Top 10 Common Photography Terms All Beginners Need To Know

Girl Photographer

Learning digital photography appears to be a difficult task, particularly when you’re confronted with a bewildering amount of technical jargon that leaves you scratching your head and wishing for a dictionary. 

Worse, you’ll be left trying to justify what you’ve just discovered with phrases like “the hole you look through” or “the one button you press to take the photo.”Understanding popular photography terms, meanings, and jargon is an essential first step in improving your photography skills as a beginner.

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Continue reading to learn how to adjust your viewpoint (or field of view!) while approaching digital photography or iso photography, whether you’re shooting with your first digital camera or want to learn more complex words like chromatic aberration f-number or image sensor.


A camera lens’s aperture is a small donut-shaped ring located within the lens. To allow more or less light into the camera, this ring encloses. A wide aperture will brighten your picture, but it will also result in a shallow depth of field (less in focus). 

A smaller aperture will darken your picture but give you a greater depth of field (more in focus). More information on aperture can be found here.

Ratio of Aspects

The aspect ratio is the proportion of an image’s width to its height. It’s abbreviated as x:y and is one of the most commonly used expressions in photography. You may have seen it in one of your media players. One thing to keep in mind is that the aspect ratio does not equal the image’s actual dimension. 

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Taking a sequence of photographs at various exposures is known as bracketing. You may notice an AEB setting on your camera (auto exposure bracketing). 

When making HDR images or in challenging lighting conditions where you want various contrasts from light to dark, bracketing is commonly used.

Exposure compensation

Exposure correction is the process of changing the shutter speed or aperture from the camera’s recommended exposure to achieve a specific effect or to compensate for exposure issues. The light reflecting off your subject is read by your camera, which is set to expose for medium grey. 

You may use this setting to tell the camera the correct exposure when photographing a lighter or darker subject than 18 percent grey.


You’ve already seen a lot of photographers talk about how much they love bokeh. A light source’s impact is out of focus, and forming a soft orb form in the background of a photograph is known as bokeh. Bokeh is a simple way to add interest to your pictures, and it works incredibly well with portraits!

Camera modes

The various shooting choices available on your camera are referred to as camera modes. The settings are usually located on the top of your camera’s mode dial. Different camera modes, ranging from fully automatic to full-on manual mode, can have advantages and disadvantages based on the location. 

Burst Mode

You can only take one picture at a time. Alternatively, you can activate burst mode, which will allow you to take photos as long as you keep the shutter button down or until the buffer is complete (which is a fancy way of saying the camera is unable to process any more images). 

Burst speeds vary depending on the type of camera or film camera you have; some are quicker than others. The number of frames (pictures) per second is recorded in “fps.” This will give you a lot of options for which close-up of your dog you’ll choose!

Dynamic Range

The distinction between the lightest and darkest areas of a photograph is referred to as dynamic range. That is the color spectrum in the image between the whitest whites and the blackest blacks.

If the range of light values becomes too broad, your camera can fail to capture information in the painful areas, leading to “blown out” lights that look like bright blobs (as shown above) or shades that are nothing more than black masses.

White balance

Color balance in photos is affected by different light sources. It’s critical to set your camera’s white balance correctly so that colors are adequately reflected. A neutral grey card can be a valuable tool for achieving the correct white balance.

Crop Factor

When filming with a crop sensor camera, you’ll notice something called crop factor. Since crop sensor cameras have a narrower sensor than full-frame cameras, images can appear cropped or zoomed in even though the lens size is the same.