A Glossary of Commonly Used Photography Terms

Click on a term.

Aperture     Aperture Priority    APS

Contrast    Depth of Field    Focal Length

Negative    Normal Lens    Pentaprism

Photograph    Portrait    Shot List

Shutter    Shutter Priority    SLR

Stock Photograph    35 Millimeter

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This Page is Under Construction...From Time to Time More Terms of Photography are Posted...

Aperture: Refers to the size of the opening in the lens that controls how much light actually reaches the film plane. The Aperture is usually controlled by turning a ring on the lens, increasing or decreasing the size of the opening.  The lower the f number the wider the aperture (and "faster" the lens).  Conversely, the higher the f number the smaller the aperture (and "slower" the lens).  A lens is referred to by its widest aperture.  That is to say if the widest aperture on a lens is f1.4 (and the lens has a focal length of 50 mm)- the lens is said to be  50 mm / f1.4...

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Aperture Priority (AE):  Most modern SLR cameras are equipped with computer chips that are encoded with all sorts of algorithms that allow for Automated Exposure (AE).  Cameras with an Aperture Priority mode allows the photographer to select a specific aperture and the camera will automatically select the appropriate shutter speed.

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APS: An acronym for the words ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHY SYSTEM.  This new type of Film and Camera System enables such innovations as mid-roll changes, different picture formats (from the same roll), time and date encoding, and exposure information coding to name a few.  The film itself is always stored in its protective cartridge and has a magnetic strip that records and stores information about each photograph.  It is smaller than 35 mm film, however, when exposed properly yields photographs with tight grain structure that can be enlarged to 8"x12" with little or no loss of quality in the photograph.

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Contrast:  The relationship between light and dark areas in a photograph constitutes CONTRAST.  A sharp contrast exists when the division between light and dark is distinct and clear. Thins like LENS FLAIR - UNDER or OVER Exposure of the film affect the amount of contrast in a photo or area of the photo.  Contrast recognition is the basis of (almost) all of the highly advanced (and higher priced) AUTO-FOCUS Systems on the market today.  The scene in the view finder is reflected to a sensor in the camera body and is processed - the lens is then adjusted until the highest degree of contrast is obtained.

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Depth of Field: The area in front of the lens (depth) that appears to be in FOCUS.  The amount of Depth in Focus is controlled by Increasing or Decreasing the Aperture of the Lens.  The effect is commonly used to draw attention to the Subject of the Photograph - or - to focus on items from very close to the lens while including those items to Infinity (this is called - Selective Focus).

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Focal Length: Refers to the length of a lens.  Focal Length is determined by measuring the distance from the film plane to the center of a lens as it is focused at infinity.  For the 35 mm format, the 50 mm lens is considered the "normal" lens. 

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Negative: Print films, when exposed and developed, produce a negative image that is in turn projected onto photographic paper.  When the paper is developed the image becomes visible as a positive.  Both paper and film are layered with emulsions of light sensitive Silver Halide Crystals that darken when exposed to light.  In simple terms - taking a picture creates a negative image, because, by exposing the light sensitive crystals - what we see as light areas become dark and what we see as dark becomes light on the negative film.  The actual print is just a negative of the negative - that results in the (positive) image that you saw when you took the picture.

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Normal Lens: A lens is considered "Normal" when it gives approximately the same field of view (in the viewfinder) as your eyes give you when you are looking at a scene.  The normal lens' Focal Length is different in each of the different film formats.  For instance, 35 mm format would be a 50 mm lens, in 6x4.5 format the normal lens would be 80-85 mm, and so on.

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Pentaprism:    An optic element in SLR cameras that enables you to see the image through the Viewfinder as you would see it by looking directly at the scene without the camera.  The lens reverses the scene vertically and the Reflex Mirror reverses the scene horizontally.  It is the Pentaprism that reverses the image horizontally and vertically again so that what you see in the viewfinder is what you see as you would looking directly at the scene.

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Photograph: Derived from the Latin Photo = Light - and - Graph = to Draw - translated literally means to Draw With Light.  Early forms of photography included Tin-Types and Daguerreotypes. However photography was reserved for highly skilled chemists and the very rich until Eastman unveiled his Brownie Camera. With the Brownie - you could buy the camera already loaded with film -  take the pictures and then send it to Eastman-Kodak for the film to be developed and the photos (along Camera reloaded with fresh film) would be sent back to you.  George Eastman is generally credited with bringing Photography to masses.

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Portrait:    A photo (typically taken of a person (or persons) to chronicle an event or milestone or accomplishment in ones life.

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Shot List:    A Shot List is the blueprint of a photography shoot. The Client and the Photographer will meet and discuss the goals for the shoot and create a list of photographs that the client would like to have taken. The photographer will generally use standard lists from which to guide the client and build the customized lists for each client. Many times the shot list will be the basis from which a price for the work will be derived.

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Shutter:    Shutters come in various types, but all perform the same task.  Some types of shutters include Leaf -and- Focal Plane.  The task that the shutter performs is very simple, Open to admit light to the film for the prescribed amount of time and Close to stop the exposure.  Most SLR type cameras employ a "Focal Plane Shutter" which means that the shutter is placed right next to the plane that the film occupies.  Focal Plane Shutters are comprised of either Cloth or Metal Leaf and are usually timed electronically by the camera to expose the film for just the right amount of time (these speeds can be as fast as 1/12000 of a second to an indefinite amount of time on the Bulb Setting).  Leaf Shutters are commonly found on less expensive Point and Shoot cameras or very expensive lenses for Medium Format and Large Format (View) Cameras.  These perform the same job as the Focal Plane Shutter - although they usually operate at slower speeds (from as fast as 1/500 of s second to indefinite time periods).

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Shutter Priority:  Most modern SLR cameras are equipped with computer chips that are encoded with all sorts of algorithms that allow for Automated Exposure (AE).  Cameras with an Shutter Priority mode allows the photographer to select a specific shutter speed and the camera will automatically select the appropriate Aperture.

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SLR:    This stands for SINGLE LENS REFLEX.  It is used on cameras where you see the scene through the lens on the front of the camera.  The scene is reflected (by a mirror placed on a 45 degree angle in the body of the camera) through the PENTAPRISM and to your eye.  This system is widely used on today's modern 35 mm cameras. 

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Stock Photograph:     A photograph that is taken of a certain scene, place or event that is archived and later sold or allowed (by the photographer)  to be used by others in publications such as advertisements or web pages. (Click here to see a Stock Photograph)

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35 Millimeter: The  35-Millimeter format is the most popular format of film in use today.  The actual frame is approximately 35mm x 26mm.  The film most commonly comes in the familiar cartridge in lengths of 12, 24, and 36 frames.  In the past few years, the cartridges have been coded (DX Coding) in order for advanced cameras to read the information about the film (ISO, Number of Frames, etc.) and automatically set the camera to properly function with the film that is loaded.  

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This Page is Under Construction...From Time to Time More Terms of Photography are Posted...

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All Photographs contained herein are the property of, and are copyrighted by - Todd Jones and Affordable Photography of Pittsburgh

 

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