Saturday, September 29, 2012

BASIC Digital Photography Glossary: G to P

Basic Digital Photography Glossary: G to P

Photography Word Cloud Concept 
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.


GIF: Short for graphics interchange format. A file format often used for Web graphics; not suitable for photos because it can’t handle more than 256 colors.


histogram: A graph that maps out brightness values in a digital image; usually found inside exposure-correction filter dialog boxes.
hook-and-loop tape: A kind of tape whose two sides adhere to each other, with one having rough hooks and the other soft, fuzzy material.

hot shoe: The device on a camera that holds an external flash and provides an electronic connection to the camera.

hot spot: A bright area in a photograph that come from reflections on eyeglasses or unevenly spread lighting.

HTML: Hypertext Markup Language. A computer language used to structure text and multimedia documents, and to set hyperlinks between documents; used for display on the Internet.


image sensor: A digital camera’s solid-state capture device, made up of a grid-like arrangement of red-, green-, and blue-sensitive elements.
Image Stabilization : Setting that helps correct for any up-and-down movement you make while pressing the shutter button.

Infrared: Using film, a filter, or a censor that is sensitive to infrared light and also blocks visible light. The effect produces a dreamlike effect, with dark skies and brightly colored foliage.

Infrared Data Association port (IrDA port): A computer connection point that lets you transfer computer data from one device to another by using pulses of infrared light, rather than a physical wire.
ink jet printer: A printer that works by forcing little drops of ink through nozzles onto the paper.

ISO: Traditionally, a measure of film speed; the higher the number, the faster the film. On a digital camera, raising the ISO allows faster shutter speed, smaller aperture, or both, but also can result in a grainy image.
Exposure Triangle
ISO refers to the “film” speed. With a film camera you can buy different speeds of film for different situations. A dSLR can change film speeds without the need to change your film. ISO refers to the sensitivity that the camera will have to light. The lower the number is, the less sensitive it will be. Often times, higher ISO speeds will generate noise which can ruin an otherwise fine photo.


JPEG: Pronounced jay-peg. The primary file format used by digital cameras; also the leading format for online and Web pictures. Uses lossy compression, which sometimes damages image quality.

JPEG+Raw: A camera setting that creates both a Camera Raw file and a JPEG file of a picture.


landscape mode: The orientation of an image in which the longest dimension is horizontal; also called wide orientation.

layer: A way of managing elements of an image in stackable overlays that can be manipulated separately, moved to a different stacking order, or made partially or fully transparent.

LCD hood: A four-sided awning that covers a digital camera’s LCD screen from bright sunlight, making the LCD easier to view.

LCD screen: Stands for liquid crystal display. The display screen included on most digital cameras.

LED: Light Emitting Diode. A lighting technology used in many electronic devices.

lens: One or more elements of optical glass or similar material designed to collect and focus rays of light to form a sharp image on the film, paper, sensor, or screen.; the piece of glass attached to your camera. There are different types of lenses.

     Prime: A fixed focal length with no zoom. They can be 50mm, 28mm 85mm etc. They typically tend to 
                have better results depending on manufacturer and have a fixed aperture as well.
Zeiss DSLR Prime Lenses
     Zoom: a lens that zooms in and out. Lesser quality zooms will generally change aperture when zooming in 
               and out depending on the range. Higher quality ones keep the same aperture throughout the zoom 
               ranges. Once again, this depends on many different factors such as zoom range.
Positioned above from left to right in their fully retracted positions are the following lenses:
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS Lens
Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM Lens
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS USM Lens
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0 L USM Lens 
Lenses with a larger aperture (f1.4) are known as fast lenses. Lenses with a smaller aperture (over f4) are known as slow lenses.

lens hood: A device that shades the lens, protecting it from extraneous light outside the actual picture area that can reduce the contrast of the image.

light dome: A plastic dome that diffuses light and eliminates reflections in photographs. You place the objects you want to shoot under this dome.

light tent: A white cloth teepee-shaped tent that diffuses light and eliminates reflections in photographs. You place the objects you want to shoot inside this tent.

lossless compression: A file-compression scheme that doesn’t sacrifice any vital image data in the compression process. Lossless compression tosses only redundant data, so image quality is unaffected.

lossy compression: A compression scheme that eliminates important image data in the name of achieving smaller file sizes. High amounts of lossy compression reduce image quality.


macro lens: A lens that provides continuous focusing from infinity to extreme close-ups, often to a reproduction ratio of 1:2 (half life-size) or 1:1 (life-size).
A true macro lens—Nikon's designation is Micro-NIKKOR—allows you to you take photographs that are 1:2 or 1:1 reproduction, which is ½ life size to life size respectively without the need for any additional accessories. 

