small bag worn around the waist like a belt.

fastening point: A position, represented by a square, where an image-editing program anchors a magnetic selection outline.

feather: To fade the borders of an image element so that it blends more smoothly with another layer.

file format: A way of storing image data in a file.

fill flash: Also called forced flash. A camera setting that causes the electronic flash to always fire, which produces the effect of filling in shadows in brightly illuminated images.

filter: In photography, a device that fits over the lens, changing the light in some way. In image editing, a feature that changes the pixels in an image to produce blurring, sharpening, and other special effects.

flash: A device on your camera that fires a burst of light when you take a picture to illuminate your subject.; On your camera, this is typically characterized by the lightning bolt symbol;two examples.
          Fill Flash- light that will just fill in any dark spots.
          Red Eye- flash that will prevent red-eye from showing up.

flash bracketing: Capturing a series of photos, each with a different exposure, by pressing the camera’s shutter button once.

focal length: The distance between the film and the optical center of the lens when the lens is focused on infinity, usually measured in millimeters.
Different focal lengths don't just magnify the shot, but give a different look to it. The image
below shows how different focal lengths can give the illusion of a different distance between to objects.
focus: To adjust the lens to produce a sharp image-
It is what the camera is mainly trying to take a picture of. It is what appears in the green boxes on your camera’s LCD point and shoot. For a DSLR, it is literally what can be clearly and sharply seen in the depth of field. The larger your F stop (f1.8) the less will be in focus. The out of focus area is called, “bokeh” and can deliver some beautiful results.

Type of focusing modes:
     Macro, which is anything really up close about a couple of inches or even less. (seen as a flower symbol)
     Infinity, which is for very, very far away objects. (seen as a mountain symbol)
     Normal, which is generally everything in between Macro an Infinity.

Beyond this there is also:
     Auto-focusing which lets the camera focus for you.
     Manual-focusing which enables you to do all the focusing.

There are also in-between modes depending on the type of lens and who made it:
     Single focus- Which will auto-focus on one stationary subject.
     Single/Manual- Same thing but allows for manual touch up.
     Continuous focus- which will continuously focus on one spot or subject as you are moving.
     Continuous/Manual- Same thing but allows for manual touch up
     Tracking Focus- Which will continuously focus on one subject as it moves.

framing: In photography, composing your image in the viewfinder. In composition, using elements of an image to form a sort of picture frame around an important subject.

front curtain sync: The default kind of electronic flash synchronization technique. The flash fires at the beginning of the exposure — in the instant that the first curtain of the focal plane shutter finishes its movement across the film or sensor plane.

f-stop: Refers to the size of the camera aperture. A higher number indicates a smaller aperture. Written as f/2, f/8, and so on.
Perhaps the most misunderstood term in photography. F/stop refers to the relationship between the aperture of the lens and the shutter speed. In order for enough light to reach the camera’s sensor, both the aperture and shutter speed must be set properly. Without a meter, it is almost impossible to determine which settings to use. In most cases it is best to let the camera determine these settings for you.

FTP: File Transfer Protocol. A set of communication rules that allow data or files to be transferred between computers over a network.
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