I have recently realized that there are large amount of technical photography terms being constantly thrown around in our blog posts. For those of you who are not well-versed in photography, all of the abbreviations and befuddled names are likely distracting and confusing. The following list is a quick breakdown of some essential photographic terms:
Ambient: refers to the type of lighting that is available or the surrounding light.
Aperture: the amount of light that the lens is allowing to get in.
ASA: a rating of the speed of the film.
Backlighting: this describes light that is becoming from behind your subject.
Burn In: is the practice of darkening a certain area of a print by exposing that area to additional printing exposure.
Contrast: is the difference seen between dark and light values.
Density: refers to the thickness of the silver found on paper or film. When a negative is over exposed there are known to be very dense with silver.
Depth of Field: is the distance between the furthest and nearest points that are in sharp focus. You can adjust the depth of field by adjusting the length of the lens, the distance to the subject or the aperture size.
Emulsion: the light sensitive coating that is put onto paper and photographic films.
F-stop: this is the number that indicates how large your lens opening is.
Flare: refers to when, in lenses, stray light or internal reflections cause a fogging effect or light streak marks on the film.
Grain: is the “speckled’ appearance that photographs acquire when the silver found inside of a negative is clumped together.
High Contrast: where a setting has an extreme range between the darkest and brightest areas that may be problematic for using the proper exposure.
ISO: stands for international standards organization and is a numerical rating that describes how sensitive film is to light.
Overexposure: when there is too much light that strikes the film and causes some information to be lost.
Panning: is the act of following the motion of a moving object with your camera and which causes the background to blur while the subject is in sharp focus.
Reciprocity: also sometimes referred to as the reciprocity law. This term refers to the relationship between aperture size and the length of your exposure. The law states that you need to have a balance between the two by having a slight decrease in one (i.e. doubling aperture size will be balanced by cutting exposure time in half).
Saturation: refers to the intensity and vividness of the color in a photograph. Certain types of films produce more heavily saturated colors then others.
Stop Down: is the act of using a smaller lens opening.
Shutter Speed: is the amount of time that is allowed for light to hit the film.
Washed Out: a term that is used to describe slides that are overexposed.
Wide-Angle Lens: a lens that allows for a wider view; usually around 35 to 24 mm of focal range.
I hope you found this guide helpful! Memorize all of these definitions and you will be sounding like an expert photographer in no time.
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