Photography Terms: The Complete List (A to Z) in 2023

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By Alex Jones

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Gettings Started in Photography? Don’t let the Technical Words stop you from growing. Check out this list of 90+ Common Photography Terms used in day-to-day life of a photographer.

You can use the table of content below to jump on your favorite section.

Table of Contents

Photography Terms By ‘A’

Below, you can check the most common photography terms starting with A.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient Lighting

Our first Photography Term is Ambient Lighting. It is the evenly distributed light that comes from all directions. It is a general term that encompasses all types of natural light in a location. Examples of ambient light can come from the sky, the ground and surrounding objects. 

Outdoor scenes have more ambient light because the sky is usually a significant source. Indoor locations generally have less ambient light because most light comes from flash or other lighting equipment. 

It can also refer to the Natural Lighting in a room from the sun through the windows. It is also known as “bounce light”.



The aperture is the opening in the lens through which light passes to the sensor. The size of the opening can be changed to control the amount of light that reaches the sensor. 

Aperture is expressed in f-stops: the lower the f-stop number, the wider the gap, and the light reaches the sensor. It is the ratio of the focal length to the diameter of the aperture opening. 

Wide apertures (low f-stop numbers) let in more light and enable you to use faster shutter speeds. Narrow apertures (high f-stop numbers) let in less light and will allow you to use slower shutter speeds.

Aspect ratio 

Aspect ratio

The aspect ratio is the relationship between the width and height of an image. The two most common aspect ratios in photography are 4:3 and 3:2. 

APS-C Cameras 

APS-C cameras are smaller, lighter and cheaper than DSLRs but larger than Point-And-Shoot Cameras. They are highly recommended for beginners and are more of a jack-of-all-trades camera. 

Their smaller sensor means that they can’t capture the same depth of field as a full-frame camera, but their lenses are relatively cheap and can be used on both APS-C and full-frame cameras.

Auto Focus 


One of the first things you need to know about your camera is how to focus on a subject. To do this, you’ll need to set the focus to autofocus. On most cameras, this is done by pressing the shutter button halfway down. 

Doing this will automatically focus the camera on whatever is in the centre of the picture. If you want to move the focus to a different part of the picture, you can press the shutter button halfway down, move the camera to the area you want to focus on, and then let go of the shutter button.

Action Camera

GoPro Action Camera

Action Camera refers to a small, compact, and rugged type of camera. They are typically used for recording action shots like sports, where a durable camera is better suited than a fragile one. 

The first generation of these cameras was released in the early 2000s, but the technology has come a long way from the early days of this digital camera revolution. The action cameras were weighed down by their size and video quality and were often popular with consumers.

Photography Terms By ‘B’

Below, you can check the most common photography terms starting with B.

Blue Hour 

Blue Hour

The Blue Hour is a natural phenomenon occurring just before sunrise and just after sunset. During this time, the light from the sky is a beautiful shade of blue. The term Blue Hour comes from the French expression “Heure Bleue” (literally “blue hour” in English), the German expression “Blaue Stunde”, the Italian expression “ora blu”, and the Spanish expression “hora Azul”.


Bracketing is a way of taking several pictures of the same subject with varying exposures to ensure that one of them will be adequately exposed. When using automatic exposure, the camera best guesses the correct direction for a particular scene. The problem is that it’s not always accurate. 

Bracketing is a way to ensure that you don’t end up with an image too dark or too light. It works by having the photographer take three or more pictures of the same subject, each with a different exposure. The camera will automatically change the direction of each shot. This allows the photographer to choose the best-exposed picture from the set.



Bokeh is a photography term used to describe the aesthetic quality of the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, especially as rendered by a particular lens. The word comes from the Japanese word boke (暈け or ぼけ), meaning blur or haze. It also refers to the effect itself, the aesthetic quality of the blur in a photograph.

Bulb Mode 

Bulb mode is a feature that is usually found on a DSLR camera. This feature will allow you to photograph a subject at a long exposure time. The downside is that it is manual, so you must make sure you hold the shutter open for the correct time. 

The feature that allows you to do this is a little switch on the side of your camera. This feature is handy if you are taking pictures of things like fireworks or starry night skies.

Burst rate

burst mode

A burst rate is the number of photos taken using a digital camera at a given second. The burst rate is measured in Frames Per Second (FPS). Some digital cameras offer a few different burst rates, for example, 3 FPS, 5 FPS, 7 FPS, etc. A higher burst rate allows you to get more pictures of a fast-moving subject.

Photography Terms By ‘C’

Below, you can check the most common photography terms starting with C.

Camera Resolution 

camera resolution

Resolution is the word used to describe the number of pixels used to create an image. The related terms are pixel density, the number of pixels available per inch of the picture. The larger the number, the better the image quality. 

Whereas resolution is the number of pixels, camera pixel refers to the sensor’s physical size to capture an image. Cameras with larger sensors will typically produce better quality images.


Candid Photography example 1

A candid photograph is one in which the subject was unaware of the photographer’s presence. Candid pictures are taken without permission, without the subject’s knowledge. This can sometimes be a challenge for a photographer, as it is essential to keep away from a matter without revealing their presence. 

