10 Basic Terms Every Photographer Should Know

10 Basic Terms Every Photographer Should Know
10 Basic Terms Every Photographer Should Know

Learning digital photography can be complicated, especially when you come across different technical jargon. Some of these terms are difficult and you might end up going through a dictionary to understand them. After all, not everything is as easy as getting amazing data plans with Spectrum mobile.  

Today, learning new terms and concepts about photography has become quite easy, thanks to the Internet. You can learn dozens of things about photography through online guides and YouTube tutorials.  

That said, here are 10 common photography terms all beginners should add to their vocabulary:  


Let’s start with the basics of the camera. Aperture is the opening through which light travels in a lens. Picture this, the lens is a window. A large window allows more light to pass through it. On the contrary, less light travels through narrow angles. A wide-open aperture will allow more light to travel through the lens, thereby allowing the camera to capture a brighter photo. Photographs captured with narrow apertures are often less bright. The aperture of the lens in a camera is measured in focal ratio or f-stop. 

Aspect Ratio 

Simply put, the aspect ratio is the ratio of width to height. You may have noticed the aspect ratio while printing an image. For example, an 8 x 10 aspect ratio crops from the original image. An 8 x 10 image has the same aspect ratio as a 4 x 5. Cameras are programmed to alter the aspect ratio. You can alter the aspect ratio before printing out the pictures. Moreover, you can use a cropping method to get the right ratio for your picture.  

Burst Mode 

Ever heard the continuous click sound in a camera? This happens when the camera is on burst mode. Either take a single photo at a time or enable the burst mode to continuously capture photos. Press on the button and do not remove your finger until you feel that you have captured enough photos.  

Moreover, the burst mode will automatically stop when the buffer gets full. This means that the camera cannot process more photos. Burst speeds vary from camera to camera. You can determine a camera’s burst speed by viewing its frames per second (fps). So, don’t forget to check the fps the next time you take close-up shots of your pet.  

Depth of Field 

Depth of field is the distance between the closest and the farthest object in a photo. It shows the zone which appears sharp and in focus. On the other hand, a shallow depth of field refers to the unfocused background in an image. Portraits are an example of shallow depth of field. Landscapes capture a large depth of field.  


Most new buyers confuse between digital and optical, even though they carry different meanings. The results in digital are achieved through software. Photographers use the terms when talking about a zoom lens or image stabilization.  


Exposure refers to the intensity of light in an image. It can be either dark or bright. The exposure of the camera sensor (film strip) to light results in the creation of an image. A dark photo does not receive enough exposure to light; hence it is referred to underexposed. A light photo, on the other hand, receives enough light to be called overexposed.  

File Format 

The file format is the format in which a camera records the image. The format comprises raw files and JPGs. The former is information-heavy. This is why raw files make an easy to edit in different programs and software.  

Focal Length  

The focal length is the distance between the image and the lens of the camera. It is measured in millimeters. In simple terms, the focal length refers to the zoom effect in your camera.  


All things other than the one in focus appear blurry in a camera. The object in focus appears sharp, while an out-of-focus object is not sharp. Photographers make adjustments to their lens to sharpen their focus while taking pictures.  


In photography, ISO is a setting whereby photographers adjust the sensitivity of their cameras. It adjusts the brightness levels in the camera. The ISO varies in range. The lower the ISO the less sensitive the sensor will be to light.

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