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Photography Jargon Top Ten: Learn These and Make Your Photos Sing

Photography Jargon Top Ten: Learn These and Make Your Photos Sing

I have recently come across a number of articles providing photography advice. However, I also notice that relatively few explain terms that might be unfamiliar to newbies. I have therefore decided to put together a list of ten important phrases if you hope to take your skills to the next level. Let’s take a closer look.


This rather strange-sounding word is used to describe light orbs that may appear when a lens is out of focus. Often associated with wide apertures, the bokeh effect can often be employed to provide different image effects.

Frames Per Second

Often abbreviated as “FPS”, frames per second defines the number of images (frames) which can be captured in a single second. Higher FPS rates are very useful if you hope to take pictures of moving images.

Dynamic Range

This range signifies the differences between the darkest and lightest portions of a picture. High dynamic ranges signify that light and shadows are equally balanced. Dynamic ranges are very important when dealing with large backgrounds (such as landscapes).

White Balance

This next term defined how balanced all of the colours within an image appear to be. Simply stated, ensuring that white tones are completely white will ensure that all of the other hues are adjusted properly.

Aspect Ratio

You may have recently come across figures such as 4:3 or 3:2. These are used to numerically describe the dimensions of an image. The first number signifies the width and the second the height. Some aspect ratios can rise as high as 16:9.

Focal Length

When speaking of lenses, focal length often comes into play. Focal length is a measurement of the distance between the camera sensor and where light converges within a lens. This is another way of determining your field of view. Low focal lengths tend to be preferred for wider shots and high lengths are often better when zooming in on a specific object.

Depth of Field

Depth of field is used to describe the percentage of an image that is sharp and focused. This concept is important in terms of providing a sense of depth, as it will help to separate the foreground (focused images) from the background (blurred images). Focal lengths can likewise affect the depth of field.


The aperture of a camera is used to describe how open a shutter is. This is another way of observing how much light is able to reach the lens. Another term for aperture that you have likely seen is “f/stop”. A high f/stop value indicates that the opening of the lens is smaller (less light). Lower values signify that the opening is wide and more light is hitting the lens.

Burst Mode

Have you ever wanted to take pictures of a quickly moving object such as a horse or a race car? If so, burst mode is a useful tool. Burst mode enables the camera to take numerous sequential images as long as the button is held down by the user. This is much easier when compared to snapping pics manually.

I personally feel that these are some of the most important terms that every novice photographer should become familiar with. Of course, feel free to explore even more useful phrases in order to appreciate how much this art has evolved over the years. If you’d like to learn about our services or should you require a professional photographer for an upcoming event, please take a moment to contact me directly.