Candids can be very difficult to obtain. Some photographers will try to remain hidden from view, while others will pose as a public members.

Camera Shake

camera shake

Every amateur or professional photographer will use a tripod or some stand to keep the camera still when taking photos, but what about all of those times when you don’t have a tripod with you? Well, you’ll often be tempted to use a shutter speed that’s too slow to compensate for a camera shake. 

Camera shake is used to describe the jittery and blurry effect when the camera is not held entirely still. A camera shake is most common when a photo is taken using a shutter speed that is too slow to compensate for the camera’s movement, such as when the photographer moves the camera while the shutter is open.


Chimping is a photographic term that originated from in-camera film preview. When shooting film with a DSLR, photographers would take a small peak at the image on the LCD screen to ensure that their idea was correctly exposed. 

This became a big issue for many photographers because it bothered the flow of capture and made it difficult to capture the perfect moment. Since the advent of digital cameras, however, there is no need to chimp.

Chromatic Aberration

Chromatic Aberration

Chromatic aberration is a common problem that is caused by the lens elements in a camera. The pain often occurs when using a camera with high resolution and a wide-angle lens. The problem is that the camera lens cannot focus all the different wavelengths of light to the same point on the sensor. 

When this happens, the resulting photo will have a slight colour fringe around the edges. The frame will be a mixture of red, green, and blue, often referred to as a “halo” or “ring”. The best way to fix this problem is to use a lens that has fewer aberration problems.


A composite image is a photograph or a digital image created from combining multiple exposures into a single image. The hybrid aims to create an image with better quality than any of the individual source images. 

In digital imaging, this is done by using computer software to combine the images using methods from digital image processing. The resulting merged image is called a composite, a montage, a collage, or a photomontage.


The composition of a photograph is the way the photo is composed. The design can vary greatly, depending on the photographer and the subject. Many photographers follow a set of rules when writing a picture, including the rule of thirds, odds, and space. The rule of thirds is a simple rule that can break. The rule of odds is a more complex rule that is truly hard to break.



Contrast is one of the most critical elements of photography. Understanding contrast will help you compose shots, edit and process images, and even print and display your photos. Contrast is the difference in the visual intensity between two or more elements within an image. Contrast is the key to creating images that will look great when you share them with others.

Crop factor 

The crop factor is used to measure the ratio of a Full-Frame Camera to a DSLR Camera. A standard 35mm camera is 35mm wide and 24mm tall. A full-frame camera is the same size as a 35mm camera.

A DSLR camera is a digital camera that uses a single-lens reflex (SLR) through the viewfinder. The different sizes can be helpful when comparing lenses. The crop factor is additional for each camera brand and is used to compare other brands.

CMOS Sensor

CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) sensors are popular imaging sensors used in digital, video, webcams, and other devices. It combine digital circuitry and an integrated photodetector that converts light into an electric current. 

They are used in digital cameras instead of CCDs (charge-coupled devices) because they are better in low-light conditions and have less power. Even though they are less sensitive to light than CCDs, their ability to capture video has made them a popular choice for video cameras, too.

Photography Terms By ‘D’

Below, you can check the most common photography terms starting with D.

Digital Photography

Digital Photography

The word digital photography is a relatively new term. It came into use around the time when digital cameras were first introduced. It is common to refer to digital cameras as digital photography.

Digital photography is the use of digital technology to capture, store, manipulate and print photographs. The digital approach has many advantages over traditional film-based photography, including taking many pictures and seeing the resulting images immediately.

Double Exposure 

Double Exposure 

Double exposure is a photographic technique that involves exposing the same piece of film or plate to two or more separate images. The first photographer is the leading photographer who is taking the picture. The second photographer is the person taking the concept of the main photographer. 

Often the second photographer is someone who is not involved in the photoshoot. Photographers have used this technique for years. The double exposure technique has become more popular recently because of digital cameras and digital photo software improvement.

DSLR Cameras 

DSLR Cameras 

DSLR is an acronym for Digital Single-Lens Reflex. This digital camera uses a mirror and pentaprism to reflect the image seen by the lens onto a viewfinder or other optical device, allowing the photographer to see what will be captured. 

The system allows the photographer to see the image captured and thus can be composed more easily. The main feature of the DSLR is the reflex mirror which allows the photographer to see through the lens of the camera.

Dynamic Range 

Dynamic Range 

The Dynamic Range is the ratio of the maximum brightness capacity to the minimum degree of brightness that can capture. It helps in grasping the content of intelligence in a photograph, and it is limited by the exposure range of the film or image sensor. Dynamic range is measured in exposure values (EV) or logarithmic exposure values (log EV).

The camera’s film or sensor limits the maximum dynamic range. Photographic film has a much higher dynamic range than current digital sensors. A typical value for 35mm film is about 12 EV, while standard digital cameras with 12-bit sensors have a dynamic range of about 11 EV.


