Photography Terms Explained

The world of photography can often be a jungle of terms and acronyms. In this article, we shall be discussing the most important and basic photography terms:

1. Aperture

Aperture is the small opening at the front of the lens which controls the amount of light that enters the camera (read more about the importance of light)

In real life, it has the same function as that of the pupil of the human eye. Bigger the opening more is the quantity of light that can enter the camera and vice versa. So important is aperture to professional photographers that nine out of ten of them would always have their camera set to Aperture priority mode.

2. Shutter speed

The second most important aspect of photography, shutter speed together with aperture controls the quantity of light entering the camera. It is measured in seconds or more frequently in fractions of a second and is the time frame for which the lens remains open to receive light.

3. ISO

Back in the film days, we used to purchase rolls of film depending on the lighting condition in which we intend to use them. If indoors we would buy a ‘slower film’ usually designated by a number 100. Back in those days, they used to be marked as ASA. Later on the same got to be identified as ISO.

One of the most important basic photography terms, ISO denotes the sensitivity of the sensor to light.

3. Rule of thirds

The Rule of Thirds is a very popular and often used method to capture scenery and landscape photos. It involves moving the main subject of the picture off center and placing it on one of the intersecting points of the two sets of imaginary parallel lines running perpendicular to each other on the frame. Your camera has a way to turn them on and they are a great guide to composing the picture so as to attract maximum attention.

4. Full frame and crop

Full frame is a sensor that creates an image circle which is the same as that of a 35mm film. In absolute terms, the sensor of a full-frame camera is of the size 36mm x 24mm.

The word crop is used to describe any sensor that is smaller in size to a full-frame sensor. In actual sense, the crop sensor is smaller compared to that of a full-frame sensor and in effect uses the ‘center’ of the image while ignoring the rest.

5. The depth of field (DOF)

One of the most important basic photography terms DOF is the degree of acceptable sharpness in the picture. Usually when you use a smaller f-number the image’s depth of field or degree of sharpness is much less than when you use a bigger f-number. In other words, a f/5.6 aperture will give much shallower DOF compared to when you shoot with f/11.