15 Common Photography Terms All Beginners Need to Know

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2. Bokeh

Bokeh is the orbs created when lights are out of focus in an image. It’s a neat effect to have in the background of a photo, created through wide apertures. It will have an interesting effect on your image quality. Check out our ultimate guide to Creating Backgrounds With Bokeh for everything you could want to learn.

3. Burst Mode

You can take photos one at a time. Or, you can turn the burst mode on and the camera will continue snapping photos as long as you hold the button down, or until the buffer is full (which is a fancy way of saying the camera can’t process anymore). Burst speeds differ based on what camera or film camera you own, some are faster than others. Just how fast is written in “fps” or frames (pictures) per second. This will give you a wide selection of which close-up you’ll ultimately select of your dog!

4. Depth of Field

Depth of field is a photography term that refers to how much of the image is in focus. The camera will focus on one distance, but there’s a range of distance in front and behind that point that stays sharp—that’s depth of field. Portraits often have a soft, unfocused background—this is a shallow depth of field. Landscapes, on the other hand, often have more of the image in focus—this is a large depth of field, with a big range of distance that stays sharp.

5. Digital Vs. Optical

Digital and optical are important terms to understand when shopping for a new camera. Digital means the effect is achieved through software, not physical parts of the camera. Optical is always better than digital. These terms are usually used when referring to a zoom lens (on a compact camera) as well as image stabilization.

6. Exposure

Exposure is how light or dark an image is. An image is created when the camera sensor (or film strip) is exposed to light—that’s where the term originates. A dark photo is considered underexposed, or it wasn’t exposed to enough light; a light photo is overexposed or exposed to too much light. Exposure is controlled through aperture, shutter speed and ISO.

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