A diaphragm is a round, circular, or square piece of transparent material in a camera lens, through which light passes to form an image on the film or sensor inside. It is the primary means of controlling the amount of light reaching the film or sensor. A diaphragm is usually made of plastic or a combination of plastic and glass. 

Depth of Field 

Depth of Field 

Depth of field (DOF) is the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appear acceptably sharp in an image. In other words, it is the zone of a photo in which everything is in focus. DOF can be shallow, medium, or profound. Shallow DOF is achieved when a large aperture (small number) is used and sharp objects close to and far from the camera.

Medium DOF is achieved when a small gap (large number) is used, and only things close to the camera are brilliant. Deep DOF is achieved when a small aperture (large number) is used, and only objects far from the camera are sharp. A shallow DOF (large aperture) will create a more dreamy, romantic feeling in a photo, while a deep DOF (small aperture) will create a more three-dimensional effect.

Direct Sunlight

Direct Sunlight

Direct sunlight refers to the sunlight that falls directly on a subject. It is the most common light source for photography, and it is the easiest to work. Direct sunlight can be harsh and cause lens flare, especially with digital cameras, but it can be very effective if the light is diffused with a reflector. 

When working with direct sunlight, the photographer must ensure that the subject is not in the shade. For example, a person is standing in a shadow and is lit with direct sunlight. There will be a sharp contrast between the bright sunlight and the shadows. If the photographer wants to use natural sunlight to illuminate, the subject can fill the shadows with a reflector.

Photography Terms By ‘E’

Below, you can check the most common photography terms starting with E.



Exposure is the amount of light allowed to fall on the film or sensor of a digital camera. It is determined by the shutter speed, the aperture and the sensitivity (ISO) of the film or sensor.

Exposure can be expressed as an exposure value (EV) or a combination of f-number (F-stop), shutter speed and ISO. The camera exposure settings are typically displayed on the camera’s LCD screen. The camera settings determine the exposure, so it is crucial to understand how they affect exposure.

Exposure Compensation 

Exposure compensation is a feature found on almost every DSLR camera that is used to manually adjust the exposure of a photograph when the camera’s automatic exposure (AE) system has failed to produce the desired result.

Using exposure compensation, you can increase or decrease the amount of light reaching the camera’s sensor. You can read more about how exposure compensation works in this article.

Exposure Value

Exposure value (EV) is a numerical measure of the amount of light a photographic film or digital sensor will record, with higher values indicating greater sensitivity. The exposure value of a movie or sensor is given as a ratio, such as 400:1 or 4:1.

The first number represents the film’s or sensor’s sensitivity to light, the second number its tonal range, or the amount of fine gradation between the darkest and lightest areas that the film or sensor can reproduce.

Photography Terms By ‘F’

Below, you can check the most common photography terms starting with F.


F-Stop is the term used by photographers to designate the aperture of a lens. The f-stop number refers to the opening size in the lens that allows light to reach the camera sensor. If a lens is capable of letting in more light, it has a lower f-stop number.

Lower f-stop numbers are associated with a larger opening in the lens. The f-stop is a fraction with an “f” representing the focal length and a number representing the aperture. A low f-stop number means that the aperture is large, letting in more light and creating a shallow depth of field.

Focal length 

The focal length is the distance between the lens and sensor when the subject of an image is in focus. The distance between the lens and the film/sensor (see illustration). The amount of light entering the camera is controlled by the aperture and shutter speed, which the user sets.

The focal length is fixed for a particular lens, meaning it does not change. The focal length of a lens is usually represented in millimetres (mm).

Fill Light 

Fill Light 

Fill light is one of the most important aspects in any kind of photography. It refers to the brightness or intensity of the light that falls on the subject from the leading light. Even the darkest of scenes needs fill light to add detail and dimension.

The fill light makes the shadows in your issue visible, instead of just a black hole. The way fill light works is that it illuminates the clouds and dark areas of your subject. Without this, the shadows would just appear as a dark area, and your issue would appear flat and undefined.

Flash Sync Speed 

Flash sync speed refers to the fastest shutter speed used when flash is used in a camera. The quicker the shutter speed, the more light will be entering the camera through the lens. The strength of the flash will affect how much light the subject is receiving. For example, an intense flash will have a more significant effect than a weak flash.

Hence, to avoid overexposing the issue, you should use the slowest shutter speed that you can use when using flash. The slower the shutter speed, the stronger the flash will need to be. To avoid overexposing the subject, try to use the slowest shutter speed that you can use when shooting with flash.


Framing is the act of taking a picture with a subject in a way that makes it seem like it is the centre of attention. It is often used to draw the attention of a viewer to the subject of the picture.

While framing is a prevalent art form, it is tough to master. It requires a photographer to look at the issue differently. A photographer must learn to see the subject so that it is not visible to the naked eye.

Fish Eye Lens 

Nikon first used the term fish-eye lens in the 1970s to describe its 8mm f/2.8 Fisheye lens. The term was used to describe the unusual circular image produced by this lens. The use of time was short-lived, and the more appropriate term wide-angle lens replaced it.

