Terms Used in Photography

There are specific terms used in photography that may sound like Greek to a novice, but which are very vital for anyone who has the slightest hopes of ever becoming a professional photographer. These terms are not just random lingo being thrown around, some of them include:


This is the size of the opening in the lens through which the light streams in while taking a photograph. For a brighter photo, the aperture has to open wider and vice versa for a dim photograph. It is measured in f-stops and is usually represented by “f/3.6” depending on the type of the lens.

Depth of Field

A term used to describe how much of an image is in or out of focus. The lens usually focuses on a selected item leaving the other areas out of focus making them appear blurry. This effect was discovered by an accident and it makes photographs look more stunning.


This is simply the degree to which the photograph is light or dark. A photographic image is created when the sensor is exposed to light, exposure is controlled by the aperture, when more light is allowed in then the image becomes overexposed, when little light is let in the image is described as underexposed.


ISO determines how sensitive a camera is to light. It has set values that range from 100 to 6400 for most cameras, although there are some that go further beyond that. When the ISO is at 100, it means the camera isn’t that sensitive and vice versa. The best photographs are taken at lower ISO since they are less grainy.

Shutter Speed

The shutter is the part within the camera that opens or closes to let in light when you press the shoot button. The longer it stays open, the more the light is allowed in. Shutter speed is denoted by a simple 1/200s or 1” to represent the time in seconds.

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