Have you ever been baffled by a Digital imaging term you've read or heard about? Do you wonder what the words associated with photography or image editing mean? Fear not dear Point 'n' Shooters, help is at hand. The following Dictionary will help you understand all the terminology. If there's a term that isn't listed or one  you think I should add, please leave a comment.below.

1 -?

16:9: Widescreen ratio. Widecreen TV's use this format.
High definition (HD) video of 1280 x 720 pixels in the widescreen format. HD ready TV's are able to display video captured in this resolution at this resolution via a HDMI cable and input.
1080i/P: !080P is known as Full HD video of 1920 x1080 pixels. Full HD TV's are able to playback video at this resolution via a HDMI cable. 1080i (interlaced) is 1920 X 1080pixels video, but wheras with 1080P every line is played back at the same time, with 1080i all the odd numbered lines of pixels, then all the even numbered lines intersperse so that the human eye perceives a full HD image.


Adapter: Item used to attach certain filters or accessories to your camera.
Adobe Photoshop: Image-editing program for your computer. £600.00 +
Adobe Photoshop Elements: A cheaper version of Photoshop with fewer features than the full version includes.
AEB: Auto exposure bracketing. See Bracketing.
Aperture: An opening made by an adjustable diaphragm, which permits light to enter the camera lens and reach the image sensor. All cameras have one, some set it automatically, and some let the photographer adjust it.
Aperture-priority: A semi-automatic mode; the photographer sets the aperture, and the camera selects the right shutter speed to produce a the best exposure.
Auto mode: A digital camera setting in which most functions except flash are set automatically by the camera.
Auto shut-off: Feature that turns off the camera after a period of not being used.
Autoexposure: A feature that lets the camera choose the correct exposure settings.
Autofocus: A camera feature where the camera chooses the correct focus you, usually based on the contrast of an image or set by an infrared sensor, that judges the distance from the camera to the subject.

Barrel Distortion
Lens distortion that makes horizontal or vertical lines bend out like a barrel.
Battery charger
: Recharges rechargeable camera batteries. Some manufacturers use camera specific batteries for some of their models and include the charger with the camer, whilst cameras that take AA or AAA batteries can take rechargeable batteries using a standard charger sold separately. Do not recharge alkaline cells.
Bit depth: Refers to the number of bits in an image information. A normal digital image has a depth of 24 bits. High-bit images have more bits.
Blown highlights: An image or part of an image that is very over-exposed with no detail showing in bright areas.
BMP: Windows bitmap file format. An old digital picture format. Modern cameras use Jpeg.
Bokeh: How pleasing the out-of-focus areas of an image that a camera  produces are.
Bracketing: A burst of photographs of the same subject (usually 3) at different exposures to ensure one will be right.
Buffer: Part of digital camera’s internal memory, set aside to store images immediately after capture until the image can be stored in the camera’s built in memory or a memory card.
Bulb: Mode or setting that keeps the shutter open as long as the shutter button is fully pressed
Burst mode aka Drive or continuous capture mode: A setting, that captures several shots in quick succession with a single shutter press.

Camera bag: Padded bag for your camera and any accessories like filters and spare batteries, usually for bridge cameras and larger models.
Camera case: Protective pouch in to store your compact camera when not in use.
Camera Raw aka Raw: File format on high end digital cameras that takes the image but doesn’t  applying any in-camera processing like sharpening, colour boosting, etc that is automatically applied to Jpegs. 
Capture resolution: How many pixels that are in your image. 1,000,000 pixels = 1 Megapixel..
Card reader: A device which takes memory cards,, either built into your computer or laptop, ore one  you attach to your computer for putting images on computer to view, edit or print.
CCD: Charge-coupled device. A type of imaging sensors used in digital cameras.
Centre-weighted metering: Metering mode that gives more emphasis to the subject in the centre of the screen.
Chromatic Aberrations: Purple fringing that appears around the edges of objects in high contrast areas. A common example is distant tree branches.
Close-up filter: An add-on filter allowing you get sharp images at a distance less than the closest-focusing distance of the cameras lens .
CMOS: Complementary metal-oxide semiconductor. A type of sensor used in digital cameras. These used to be inferior to CCD’s but new technologies mean they are used in high end cameras. BSI Cmos sensors illuminate the rear of the sensor for better low light images.
CMYK: Cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks mixed to produce multi millions of colours when printing photos..
Colour cast: Discolouration of a photo in whole or in part, usually blue or reddish orange.
Colour saturation: The strength of the colours in an image. Most modern cameras let you set this, and have 3 settings, including pale, normal and vivid.
Command Dial: secondary dial, usually slim and recessed into the camera body, that, when you are in a menu item or Aperture or Shutter mode, you turn to change that particular setting.
Complimentary colours: Two colours that when combined in the right proportions create white light.
Composition: Arrangement or position of the main subject, and other objects in a scene or image and its foreground and background.
Compression: A procedure that reduces the size of the image file by removing invisible image data.
Continuous Auto-Focus (Aka Tracking Auto Focus): The camera automatically updates focus when the subject moves but you must keep the shutter pressed halfway.
Continuous mode: The camera keeps taking pictures for as long as the shutter is pressed.
Contrast: The tonal difference range in the light to dark areas of an image.
Convergence: Image distortion that makes vertical lines and buildings look as if they are leaning inwards.
Crop: Trimming unwanted areas to recompose an image on a  computer by ‘Cropping’ the edges, similar to physically cutting a photograph.