Today, a fish-eye lens is a lens can capture images with a 180-degree angle of view. The photos are usually distorted and look similar to that of a fish’s eye.


A full-frame camera is a digital camera where the sensor is large enough to cover the 35mm film frame. The term “full-frame” is also used for the film format and the digital equivalent.

Full-frame cameras offer higher image quality compared to smaller formats, though they are usually more expensive.

Photography Terms By ‘G’

Below, you can check the most common photography terms starting with G.


Depending on the type of lighting setup for a room or atmosphere you are trying to achieve, a gobo can be a handy tool. Gobos are used to help control the Lighting that hits an object in a room. They can be as simple as a card placed in front of a light or as complex as a custom-made piece of metal with intricate designs cut out of it. Gobo is short for a go-between.

The gobo is placed in front of a light to go between the light and your subject. It is used to help control the quality and quantity of light that is hitting the issue. Gobo is also used as a verb. When you use a gobo, you are going.

Golden Hour

golden hour photography example

The Golden Hour is the time of day when the sun is at its highest point in the sky but not directly overhead. During the Golden Hour, the sun casts a warm glow on clouds and objects on the horizon, creating a beautiful golden light that creates soft shadows.

You’ll often find that photographers seek out the Golden Hour to take pictures of landscapes and people. The effects of the Golden Hour can be so dramatic that they’re often used in post-processing.

Photography Terms By ‘H’

Below, you can check the most common photography terms starting with H.

High-Key Lighting 

High-Key Lighting 

“High-key” is a style of lighting that is soft and produces a lot of contrast. It is created by using a large aperture (f/2.8, f/4) and lots of light. A high-key image has extremely light shadows and is almost pure white.

High-key photos can be used to create surreal images or to create a dreamlike image purposely. A high-key picture is not just “overly bright” but is also very bright where it needs to be, for example, on the subjects face.


The Histogram is an essential feature of every digital camera used to determine the distribution of light in an image. It is used to adjust the image’s contrast and brightness. In Photoshop, the Histogram is a graph that shows the distribution of light in a snap. The horizontal axis represents the tones from darkest to lightest.

The vertical axis represents the number of pixels in a given style. The Histogram is a great way to understand your image’s tonal range and see if it’s properly exposed. If it has a big hump on the left-hand side, it means that there are a lot of dark pixels. If the graph has a big hump on the right-hand side, it means that there are a lot of light pixels.


It stands for High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography. HDR photography is a technique used to produce an image with a more fantastic dynamic range between the lightest and darkest areas by combining multiple photos taken at different exposure levels and then merging them. The result is an image that contains a more fantastic range of light and colour.


The hyperfocal distance is the point of focus where all the light that enters the camera lens is brought into focus. The depth of field is maximized in Hyperfocal. It is the distance between the camera and the closest object in direction and the space to the farthest thing in focus.

It is also the distance between the camera and the most relative object in focus at the largest aperture and the farthest thing at the smallest gap. The hyperfocal distance of a camera depends on the lens focal length, the aperture and the focus distance. The hyperfocal distance can be calculated using the following formula:

Okay, let’s see an example. Say you’re using a 35mm lens, and you have an aperture of f/5.6. You are taking a picture of a mountain 300 meters away, and you want to make sure that everything from 250 meters to 350 meters is in focus. The hyperfocal distance would be: the space is always more significant than the focus distance.

Photography Terms By ‘I’

Below, you can check the most common photography terms starting with I.


ISO is a term thrown around a lot in photography, but many people don’t know it. It is a term that is used to describe the sensitivity of a camera’s sensor to light. The rating is written as 200 ISO, 400 ISO, 3200 ISO, etc.

In photography, ISO is used to create a proper exposure. When you have too much light on your camera, you will have to lower the ISO to get the appropriate direction. If you have low light, you will need a higher ISO to get proper exposure.

Image Stabilization

Image stabilization refers to a technology that helps you reduce the amount of camera shake and blur in your photos. The technology works by moving the sensor to compensate for the camera shake. Image stabilization is available in two types, lens-shift and sensor-shift.

Lens-shift image stabilization is available in some higher-end lenses and shifts the lens to compensate for camera shake. Sensor-shift image stabilization is a technology that changes the sensor position using electromagnets. The technology is available on all DSLRs, entry-level mirrorless cameras, and point-and-shoot cameras.

Photography Terms By ‘J’

Below, you can check the most common photography terms starting with J.


JPEG is a standard image file format for digital cameras, smartphones, and various other devices. It stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group and is used to store continuous-tone images. JPEG files are compressed to achieve faster transmission times and smaller file sizes.

JPEG is a lossy format, which means that the file is compressed to lose some data. This results in a lower-quality image but smaller file sizes. The “quality” setting determines how much compression is applied to the idea and how much data is lost. This setting varies from camera to camera.

Photography Terms By ‘K’

Below, you can check the most common photography terms starting with K.

Key Light 

In photography terminology, a key light is the principal light source in a scene. The key light is usually the brightest light source in a set, and it determines the overall illumination in a location. Depending on the photographer’s mood, the key light can be adjusted to be brighter or darker than the fill light.


