Photography Terms

Acutance: The edge contrast of an image that is altered by an increase in brightness within the respected space.

Advertising photography: Photography created for the purpose of selling or promoting a product or service.

Ambient light: The natural light surrounding a subject or scene.

Aperture: The small hole or opening inside the lens that controls the amount of light that reaches the camera’s sensor when an image is photographed. The aperture determines how narrow or wide the admitted rays are. A more narrow aperture will result in sharpness at image plane, while a wider aperture will result in sharpness only at the right focus. The narrower the aperture is, the darker the image will be.

Contrast: The difference between the color and brightness of the object or number of objects in an image. A greater difference will result in a higher level of contrast.

Digital photography: Photography taken with a digital camera that uses an electronic imaging sensor to capture the image in place of film.

DPI (Dots Per Inch): A measurement term used to describe the printed resolution of a digital image. The higher the DPI is, the greater the resolution of the image.

Fine art photography: Photography created to fulfill a photographer’s own vision of beauty or creativity. Its focus is art, the opposite of advertising photography in that fine art doesn’t intend to sell or promote a product or service.

Grayscale: An achromatic scale that ranges from from black to white, including up to 256 tones of gray.

Image resolution: The pixel count of a digital photograph, which describes its level of detail.

ISO speed: A rating system for describing the sensitivity of the camera’s imaging sensor. The ISO speed is adjusted upwards as the available light decreases with the image quality dropping as the ISO speed increases.

JPEG: A standard for compressing image data within a file format that was developed by the Joint Photographic Experts Group.

Megapixel: The equivalence of one million pixels.

Pixel: Known as Picture Element, pixels are thousands or millions of dots or squares that comprise a digital photograph.

Post production: All final stages in the production of the image that occur after the subject has been photographed.

PPI (Pixels Per Inch): A measurement term used to describe the monitor resolution of a digital image. The higher the PPI is, the greater the resolution of the image.

Professional photographer: A photographer with specialized knowledge and expertise of the photographic field who is paid to create, deliver, license or sell photography that is of a higher quality and standard.

RAW: The RAW image format is the minimally processed data that comes directly off the digital camera. RAW image files are also referred to as digital negatives.

RGB: The three colors, Red, Green, and Blue, that visual systems and devices are sensitive to. The colors are added together in various ways to produce different arrays of colors.

Saturation: The richness of the colors in a photograph.

Sharpness: The clarity of detail or acutance in a photograph.

Shutter speed: A measurement term describing how long a camera’s shutter remains open as a photograph is taken. The slower the shutter speed is, the longer the exposure time will be. The amount of light reaching the sensor is controlled by the shutter speed and aperture.

White balance: A color correction function that adjusts the mixture of colors (Red, Blue & Green) in an image so that the colors are reproduced correctly.

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