By Pooja Kashyap
  • 12 Oct
  • 4 min read
A simple guide to photography slang

You often hear words you don’t comprehend from photographers you know. Professionals use many terms that other people don’t understand. Beginning photographers also encounter many difficulties precisely because of the special slang. Sometimes even an experienced professional can’t keep up with the rapidly changing terminology. We suggest you study a summary of the most common words in the field of photography. You will likely hear all of the following terms during your creative work. Knowing such slang will allow you to feel more confident around photographers. We include only some of the terms. You can see photography words in Skylum`s blog.

Terms that relate specifically to photography

Photographers may use such lingo when describing the style, type of lighting, or image-making process. Understanding these terms and remembering some will be incredibly easy.
The Golden Hour is the very first hour after sunrise and the last before sunset. It is during this time that the sun is low in the sky and casts a softer, more diffuse glow. Professionals love to shoot during the golden hour because it creates a lot less overexposed highlights and underexposed shadows. The light will warm up your surroundings with a soft golden hue.


High dynamic range (HDR) – a style of shooting and post-processing that combines three or more exposures. This helps achieve a higher dynamic range. Sometimes it is very difficult to capture a wide range of shadows and highlights in a single exposure, and HDR solves this problem by bracketing (a series of shots in quick succession with different exposures.


An artifact is something that significantly degrades the quality of a photo. Most often artifacts are called lens flare, and distorted areas. In digital images, it looks like an area of pixels without color.
Bokeh is a soft blur effect where a soft depth of field is used. The term is borrowed from Japanese and translates as “out of focus”. Aesthetically pleasing bokeh blur is made for both backgrounds and foregrounds.


Deadpan is a special aesthetic for centering the subject. The classic deadpan image looks impassive and devoid of emotion. The subject is centered and is viewed straight on, depicted without a sense of attachment or deep meaning.


Forced perspective is very often used in movies when you want to make one person look tiny and another look very big. You’ve definitely seen pictures of people holding the sun or the Leaning Tower of Pisa in their hands.

Light painting is a photography technique in which a light source is moved during a long exposure. The light source is either directed at the subject or directly into the camera lens (both of which look interesting in a photo).

Fringing or purple fringing – looks like a purple tint on the edge of a dark object. It’s more common in digital photography and appears when a dark figure is set against a light background.
Photobomb. Sometimes you take a photo and only then see that someone has ruined a perfect shot with a funny face in the background. This is what is called a photobomb. This effect is done either intentionally or unintentionally.


Lens flare occurs when the sun’s rays hit the camera lens directly. Then the light is reflected inside the lens and you get beautiful strips and circles of light. In the past, this kind of flare was considered a drawback, but now photographers quite often use this effect to add more volume to a picture.


Terms that relate to the photographer or equipment


A shutterbug is a person who always has his camera at the ready. He can’t eat breakfast or leave the house without taking a picture of everything around him. Such people are much more likely to post photos on social media.

ATGNI (all the Gear, no idea) – it’s what they call people who are constantly buying new equipment, changing lenses, and tripods. One problem is not knowing how to properly use extremely expensive equipment.


The Nifty fifty is the fastest, most affordable financially, and most useful 50mm lens. This focal length is perfect for everyday shooting and allows you to get very good quality shots.
Fast or slow aperture (glass, lens) – a glass is said to be fast if it has a wide maximum aperture (f/1.8 or f/1.4). It’s said to be slow if it has a narrower maximum aperture, such as f/4.


Technical photography lingo


RAW is a file format that is stored on the camera. RAW is sent to the memory card without compression or processing, which avoids loss of photo quality during retouching or editing. Such files are usually much larger than JPEGs.

ISO is one of the most important of digital photography terms and measures the light sensitivity of the image sensor. The lower the ISO, the less sensitive the equipment is to light. A higher value is usually necessary for low light to get fast shutter speeds. Sometimes high ISO can result in noise (looks like grain in film photos).


Shutter speed is the amount of time the lens shutter remains open. If you want to take a photo of something fast, use a fast shutter speed (1/500 of a second). Slower shutter speeds such as 1/20 of a second help show movement better (also useful in low light conditions).


Depth of field. A basic definition of depth of field is the range of distance in your photography that appears acceptably sharp. Determined by aperture, distance to subject, and lens. Indicates whether the background and subject can be brought into focus very quickly at the same time.


White balance is a camera setting that establishes the true color of white. This produces a baseline from which all other colors are measured. Depending on the camera model, you will have several preset settings. You can use auto-white balance most of the time.
Now you will feel much more confident in the company of photographers!

FacebookTwitterWhatsapp
Rate the Article 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 StarsLoading...

About GrooveNexus


A new age entertainment and media nexus where artists are spotted and spotlighted, where fans get connected to musicians and brands.
Artists need to be heard.
Fans need to hear.
GrooveNexus is the binder.