If you're a complete novice when it comes to photography, but have a burning passion to learn and have no place to turn to when you're bombarded with jargon, we've got something for you. Here's a list of the most commonly used photography jargon simplified, so that anyone with even the most basic knowledge can understand them.
Artifacts are unwanted aberrations caused by sensor, optics or internal image processing algorithms of a camera. The most common artifacts are blooming, maze artifacts, chromatic aberrations, moire, jaggies, JPEG compression, noise, and sharpening halos.
Ever wondered why diagonal lines appear jagged rather than straight or smooth in some images? This is because of aliasing, which happens due to the square nature of pixels - the minutest component that any picture is made of.
Aperture / f-stop
When you click a photograph, the lens opens to certain degree so that light can pass through it and onto the camera's sensors or film. The size of this opening is referred to as the 'Aperture', and it directly effects the photo's 'exposure' and depth of field.
Aperture Priority (also known as Aperture Value and denoted by Av on the camera), is a mode where the photographer selects an aperture value and the camera decides the shutter speed according to lighting conditions, so that you get optimal results. It's different from 'manual mode' which allows you to set both aperture and shutter speed settings.
The aspect ratio of an image is the value of the width of an image/frame, divided by the height of it and denoted in the form of a ratio such as 16:9, 4:3 or 16:10.
Barrel Distortion is a common for of distortion in wide angle lenses where images tend to get 'spherized' or rounded towards the sides. Such distortion is more prominent in images which have many straight lines.
The "burst" or "continuous" mode allows you to take multiple shots one after the other. The number of shots taken are measured via fps or frames per second, and are different in different makes and models of cameras. To be a little more technical: the fps decides how many times the shutter releases and an image's processed in a second, defining how many pictures are taken in a short span of time.
Colour fringing is an aberrance caused by the lens used on cameras. It’s more visible on some cameras than others. It’s commonly seen as a blue or purple band lining a bright light source.
Depth of Field
The effect generated when the areas on the focal plane (at the focal length) of a camera in a photograph remains in focus (sharp), while other areas stay 'out of focus' (or blurry), is known as Depth of Field. It is enhanced by keeping the aperture small.
Unlike optical zoom (which uses a 'zoom lens' that alters its focal length to achieve the desired result), Digital Zoom re-sizes a part of an image digitally in order to fake actually zooming into it.
When photos are stored on digital cameras, a lot of additional details apart from the image itself are stored on the resulting file. This data (which is also called Metadata) is stored in the "header" of the file and may include everything from when the picture at hand was take (date, time), shutterspeed, aperture, ISO, and most other settings. This header is usually in the EXIF format (Exchangeable Image File), which was created by JEIDA (Japan Electronic Industry Development Association) as a universally accepted format so that all sorts of imaging devices could access it. This data can be used as a powerful learning tool since you can analyze shots taken by you, check the settings, and decide what settings work best for which type of shots.
The amount of light received by the film or sensor of a camera is known as exposure. The exposure of an image can be altered by changing the camera's aperture settings and shutter speed.
Even after selecting an aperture value and shutter speed to fit the lighting of a scene perfectly, an image may be underexposed. In this case the Exposure Compensation (or EV Compensation) found in prosumer and professional level cameras can be tweaked to fix the exposure.
The focal length of a camera (or an eye for that matter) defines the distance from the lens at which objects remain sharp or in focus. In other words, focal length is the distance (in millimeters - mm) between the optical centre of a lens and the focal point.
Full frame sensor
Sensors come in different sizes with point and shoot cameras having the smallest sensors and the larger and more expensive ones having much larger sensors. A full frame sensor is one which is the same size as a 35mm film. A large sensor helps in capturing much more detail and also can capture a much higher resolution image.
HDR is also known as high definition range imaging. HDR photographs are created by clicking the same image at different exposure levels and then merging them together using image manipulation software.
A histogram is a pictorial representation of the tonal distribution in an image. It shows the photographer whether a picture he's clicked has captured all the tonal details or its has areas that have been blown-out due to over-exposure.