Kelvin is a temperature unit used in the measurement of colour temperature. It is used in photography to describe the colour of light or the colour temperature of a light source. In photography, the temperature of a colour is measured in Kelvin.

The human eye sees colour best between 4,000 and 6,500 Kelvin. The higher the temperature, the bluer the light appears. The lower the temperature, the redder the light appears.

Photography Terms By ‘L’

Below, you can check the most common photography terms starting with L.

Lens Flare 

Lens Flare 

Lens flare is a phenomenon caused by light scattering from the image sensor. It appears as a pattern of bright spots on an image. Lens flare is a problem for a photographer because it reduces the picture’s contrast and colour saturation.

One of the primary purposes of the lens is to collect light rays that converge and produce a sharp image. However, light rays reflected inside the lens will miss the image sensor and not contribute to the image formation. It leads to flare and ghosting. Also, the lens used in mobile phones is small, which results in more flare.

Light Meter 

Light Meter 

A light meter is a device that measures the light in a given environment. It is used in photography to determine the correct exposure for a photograph.

You can use a light meter to figure out if you need to add more light to a scene or if you can get away with using less. The meter uses a unique sensor to measure the amount of light entering the camera and displays the information on a digital screen.

Lighting Ratio 

Lighting Ratio 

Photography lighting ratio refers to the amount of lights v/s amount of subjects. A typical photography lighting ratio would be 1:2. You have two issues; then, you should have at least four lights.

Remember that this ratio is just a rule of thumb – it can be increased or decreased depending on your specific requirements. The critical point to keep in mind is that you should have more lights than the number of subjects. The lighting ratio should always be more significant than 1:2.


The LUT (Look-Up Table) is a file that contains a set of mathematical instructions for mapping colour values from one range to another. LUTs are used in colour grading and video post-production. To understand LUT, let’s consider an example.

When we capture images through a camera, the image sensor records each pixel’s specific colour value. It is referred to as the “raw” data from which a digital image can be generated. But, of course, we need to convert the raw data into a standard format such as JPEG, which is the most common image format for the internet. The process of converting raw data into JPEG format is called colour grading.

It can be done in various ways, but it is usually done by applying multiple colour correction filters to the raw data. These filters can be designed in many different ways. A LUT is simply a file that contains a set of these filters. The LUT is used for reference while adjusting the image’s colour, and all the colour processing is done with the help of this LUT.

Lens Hood 

Lens Hood 

A lens hood is a piece of equipment that is attached to the front of a camera lens. The lens hood is placed between the lens and the camera to help block out glare and reduce lens flare. Lens flares are caused by light scattering off the lens and bouncing around inside the lens.

A lens hood helps eliminate this bouncing around light and makes your photos appear more transparent and vibrant. Lens hoods are essential for telephoto lenses. Telephoto lenses are used for taking pictures of distant objects. Without a lens hood, the lens will capture a lot of light from the sun and other sources. And, It can cause a lot of lens flare.

Lens Distortion

Lens distortion is a phenomenon caused by the refraction of light through a lens. This refraction causes some amount of (often unwanted) image distortion. Most lenses used for photography are “positive” lenses, thicker in the middle than at the edges.

It causes the light entering the lens to refract towards the centre of the lens. And, also results in the image displayed by the lens being stretched towards the middle of the picture.

Photography Terms By ‘M’

Below, you can check the most common photography terms starting with M.

Macro Lens 

Macro Lens 

Macro lenses are the lenses that are used for taking pictures in the macro mode. They are used for taking pictures of tiny objects from close range. The macro lenses are mainly used to take photos of flowers, insects and other small living creatures. The macro lenses are also used for taking pictures of the tiny details of the objects.

They are used for taking photos of the little things that are generally invisible to our naked eyes. The macro lenses are used for taking pictures of things that are typically very small. The macro lenses are also used for taking pictures of things that are usually very small.

Mirrorless Camera 

Mirrorless cameras have gotten quite popular recently. They are the new trend, and many people are buying them because of their size and weight. What exactly is a mirrorless camera? A mirrorless camera is a camera that does not have a mirror in it. It means that the camera can be a lot thinner and a lot lighter than a standard DSLR.

Manual Metadata 

Metadata is information that describes and gives information about other data. In the photography world, you have metadata processed in your camera and the metadata processed in your computer. In your camera, you can enter data that is known as “manual metadata.” That data is captured using your camera and can be used to be applied to the picture. 

Manual Focus

What is the manual focus? You probably think of auto-focus when you think of a camera, but a manual focus option is often overlooked. A manual guide is when you manually choose the focal point for your lens rather than letting your camera calculate it automatically.

It is helpful for low light situations because it helps you capture a clear photo without using the flash. There are two types of manual focus: Single-focal-point (SFP) and multi-focal-point (MFP). When using SFP, you choose exactly where the focal point will be. When using MFP, your camera will focus on several points, usually between 4 and 10, depending on your camera.

