Photography A-Z

Let’s see how much camera vocabulary I can fit into the alphabet. The answer is way too much so I have cut it down to the basic words and their meanings. I do reach a little with X and Y, fall flat at Q and make interesting choices all over.

What words would you have chosen in your photog alphabet? Leave me a comment below!


a-z photography for beginners graphic with camera and yellow star flash

A

Aperture
The opening in the camera lens, that controls how much light enters the camera and how much of your image will be in focus.

Aspect Ratio
The proportional difference between width and height. Typically 35mm film is 3:2.

Av
Aperture Priority setting on a DSLR, sometimes written as A

B

Bokeh
This is a technique using the aperture setting to create deliberate out-of-focus parts. Known to describe the quality of the out-of-focus parts. Learn how to do it here!

Bracketing
This is where several shots are taken in short succession with various settings of the same subject. Usually, this is different shutters or apertures to create dynamic images.

C

Crop Sensor
If you have a crop sensor camera, it means that the digital sensor is smaller than a full frame. The photos will be more zoomed in than images taken at the same focal length in a full frame.

Canon
A brand that makes camera apparel.

D

Depth of Field
Relates to the focus of the aperture.

DSLR
Digital Single Lens Reflex. What most digital cameras with a mirror in are referred to as.

Dynamic Range
The ratio between the largest and smallest values that a certain quantity can assume, such as light and dark, white and black.

E

Exposure
How bright or dark an image is, refers to the combination of Aperture, Shutterspeed, and ISO.

F

Filters
Used on the end of a lens to add effects or help with certain photography techniques.

Flash
An external light source is used to add fullness and depth to a subject or assist in lighting.

Focal Length
The distance is measured in millimeters (mm) between the optical centre of the lens and the sensor of the camera when it is focused at infinity.

F-stop
This is what Aperture is measured in

Full frame
Digital equivalent of the standard film size of 35mm.

G

Grain
Originally grain was added during the developing process of the film with the silver solution, now an effect that can be added in editing.

Golden Ratio
Refers to a composition guide to make a picture desirable. It is a mathematical ratio – two quantities are in the golden ratio if their ratio is the same as the ratio of their sum to the larger of the two quantities.

H

HDR
High Dynamic Range. This can be achieved when using bracketing high and low values together.

Histogram
A graph tool that shows tonal and exposure distrubution of pixels in an image.

I

ISO
The sensitivity of the digital sensor

J

JPEG
A file format of high compression that can be used to store images.

K

Kelvin
The temperature measurement light is measured within the White Balance.

L

Leica
A brand of lenses that are perfect for mirrorless 4:3.

Lumix
A brand under Panasonic that creates camera apparel.

M

Macro
Close-up photography of subjects that make them larger than life-size.

N

Nikon
A brand that makes camera apparel.

Noise
Distortions in an image made up of small dots

ND
Neutral Density filters can be used in long-exposure photography, as well as in HDR bracketing.

O

Optical body
This is what a camera lens is.

P

Prime Lens
A lens with a fixed focal length. Common Prime lenses are 50mm, 85mm, and 400mm.

Q

The Impossible letter – I have nothing for this one sorry!

R

RAW files
A file type that most photographers shoot in. It allows a large storage of data without losing quality in compression.

Rule of Thirds
Read more about this rule here!

S

Shutterspeed
How fast the shutter of the camera opens and closes to capture an image. This is measured in fractions of seconds.

T

Telephoto
The name for a lens with a longer focal length.

Tripod
An essential piece of kit for photographers who want to avoid hand shake in long exposure or portraits.

Tv
The short setting for shutter speed priority is also written as S on some cameras.

U

UV filter
A filter is used to protect lenses from the sun. This doesn’t change an image at all, just protects your lens!

V

Videography
Not photography… A recording of moving visual images, it uses the same base principles as photography with addition of movement and sound.

W

White Balance
The camera setting that adjusts how colors are rendered in an image. A white balance setting is measued in Kelvin, but more commonly, white balance presets are used which denote their ideal lighting, such as daylight, cloudy, flash, or various indoor lighting scenarios.

X

X-offset
This one is reaching. When editing an image in post-prodution, you can use the vertical and horizontal axis of the image to fix distortion. The X-offset refers to the horizontal rotation of the x-axis.

Y

Y – offset

Like the X-offset the Y-offset refers to the rotation axis to fix distortion of an image i post-production.

Z

Zoom lens
The name some people call a telephoto lens with variable focal lengths.


pin with camera background, a-z beginners guide to photography

26 letters later and we made it! If you want to read more about basic photography, feel free to browse my photography tips here!

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Published by Briony-Molly

Reader, artist and Politics lover.

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