Photography Slangs

Photography Slangs

Posted by Paolo Capili on 2023-04-5

Photography Slangs

What are the terms that are being used by professional photographers on the field? Here’s a list of Photography Jargons that are commonly used:

Ambient Light - refers to available light.

Aperture/F-stop - stands for the opening of the lens on how much light can pass through. Also considered as the “pupil” of the lens as you can change how much light you would need. F1.2 is often considered as the biggest aperture or f22 as the smallest aperture. These numbers are lens dependent and would change depending on the lens that you're using.

BIF - Bird in Flight, when taking photos of birds while flying.

Blown-out - when the image is overexposed and there's no more details on the highlight area.

Bokeh - is a Japanese term that means the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in out-of-focus parts of an image. Bokeh has also been defined as "the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light. Which simply means Bokeh refers to the out of focus or blurry part of the image.

Bulb Mode - it allows your shutter speed to be “open” or on-going until the user depresses the shutter button

Burst mode - refers to how fast you want to take photos with your camera. You can program the camera to single mode which will take a single photo everytime you press the shutter. Or Burst mode which will take as many frames as it could take while pressing the shutter button.

CA/ Chromatic Aberration - Color fringing that can appear in areas of images where dark meets light.

Cable release - a device that you use to minimize the movement of the camera when doing long exposure.

Camera Shake - when camera moves while on exposure creating blurry photos.

CRI - Color Rendering Index, is a way to measure a light source's distinctive attributes. It is an assessment of how the light source shows object colors "naturally" when compared to a familiar basis of reference, either incandescent light or daylight. Generally a CRI of 80 and above is good, CRI of 90 and above is thought of as excellent.

Crop Factor - Most common sensor sizes would be Full frame or APS-C. Full frame would have the same size as a 35mm film equivalent. APS-C or crop sensor size sensor would be physically smaller and would only see a portion of the scene effectively cropping it to either 1.5x or 1.6x (depending on the brand). For example, a 200mm on a full frame sensor would be 200mm. On an APS-C or crop body, a 200mm would be 300mm.

CPL/ Circular Polarizing Filter - a glass filter attachment that can either enhance or reduce glare or reflection in the scene. A CPL filter adds contrast and stops light by 2 stops.

Depth of Field (DOF) - refers to how much of the image is in focus.

DSLR - Digital Single Lens Reflex - a digital camera that combines the optics and mechanisms of a single-lens reflex camera.

Electronic Shutter - has no moving parts, the exposure is made by switching the sensor on and off. Good when you want to save “shutter count”. Electronic shutter is very useful for streets and event photography when you want to be discreet when taking photos as it could be very quiet.

Exposure - The total amount of light reaching the sensor. It is determined by the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO or commonly known as Exposure triangle.

Exposure Triangle - Includes aperture, shutter speed and ISO to make a proper exposure.

Fill light - Used to “fill” in the shadows. Can be produced with a flash, a reflector, or a studio strobe. Most times, opposite the Main light.

Focal length - describes the distance in millimeters between the lens and the image it forms on the sensor

FPS/Frames per second - refers to how many frames or images are taken per second.

Golden Hour - refers to the time of day that is optimal for photography. Usually before sunset and just after sunrise.

GND/Graduated Neutral Density FilterGND is a filter that is mostly half and half. Half would have shade and the other half would be clear. Mainly used by Landscape photographers to balance exposure with foreground and background.

HSS - or high speed sync, is an option on most flashes that allows you to use faster shutter speeds that go beyond 1/200 of a second.

Hyperfocal - refers to the focus distance providing the maximum depth of field for a particular aperture and focal length. Mostly used by landscape photographers to get the largest depth of field available.

IBIS - In-Body Image Stabilization. A recent feature on most mirrorless cameras. It helps you stabilize your shot even when your lens doesn't have stabilization. Some can take sharp photos at 1/20 of a second shutter speed with the help of IBIS.

ISO/(ASA) - is the measurement on the sensitivity to light. The higher your ISO, the more “noise” you would have on your image. The lower your ISO, the cleaner your image would be.

Jpeg - (Joint Photographic Experts Group) - is a compressed file that is widely used in image format.

Large Depth of Field - mostly used for Landscape photography when everything on the scene is in focus.

Lens Trinity - could be a zoom trinity which consists of a 16-35mm24-70mm and 70-200mm or something equivalent. Some would have a prime trinity which consists of a 24mm50mm and 85mm or something equivalent. Each photographer would have their own preference especially for the prime trinity. Some would consider 35mm instead of a 24mm or a 135mm over an 85mm.

Long exposure - involves using a long-duration shutter speed to sharply capture the stationary elements of images while blurring, smearing, or obscuring the moving elements. To have optimal results when doing long exposures, a tripod and a shutter release is often used to minimize the moving or shakiness that can be seen on the image.

Main light/ Key light -The main light source for a photograph. It’s the source that produces the pattern of light on the subject with the most intensity.

Mechanical Shutter - function using physical “shutter curtains”: two blades with a gap in between. When you take a photo, the blades slide rapidly in front of your camera sensor. Any light that hits the sensor between the blades will appear in your image.

ND/Neutral Density Filter - basically works as a sunglasses to your lens, depending on how dark the ND filter that you're using, ND filter varies from 3, 6, 10 or even 16 stops. The darker it is, the longer you can have your exposure.

Noise - refers to the gritty look that you get when using higher ISO.

Panning - using a slow shutter speed and moving the camera in the same direction as a moving subject to create an artistic effect with blurry background.

Pixel Peeper - someone who spends a lot of time on the screen and magnifies the image to see if there’s something wrong on the photo.

Prime lens - are single set focal distance that doesn't have any zoom. Most professional photographers would choose a prime lens over a zoom because of the look that prime lenses would give you. Because it's one focal length, most prime lenses have a bigger f-stop compared to zoom lenses.

Raw - most professional photographers would use this RAW format because it captures uncompressed data from the image sensor. Meaning you have the biggest file available when you're editing your photos.

Shallow Depth of Field - most often used for portraits when the subject is in focus and the rest is blurry.

Shutter Count - is an estimation of how much the camera has been used. Most DSLR’s are rated up to 150,000 clicks and Pro Body DSLR’s are rated up to 300,000 clicks.

SOOC - Straight Out Of Camera, usually JPEG files. When no editing was done to the photo.

Spray and pray - taking as many frames as possible and hoping that you get a good photo out of the series.

Stopping down - when you want to adjust your aperture to a smaller f-stop. For example, shooting at f2.8, you can stop-down to f4 or f5.6

Wide-open - shooting wide-open, meaning shooting at the largest possible aperture that you have on your lens. Samples would be shooting at f1.8 or f1.4.

White Balance - is adjusting the colors on camera to make the final image looks more natural.

Variable ND Filter - same as ND filter but a combination of variable ND’s in one filter as the name implies. Very useful especially when you want to use a shallow depth of field look when shooting under the sun. You can still shoot at f2.8 even when the sun is at its peak.

Zoom lens - any lens that has a variable focal length. Event photographers would probably choose a zoom lens because of the versatility that it offers.