Photography Terms By ‘N’

Below, you can check the most common photography terms starting with N.


Noise, as a term, is used to describe the random grainy pattern in an image caused by a digital process. A high noise level can be caused by a low level of light and a high ISO (sensitivity). Noise can be reduced by using a lower ISO, a higher shutter speed, or lighting an image.

A lens can also cause noise. The amount of noise produced is called the “noise factor”. And it is measured on a scale of 1 to 5. The lower the noise factor, the less noise a lens produces.

Photography Terms By ‘O’

Below, you can check the most common photography terms starting with O.


Overexposure is when a photo is too bright. It can be caused by using too long of exposure or using a high ISO. Often, you can adjust the direction when you are editing the photo in a program like Adobe Photoshop.

When the image is not overexposed, you will want to darken the subject. The opposite of overexposure is underexposure. Most professional photographers prefer to overexpose a photo slightly because they can permanently darken it, but they can’t lighten it.



The Overcast is a single image that is used to represent an entire collection of pictures. This Overcast can be of any size or shape. The best way to use the Overcast is to place it in the upper part of the collection, just under the group’s title. It is a good idea to put the Overcast in a different place for each collection.

Photography Terms By ‘P’

Below, you can check the most common photography terms starting with P.

Photo Retouching 

Photo Retouching 

Photo retouching is a form of image editing which involves altering photographs, mainly by removing imperfections and changing the overall appearance. The goal of photo retouching is to create an image that appears to have been shot under the same conditions as the subject’s original scene.

There are two different ways to take retouching into account. One is the traditional retouching, which involves drawing or adding new elements to the photo, and the other is the photo restoration, which restores the picture to its original state.

Prime Lens 

Prime lens refers to a lens with a fixed focal length so that the photographer cannot zoom in or out. Primes are generally more affordable than zoom lenses, and professionals and enthusiasts often prefer them for their superior image quality. Prime lenses also have wider maximum apertures than zoom lenses at the same focal length, making them useful in low-light situations.


Pixels are the smallest unit of measurement for a digital image. Each pixel is made up of three coloured dots that can be combined to create 16.7 million colours. The greater the number of pixels an image has, the more detail and clarity it will have.

In the past, photographs were measured in megapixels, the number of pixels used to create the picture. Today, most images are measured in pixels.

Point and Shoot Cameras

Point and Shoot Cameras

A point and shoot camera is the most basic type of camera available. Point and shoot cameras are perfect for people who just want to take pictures of their children, friends or pets. You can’t change the settings on point and shoot cameras, so they can only take snapshots.

Point and shoot cameras are also known as compact cameras because they are tiny, making them easy to carry. Point and shoot cameras have become less popular over the past few years because smartphones have cameras built into them.

Photography Terms By ‘Q’

Below, you can check the most common photography terms starting with Q.


The quality of a camera is a very subjective thing. There are many different ways of evaluating a camera’s quality. Some use an outright number of megapixels, but others prefer to use the quality of the camera’s lens.

In the digital age, the quality of the camera has become very subjective. What does it mean for a camera to be high quality, though? A high-quality camera should be able to take high-quality pictures. A high-quality image has a high level of clarity, colour, and overall quality.

Photography Terms By ‘R’

Below, you can check the most common photography terms starting with R.


A reflector is a tool that helps photographers bounce light onto the subject being photographed. It is placed onto the opposite side of the sun or light source and helps to fill in the shadows and create a more natural look.

The three main types of reflectors are white, silver, and gold. The gold reflector is the warmest, while the silver reflector is the coolest. The white reflector is a combination of the two. It is often used as a reflector only when photographing landscapes.


Raw files are uncompressed images. They are unprocessed and contain data from the camera’s sensor. A raw image file contains all the information required to recreate the image exactly as it was captured.

Raw files are different from JPEG or other compressed files in that they usually have a more comprehensive range of colours and more bits of information. They can also be processed in different ways, depending on the user’s needs.


The resolution of digital images is the number of pixels in any given dimension that it contains. Resolution is usually expressed as width × height in pixels. For example, a camera with a 2000 × 3000 pixels resolution will produce an image of 2000 pixels wide and 3000 pixels high.

Remote Shutter Release 

When you press down on the shutter release button on your camera, you’re just connecting two electrical contacts in the camera that tell the camera to expose the film or sensor. A remote shutter release gives you the ability to trip the camera’s shutter without touching the camera itself.

It can be advantageous when hand holding a camera or in any situation where connecting the camera might cause a camera shake. If you want to take pictures of fireworks or a birthday party, this will help prevent the camera from shaking when you press the shutter release button and give you sharper photos.

Rule of Thirds 

Photography is a vast subject, filled with several terms and phrases that are often used interchangeably. To properly understand the issue, one must learn the correct meaning of these phrases. The rule of thirds is commonly used in photography, but most people think more is to it.

For example, the rule of thirds is not just a set of lines dividing an image into a grid; it is a composition technique taught in photography schools. It is a way of placing elements within the frame so that they are visually balanced.

