camera beginner photography

Photography, like any other industry, has its specialized vocabulary. You'll be able to go deeper into photography with this guide to common photography terminology for gear, techniques, and procedures.

Photography is a field filled with technical and aesthetic words that define the image quality, camera parts, shooting and editing procedures, and much more. To pursue the art and craft of photography, you must be familiar with the terminology for equipment, techniques, and camera settings. More than that, a good eye is required to negotiate the world of professional photography.

So let's look at some of the most popular photography terms and what they mean. 


Aperture is the first term you should learn in photography. Simply speaking, aperture refers to the size of the lens' opening. A larger aperture admits more light into the image, resulting in a brighter photograph, whereas a smaller aperture lets less light in. Consider the lens as a window: huge windows or broad angles allow more light, whereas small windows allow less. Aperture is measured in f-stops; a small f-stop, like f/1.8, implies a wide aperture, whereas a large f-stop, like f/22, indicates a narrow aperture.

Aspect Ratio

The height-to-width ratio is known as the aspect ratio. An 8 x 10 photograph has the same aspect ratio as a 4 x 5, although a 4 x 7 photograph is slightly larger. If you know how you want to print your photograph, you can modify the aspect ratio on your camera or crop your shot when you edit it to the proper ratio.


The orbs generated when lights in an image are out of focus are known as bokeh. It's a cool look to have in the backdrop of a photo, and it's achieved by using wide apertures. It will have a stimulating effect on the quality of your images.

Burst Mode

You can only take one photo at a time. Alternatively, you can activate burst mode, which will allow you to take images as long as you hold the shutter button down or until the buffer is full. Burst speeds vary depending on the camera or film camera; some are faster than others.


The brightness or darkness of an image is determined by its exposure. When the camera sensor is exposed to light, a picture is created—this is where the term comes from. A dark photograph is underexposed or exposed to insufficient light; a light photograph is overexposed or exposed to excessive light. Aperture, shutter speed, and ISO are used to control exposure.

Digital Vs. Optical

The effect is accomplished using software rather than physical components of the camera. Optical will always be superior to digital. These terms are commonly used to describe a zoom lens and image stabilization.

Focal Length

The focal length is the measurement in millimeters between the lens and the picture it creates on film. It specifies the viewing angle and magnification. The focal length determines how 'zoomed in' your photographs appear.

Exposure Compensation

Exposure compensation is a method of instructing the camera to make the exposure lighter or darker. Some automated and semi-automated modes can benefit from exposure adjustment, like aperture priority.

File Format

The file format specifies how your camera lens will record the image or image file. Raw files contain more information than JPGs, making them more suited to photo manipulation in various software.


Focus camera phtotgraphy

When your eyes are focused on a close thing, objects further away appear hazy. The term "focus" in photography has the same meaning. A sharp item is in focus, while an out-of-focus object is not. Whether the camera is focused on many points or one user-selected point is determined by different focus zones.

Hot Shoe

The hot shoe is a slot on the top of a camera where accessories, such as the appropriately named hot shoe flash, can be attached.

Flash Sync

The flash fires typically at the start of the picture; however, adjusting the flash sync mode adjusts when this happens. For example, the back curtain flash sync mode fires the flash after the photo rather than at the start.

Long Exposure

Prolonged exposure is a photograph that has been exposed for an extended period or has a slow shutter speed. This approach helps photograph still items in low light (as landscape photographers frequently do) or create an artistic blur with moving objects. 

light exposure wildlife photography


Instead of relying on the camera, manual mode allows the photographer to manage the exposure. In manual mode, you may adjust the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, which affect how light or dark the image is. Examples of semi-manual modes are aperture priority, shutter priority, and programmed auto. Manual can also refer to manual focus when you focus on your own rather than using autofocus.


Metering is based on a medium grey; having lighter or darker items in the image can cause the metering to be slightly off. Metering modes describe how the metre reads light. The camera uses matrix metering to read the light from the entire scene. Spot metering measures the light based on your focus point, whereas centre-weighted metering considers only what is in the middle of the frame.


That's the hole you're looking through to capture the photograph. Some digital cameras do not have one and rely solely on the screen, but all DSLRs and mirrorless cameras do.

White Balance

Although it is not always precise, there is an auto white balance setting like any automatic setting. Your eyes immediately adjust to changing light sources, but a camera cannot, so it looks pretty blue or very yellow when you take a picture. Using the appropriate white balance setting will make what is white in real life appear white in the photograph.


Noise, often known as grain, is simply tiny particles in an image. Images with high ISOs have a lot of noise; therefore, use the lowest ISO possible for the amount of light in the situation.

RAW or Raw Files

RAW is a file format that allows the photographer to have more control over photo processing. RAW is a digital negative, whereas the default JPEG file type has been slightly processed. However, RAW requires specialised software to access, whereas JPEG is more general. Generally, shooting in RAW is preferable since the image preserves more quality, making it better for editing.

Shutter Release

That is the button (or shutter) that you use to snap the picture. It enables you to point and fire.

Single Lens Reflex

A single-lens reflex camera has a single lens that creates an image mirrored in the viewfinder. Digital single-lens reflex cameras, or DSLR cameras, are the most versatile digital cameras.

Time Lapse

A time-lapse video is made by stitching together numerous photographs of the same item shot at different times. A time-lapse should not be confused with a long exposure, a single photograph with a slow shutter speed.

Shutter Speed

The shutter speed is how the camera's shutter opens and closes to let light in and capture a picture. The shutter speed is the amount of time the shutter remains open, which is indicated in seconds or fractions of a second, such as 1/200 s. or 1", with the " symbol representing one full second. The more light that enters, the longer the shutter is open. However, anything that moves while the shutter is open blurs the image, and if the entire camera moves while the shutter is open, the entire image blurs—this is why tripods are needed for longer shutter speeds.


The ISO setting controls how light-sensitive the camera is. An ISO of 100, for example, indicates that the camera is not extremely sensitive—ideal for shooting in the daytime. A camera with an ISO of 3200 is susceptible to light; therefore, you can use that higher ISO to acquire low-light images. The drawback is that photographs at high ISOs appear grainy and lack detail. To achieve adequate exposure, ISO is balanced with aperture and shutter speed.

Depth of Field

The amount of the image in focus is referred to as the depth of field in photography. The camera will concentrate on one point, but there is a range of distance in front and behind that point that will remain sharp—depth of field. Portraits frequently feature a soft, blurry background—this is referred to as having a shallow depth of field. On the other hand, Landscapes frequently have more of the image in focus—this is a vast depth of field with a wide range of sharpness.

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