Key Photography Terms

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Designers and photographers often have their own lingo as it relates to magazine publishing. Find out the meaning of some of the terms:

  • composition: The visual arrangement of all elements in a photograph.
  • crop: To eliminate portions of an image.
  • emotional tone: The feeling a page or image gives the viewer upon seeing it.
  • frame: To position a photograph within specific boundaries.
  • image: An illustration or photograph.
  • noise: Busyness, clutter.
  • visual: Illustration or photograph used as part of a page design.
  • aperture: The opening in a lens system through which light passes. It is usually expressed as a fraction of the focal length, that is, f/stop.
  • burn: To darken selected areas in a photograph.
  • depth of field: The distance between the nearest and farthest planes that appear in acceptably sharp focus in a photograph.
  • digicam: A compact, automatic digital camera.
  • digital camera: A camera which uses pixels instead of traditional film.
  • dodge: To lighten selected areas in a photograph.
  • environmental portrait: A photo of a person that includes some of his/her environment.
  • exposure: The quantity of light allowed to act on a light-sensitive material; a product of the intensity (controlled by the aperture size) and the duration (controlled by the shutter speed or enlarging time) of light striking the film or paper. Also used to describe the actual act of taking the picture.
  • focus: To adjust the distance scale on a camera so that the image is sharp on the focal plane.
  • JPEG: A digital file format which offers reduced file sizes by discarding some information. Digital cameras usually store photos in JPEG format.
  • megapixels: A million pixels of information, usually 1280×960 pixels or more. The resolution of digital cameras is measured in megapixels.
  • pixel: The shortened form of “picture element,” for the dots that make up an image or character on a display screen or image file. The more pixels, the better the resolution.
  • pixelization: When the pixels in an image become visible as a result of low resolution.
  • RAW: A digital file format which does not discard image information when compressing the file.
  • real time: The time in which the occurrence of an event and the recording of it are almost simultaneous.
  • still photography: As opposed to motion pictures.
  • TIFF: A digital file format which does not discard image information when compressing the file.
  • viewfinder: The camera device such as a lens or small video screen which allows the photographer to preview and compose images before shooting the picture.
  • white balance: A setting on digital cameras that adjusts for the type of light available in order to make the image appear more natural.

One response to “Key Photography Terms”

  1. Anne says:

    Great post!

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