Rapid shooting

Rapid shooting is the act of taking photos in quick succession with a camera. It is done to ensure that you do not miss a photo opportunity. A shot that is taken too late is often overlooked, which is why rapid shooting is used. Rapid shooting is also used to capture a moment that is changing quickly.

For example, rapid shooting can capture a person blinking or the moment a ball is thrown in the air. Rapid shooting can also be used to capture different angles and viewpoints of the same object. In this case, one can use their camera’s burst mode to take several photos of the thing at different angles.

Photography Terms By ‘S’

Below, you can check the most common photography terms starting with S.


A selfie is a photograph that one takes of oneself. A selfie is typically taken with a hand-held digital camera or a webcam, often facilitated by a smartphone or computer, and uploaded to a social media website such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Selfies are casual and typically taken with a smartphone. They are generally taken either in a mirror or by the photographer.


In photography, saturation refers to the intensity of the colours in a photograph. A highly saturated picture has a lot of vivid colours, whereas a low saturation photo has less intense colours. When you adjust the saturation level in Photoshop, you increase or decrease the intensity of the colours. You can change the saturation of a photo by going to image> Adjustments > Hue/Saturation.

Scene modes 

A mode is a setting within a camera that changes the way the camera takes pictures. Scene modes change many camera settings automatically so that you don’t have to adjust the camera settings to get the right shot constantly. When to use scene modes: Scene modes are best used when you are in a hurry or are unfamiliar with the camera.

They are an excellent way to get a good picture in difficult lighting conditions, such as a wedding reception or a party in a dark room. Scene modes do not take the place of using the camera’s manual mode. Manual camera settings are better for more advanced photographers, who know how to adjust the camera’s settings to get the exact picture they want.

Shutter Speed 

Shutter speed is a photo technique that involves controlling how long the shutter remains open to expose light to the image sensor. It is measured in seconds or thousandths of a second. Shutter speed controls how long your camera sensor is exposed to sunlight.

The longer it is exposed, the more light strikes the sensor, and the brighter your image becomes. Shutter speed creates effects such as motion blur and depth of field or freezes action.


In photography, sharpness refers to the clarity or amount of detail an image contains. A sharp image has a high degree of contrast between light and dark areas and a high degree of detail in those areas. The best way to achieve sharpness during capture is to use a large sensor and a wide-open aperture camera.

The sharpest images have the most incredible detail and the most contrast between light and dark areas. While it’s not possible to achieve the same degree of sharpness in an image that you can with a camera, it’s possible to improve further the edge of your pictures with photo editing software.

Soft Light 

Soft light is light that has been diffused so that it eliminates shadows and softens the image. The soft light tends to wrap around objects and can create a glowing and warm effect. In photography, the soft light is created by placing a significant light source so that it is close to the subject but not directly facing the camera.

The multiple light source will cover a larger area than a small light source, creating softer light. Shadows are diffused and wrap around the subject, rather than making hard shadows. Using soft light will create a glowing effect and a warmer feel to the image.


A Speedlight is a portable, dismountable flash unit used to provide illumination when taking pictures. This portable flash is used in place of or in combination with camera-mounted flash units.

Speedlights have made it easier for photographers to work with flash in low light conditions and are available in a wide range of power. A typical Speedlight is a self-contained, compact unit, which is powered by electricity. A Speedlight attached to a camera is often referred to as a hot shoe flash or a pop-up flash.

SLR Camera 

SLR camera refers to a 35 mm single-lens reflex camera. An SLR camera comprises a mirror, a prism and a lens. The light from the lens reflects off the mirror and then goes to the lens. An SLR camera allows you to see ahead of you through the lens, hence the term single-lens reflex.

A single-lens reflex camera uses a reflex mirror to project the image coming through the lens onto ground glass so that the photographer can see what the painting will look like.

Standard Lens 

A standard lens is a simple, easy-to-use lens that is the most basic and the most popular. It has a focal length in the 35mm format closest to the human field of vision. It is usually a 50mm lens, but lenses with a 35mm or 28mm focal length are also common.

A primary lens for DSLR cameras is typically a 50mm lens. A standard lens is designed for general photography. It is not an expensive lens, but it is a high-quality lens that gives decent results.

Subtractive Lighting

Subtractive Lighting is a form of photography involving a darker object or surface to create shadows and darker areas. A typical example of subtractive Lighting is when shooting a person in front of a black background.

The photographer can also use other objects to provide the proper lighting as well. This form of photography is also known as three-point Lighting because it usually involves three light sources. The three lights are the leading light, a fill light, and a backlight. The leading light is the largest and brightest light, the first light that the photographer uses.

The fill light is smaller and dimmer and is used to fill in and brighten the shadows created by the leading light. The backlight is another form of fill light. However, it is used from behind the subject to provide more definition and depth. Subtractive Lighting can also be used to illuminate an object rather than a person. This form of Lighting is most familiar with macro photography.

Photography Terms By ‘T’

Below, you can check the most common photography terms starting with T.