Manual- A shooting mode on your camera that enables you to control every aspect of shooting. You can manipulate the shutter speeds, ISO settings, aperture settings and loads more.  On your camera this is the “M” mode.

marquee: The dotted outline that results when you select a portion of your image; sometimes referred to as marching ants.

masking: In an image editor, selecting an area of an image to prevent that area from being modified accidentally.

matrix metering: Also called multizone metering. A metering mode that calculates exposure based on the entire frame.

megapixel: One million pixels.

memory card: A camera’s removable storage media.

metadata: Extra data that gets stored along with the primary image data in an image file. Metadata often includes information such as aperture, shutter speed, and EV setting used to capture the picture, and can be viewed using special software. Often referred to as EXIF metadata.

metering mode: Refers to the way a camera’s autoexposure mechanism reads the light in a scene.

Microsoft PowerPoint: A multimedia presentation program.

midtones: Parts of an image with tones of an intermediate value, usually in the 25 to 75 percent range.

modeling lights: Incandescent lamps built into a studio flash that give you a preview of exactly how the light from the flash will look.

modular belt system: A belt that can hold a variety of photography equipment.

monopod: A one-legged support, or unipod, used to steady the camera.

multiple auto-focus: A setting that allows the camera to find more than one area of contrast to focus on.

multiple-exposure: A technique in which a small aperture gives you a long exposure, allowing your subjects to move within the frame during shooting, which creates a photo that looks like it has been exposed more than once.


noise: Graininess in an image, caused by too little light, a too high ISO setting, or a defect in the electrical signal generated during the image-capture process.


opacity: The degree to which a layer allows layers beneath it to show through.

optical viewfinder: A glass-covered opening in your camera that you can look through to frame and compose your image.

optical zoom: A traditional zoom lens; has the effect of bringing the subject closer and shortening depth of field.

overexposed: When too much light hits the camera’s film or image-sensor array, resulting in a washed-out image


panorama: A broad view, usually scenic. Some digital cameras also have a panorama mode used with software to stitch the images together.
The Reading Room of the British Museum, panorama of 2x5 segments. Taken with a Canon 5D and 24-105mm f/4L IS lens

parallax error: The difference in views between the lens taking the photo and the external optical viewfinder.

PC Card: A type of removable memory card used in some digital cameras. Also called PCMCIA Card (PCMCIA stands for Personal Computer Memory Card International Association).

phone cam: A digital camera built into a cell phone.

photo printer: A full-color printer that can produce photo prints.

photon: A particle of light.

PictBridge: A universal standard that allows digital cameras and photo printers to connect directly by USB cable, without the computer serving as a middleman. Any PictBridge camera can connect to any PictBridge printer, regardless of whether both are made by the same manufacturer.

PIM: Print Image Matching. A proprietary Epson camera technology that saves image information to assist in printing a digital image more accurately.

pinhole camera: A camera whose lens is covered except for a pin-sized hole. You have a very small aperture, so you have to shoot long exposures.

pixel: Short for picture element. The basic building block of every image.

plug-in: A small program or utility that runs within another, larger program. Many special-effects filters operate as plug-ins to major photo-editing programs such as Adobe Photoshop Elements.

PNG: A file format designed to work well with online viewing applications.

point-and-shoot: A type of digital camera that has automatic settings for most features (such as focus and exposure).

polarizer: Camera filter that reduces the glare bouncing off shiny surfaces in your photos. Can also help deepen the contrast of the sky from certain angles.
HOYA CIRCULAR PL filters allow you to remove unwanted
reflections from non-metallic surfaces such as water, glass etc. 

portrait mode: The orientation of an image in which the longest dimension is vertical, also called tall orientation.

ppi: Stands for pixels per inch. Used to state image print resolution. Measured in terms of the number of pixels per linear inch. A higher ppi usually translates to better-looking printed images.

print resolution: The number of pixels per linear inch (ppi) in a printed photo; the user sets this value inside a photo-editing program.

proprietary format: Also called native format. The format used by only that particular type of camera.

prosumer: A digital camera model that includes many features on professional cameras but also offers automatic settings.

PSD: Short for personal storage device. A standalone battery-operated burner or hard drive.


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