Monday, October 1, 2012

BASIC Digital Photography Glossary: Q to Z

BASIC Digital Photography Glossary: Q to Z

Photography Word Cloud Concept on a Blackboard 
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.


quick-connect plate: A mount on some digital cameras that allows you to easily attach the camera to a tripod.
Most tripods include a quick-connect plate like the one shown in this figure.


RAM: Random Access Memory. Your computer’s system memory.

RAW - Many photographers will choose to shoot their images in RAW format. This is essentially an unprocessed image.
Choosing RAW format in Canon DSLR
Shooting in RAW allows the photographer a broader range of flexibility after the shot is taken. It is almost like an undeveloped negative. Images captured in JPG format have been processed and aren’t as easy to manipulate later. 
Think of it this way:
     Film: Negative -> Print
     Digital: RAW -> JPEG
Not all cameras have RAW shooting mode. All DSLRs do though.

rangefinder camera: A type of camera that includes a focusing mechanism which allows the photographer to measure the subject distance and take photographs in sharp focus.

rear curtain sync: An electronic flash synchronization technique in which the flash fires only when the second (rear) curtain of the focal plane shutter begins to move at the end of the exposure.

red eye: An effect from flash photography that appears to make a person or animal’s eyes glow red. Caused by light bouncing from the retina of the eye.

resolution: A term used to describe the capabilities of digital cameras, scanners, printers, and monitors; means different things depending on the device.

RGB: The standard color model for digital images; all colors are created by mixing red, green, and blue light.

rule of thirds: A way of mentally dividing your picture horizontally and vertically into thirds, then placing important subject matter where these lines intersect.
Rule of Thirds: See how the bicycle and man are positioned on the intersection points

This is the basic idea of composition. It is essentially dividing the image up into three horizontal and vertical sections.
These lines are available to see on most point-and-shoot cameras. On a DSLR, you can either change the filter in your eyepiece (viewfinder) or imagine them. Depending on who you ask (and I’ve been taught both ways by my mentors and in internships) you can either use the lines to ensure that your subjects (those you are photographing) are not centered or that they are centered.


samples per inch (spi): The number of pixels both horizontally and vertically in each squared inch scanned by a scanner or recorded by a digital camera.

scene modes: Digital camera’s special picture-taking modes that are designed to automatically set all the available focus and exposure controls for a certain type of subject matter.

self-timer: Mechanism that delays the opening of the shutter for some seconds after the release has been operated.

Shooting Speed/Mode- This determines how many pictures (or exposures) your camera will take when the shutter is pressed down.

     Single- When the shutter is pressed it will take one picture. To take another picture, you need to press 
                  the shutter again.
    Continuous- When the shutter is pressed and held down it will keep taking pictures until the card fills up 
                  or the processor can’t write anymore photos to the card.
On your camera, this is typically characterized by the three rectangles stacked on top of one another.
shoulder stock: Devices modeled after rifle stocks that brace the camera lens into your shoulder, thus helping hold it steady.

shutter: The device in a camera that opens and shuts to allow light into the camera.

shutter button: The button on your digital camera that you press to take a picture.

shutter speed: The length of time that the camera shutter remains open, thereby allowing light to enter the camera and expose the photograph.
Photography lesson #4 – Shutter speed
 a great resource from miketurner-photography
The shutter speed is the actual time that the shutter is open to allow light to hit the sensor. Shutter speed is usually measured in seconds. The smaller the number is, the shorter the shutter will be open. Longer shutter speeds are used for low light conditions such as shooting at night, or can give the effect of fast motion making objects appear blurry.

shutter-priority autoexposure: A semi-automatic exposure mode in which the photographer sets the shutter speed and the camera selects the appropriate aperture.

single auto-focus: A setting in which the camera focuses on a single object.

slave: An accessory flash unit that supplements the main flash, usually triggered electronically when the slave senses the light output by the main unit.

SLR (single-lens reflex) camera: A type of camera that includes interchangeable lenses, manual focus and exposure controls, and connections for an external flash.

snoot: A tube-like device that focuses the flash’s light to a very small area.

soft box: An attachment that mounts on the head of the flash and extends out about 6 to 8 inches, with a frosted white panel at the end, which softens the light.
spot metering: Metering mode that bases exposure on light in the center of the frame only.

stitch: Creating a panorama from multiple images by overlapping those images.

strobe: Another name for an electronic flash unit, especially when it's used as the only source of illumination.

subcompact: A type of digital camera that's small enough to fit comfortably in a shirt pocket.

swivel mount: The part of a tripod to which the camera attaches that you can move to some degree.

sync connector: A special bracket that fastens to the tripod socket on the bottom of a digital camera; allows you to connect an external flash to your camera.


table-top tripod: A lightweight tripod with shorter legs than a standard tripod. Also called a mini-tripod.

telephoto lens: A lens that magnifies an image.
The telephoto lens is used in taking photos that are
far away, allowing more detail to be shown in the distance.
TIFF: Pronounced tiff, as in a little quarrel. Stands for tagged image file format. A popular image format supported by most Macintosh and Windows programs.

time-lapse: Taking a picture at specified intervals to capture an event occuring over a long period of time.

tolerance: The range of color or tonal values that will be selected with a tool such as an image editor’s Magic Wand, or filled with paint when using a tool such as the Paint Bucket.

tripod: A three-legged supporting stand used to hold the camera steady. Especially useful when using slow shutter speeds and/or telephoto lenses.


ultra-compact: A type of digital camera that's the size of a credit card, with a depth of less than 1 inch, that fits comfortably in a front jeans pocket.

underexposed: When too little light hits the camera’s film or image-sensor array, creating an image that’s too dark.
upsample: Add pixels to a digital image.

USB: Stands for Universal Serial Bus. A type of port now included on most computers. Most digital cameras come with a USB cable for connecting the camera to this port.


VGA resolution: Video Graphics Array resolution. A display of 640-x-480 pixels with 16 or 256 colors.

video card: A computer adapter card used to manage the display on the monitor.

viewfinder: The device in a camera used to frame the image.

vignette: To add dark corners to an image; often produced by using a lens hood that’s too small for the field of view or generated artificially by using image-editing techniques.

white balancing: Adjusting the camera to compensate for the type of light hitting the photographic subject. Eliminates unwanted color casts produced by some light sources, such as fluorescent office lighting.

wide-angle lens: A lens that has a shorter focal length and a wider field of view than a normal lens for a particular film or digital image format.
Wide angle lenses are defined as lenses with focal lengths that are less than 50 mm most commonly used for
landscape photography. Wide-angle lenses are good at focusing on everything rather than one small part of a scene.


Zip drive: A type of removable storage device known as a super floppy drive; store information on Zip disks.

zoom lens: A lens that can change focal lengths at your command to provide more or less magnification of the image.
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