Telephoto Lens 

A telephoto lens has a focal length (its effective focal length) significantly longer than a standard lens. In 35 mm photography, a telephoto lens is defined as a lens whose focal length is greater than the short side of the film in use (or the sensor size in digital cameras). For example, a 55 mm lens is a telephoto on a 35 mm camera.

Sometimes the term “telephoto lens” is used more specifically to refer to an interchangeable lens with a long focal length of 75 mm or shorter. The angle of view of a telephoto lens is defined, compared to a standard lens, as typically greater than 50% at the telephoto end and smaller than 50% at the wide-angle end.

Tilt-Shift Lens 

A Tilt-shift lens is a lens that allows you to take photos that look as if they were taken with a miniature scale model. It means that you can control the size of different elements in an image, such as a house and a car, and give the impression that the place is much more significant. It was initially invented for architectural photography, but many different types of photography can benefit from the tilt-shift lens.

Tonal range

The tonal range is the number of tones between the darkest and the lightest in a photograph. It is the difference between the darkest and lightest areas of a scene. A photo with poor tonal range has dark or light areas that do not accurately represent the original scene.

An ideal tonal range should cover most of the details of the original set (a wide tonal range) or for artistic effect (a narrow tonal range). When a location has a vast tonal range, capturing a high-quality image with a single, high exposure value is often possible.

This image is known as a low dynamic range image. When a scene has a narrow tonal range, it is often desirable to capture multiple exposures with varying exposure values and merge them into a high dynamic range image through tone mapping.

Photography Terms By ‘U’

Below, you can check the most common photography terms starting with U.


Underexposure is the condition of allowing too little light to reach the recording (film or digital sensor) for the correct amount of time. The result is reduced image contrast where some areas of the subject appear too dark and lose all detail and colour.

While there is no direct way to correct this in-camera, most digital cameras have a feature to overcome this. A digital camera’s “underexposure” setting is equivalent to a film camera’s “long exposure” setting.

Photography Terms By ‘V’

Below, you can check the most common photography terms starting with V.


A viewfinder is a device used by photographers to frame the subject of an image. It is usually two-dimensional and shows an optical view of the scene instead of an electronic viewfinder, which offers a live video feed from the camera. Viewfinders provide:

  • Generally a grid.
  • An indication of the depth of field.
  • A bright frame around the area of the scene is currently being shown.


Vignetting is a photographic term meaning darkening near the edges of a photo. It causes the edges of the image to be darker than the centre. It is caused by the camera lens or sensor not receiving the same amount of light as the centre.

Vignetting is most often caused by the aperture blades in the lens being too far apart and letting through more light at the edges. It can also be caused by the photographer stopping down the lens (using a smaller aperture) than the widest aperture, which causes the same effect.

Vignetting can draw the viewer’s attention to the centre of the photo by darkening the edges. It can cause a dreamy effect in a picture. It is sometimes done intentionally. In other cases, vignetting is a problem and maybe corrected in post-production.


Vibrance is the colour enhancement option in photography and post-processing. It allows you to bring out the details in the darker and lighter areas of your image.

It’s similar to the saturation option, but it is more advanced, changing not only the saturation but also the luminance of the colour. It helps bring out the details in an image, making dull colours more vibrant.

Photography Terms By ‘W’

Below, you can check the most common photography terms starting with W.

Wide-Angle Lens 

A wide-angle lens is a lens that has a focal length shorter than the short side of the film or sensor. Wide-angle lenses are characterized by their short focal length, and hence a low angle of view and a huge image circle.

The angle of view and the image circle of a lens are directly related; thus, as the angle of view increases, the image circle required to cover the same field of view decreases. Wide-angle lenses are usually used for landscape photography and photographing interiors, as they have a considerable depth of field.

White balance

White balance is the adjustment of the camera’s colour channels. It is only an issue with light sources that emit different colours (such as the sun, which emits both red and blue light). The Colour Temperature meter can measure the light source’s colour temperature. 

Photography Terms By ‘Y’

Below, you can check the most common photography terms starting with Y.

Yellow Filters

A yellow filter is a filter used in photography to enhance contrast in black-and-white photography. The filter is used to darken skies, clouds, and other bright areas of a photograph. A yellow filter gives the atmosphere a more bluish tone.

It is frequently used in black-and-white photography to make clouds stand out. It is also known by other names, including yellow deepening filter, yellow filter, and yellow intensifying filter.

Photography Terms By ‘Z’

Below, you can check the most common photography terms starting with Z.

Zoom Lens 

A zoom lens allows you to change the lens’s focal length without changing the size of the lens. It will enable you to change the area of the image you are zooming. Before the invention of zoom lenses, photographers needed to use different lenses to capture other areas of the subject.

The invention of the zoom lens was a great invention for amateur photographers, and of course, professional photographers. Zoom lenses are essential for many different types of photography, including wildlife and sports photography.

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These were all the different photography terms. Please comment down below and let us know if we missed any important terms.

About Author

Alex is the Founder of Capture Arena and has been in Photography for the last eight years. He writes in-depth Photography Guides and Tips to help photographers take better photos.

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