Glossary

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Aperture Ring The ring on the lens of a manual camera which controls the size of the aperture.

Aperture The size of the lens opening. Apertures are measured by dividing the focal length of the lens by the diameter of the opening. For example a lens with a focal length of 50mm opened to a diameter of 6mm would produce an aperture (or f-stop) of f/8, or 1/8 the focal length.

ASA/ISO Standard numbers indicating film speed.

Cable Release A flexible cable which takes the place of a camera's shutter release button, allowing a photographer to "click" the shutter without shaking the camera. Used primarily for photography in low light, when long exposures are required.

Composition The arrangement of objects within the frame of a photograph.

Contact Print A photograph produced by placing the negative in contact with the photo paper under a light. For 35mm film, a contact print is almost exclusively used to test the negative's quality and provide a record of the photographs on it.

Contrast The range of values in a photograph or subject. Low contrast compresses all colors into a narrow range of grays. High contrast separates the colors so the darkest tones are very black and the lightest tones are very white, often with little or no gray in between. Normal contrast provides black blacks, white whites and a wide range of grays as well.

Critique The process, usually conducted in groups, of evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of one or more photographs.

Cropping Trimming the borders of a photograph, generally to improve composition. Though the term usually refers to trimming done on a finished print, cropping may be done by moving the camera before taking a photo, or by raising the enlarger so that less than the full photograph appears in the print. It is generally preferable to crop before the print is completed.

Dynamic Balance A composition in which the visual elements are arranged to produce a sense of harmony and to suggest motion of some kind.

F-Stop Number indicating a specific aperture (or lens opening), such as f/16. Higher numbers indicate smaller apertures (f/16 is smaller then f/11). See Aperture.

Film Speed The rate at which film reacts to light. A fast film reacts more quickly than a slow one. Film speed is measured as ISO and/or ASA numbers. ISO 400 is twice as fast as ISO 200.

Fixed Focal-Length Lens Any lens for which the angle-of-view is not adjustable (since extending the length of the lens narrows the angle at which light can enter it). For example, a 50mm fixed focal-length lens will always have a 55-degree angle-of-view. Any lens that does not have a fixed focal-length is a zoom. (See focal length and zoom.)

Fixed Lens A lens that is permanently attached to a camera body.

Focal Length In a general sense, focal length refers to the distance that light travels between entering the lens and arriving at the film. Longer focal lengths produce a telescope effect, shorter focal lengths produce a wide-angle effect.

Focal Point The point at which all the rays of light from a single object converge, causing the object to be in focus. By extension, the focal point of a photograph is the object on which the lens is focused. Other objects may of course be in focus as well.

Focusing Ring The ring on a lens which moves the lens forward and back, causing objects to go in and out of focus at the film plane.

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100 Photography Tips

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