Depth of field (DOF)
: The amount of sharp focus from front to back in a photograph. Shallow DOF means only a small portion near the front of the image is in focus, whereas a Deep DOF means the entire image is in focus from front to rear.
Diaphragm: The adjustable blades on a lens (all cameras) that open and close to select how much light enters the camera.
Digital zoom: This crops the edges of the image of the image whilst adding extra pixels to take the image back to it’s original size, giving the illusion of zooming in. This should be used sparingly, as the more you digitally zoom, the worse the quality gets.
Diopter adjustment: A viewfinder feature that corrects for common eyeglass prescriptions so eyeglass wearers can use the viewfinder without wearing their glasses.
Downsample: Resize an image to a smaller size. Most image editors will use two methods, pixels and percentages. .
D-pad: Set of four buttons, or a circular ring that you press in four directions to access settings quickly. It usually has a menu or OK button in the centre.
DPOF (See also PictBridge): Digital Print Order Format. Most cameras enables you to put print instructions into the image file; and print straight from the camera to a compatible camera.
Drive mode: Setting sets the number of images taken with a single press of the shutter and also sets the timer function if desired. Most camera have several Drive modes, Single, Burst and Self Timer.    
Driver: Software that makes the camera interact with the computer. Usually comes on a disc but Windows often has a compatible driver built in.
Dynamic range: The range of highlight and shadows captured by your cameras sensor. The wider the range, the mode dynamic and vivid the image.

Edge: an area of high contrast in an image.
EXIF Data: Exchangeable Image File Format. Information about the camera settings used to capture the image, such as camera make & model, shutter speed, aperture, image size, camera lens and much more.
Exposure: How light or dark your image is. An image that’s too dark is underexposed, whilst an image that’s too light has been overexposed. The longer the shutter speed the more light enters the sensor. Too long an shutter speed will overexpose, whilst a shutter speed too fast will underexpose.
Exposure compensation: A setting that will lighten or darken the image by altering the exposure value (EV)
Extension tube: A camera attachment that moves your camera lens farther from the sensor, enlarging the image captured by the camera. Also called a lens extender.
EV: Exposure Value settings are a way of brightening or darkening exposure without having to alter F-stops or shutter speed.
EVF: Electronic viewfinder. A small LCD screen is the viewfinder instead of an optical one.

Feather: Fading the borders of an image element to blend it in with the rest of the image.
File format: A way of storing image data in a file. Typical formats include JPEG, RAW, BMP, DNG and TIFF.
Fill in or forced flash: Setting that makes the electronic flash always fire, to fill in shadows in bright daylight images.
Filter: Screws onto the lens, and alters the light or hue. Also, in image editing it’s a feature that changes the pixels image to produce a variety of different effects.
Flash: The part of the camera that fires a flash of light when to illuminate your subject.
Focal length: The distance between the cameras sensor and the centre of the lens and is usually measured in millimetres.
Focus: Adjusting the lens to obtain a sharp image.
Framing: Composing your image in the viewfinder or LCD screen. It can also mean including elements of an image to create an imaginary picture frame around an important part of the image. In editing, it’s putting a nice border around the image, whilst in the real world it’s the physical act of putting a photograph in a frame.
Fringing: When an image is over sharpened, fringes appear around the edges of objects. Also some lenses are prone to purple fringing of high contrast areas. This is called Chromatic Aberration.
Front or First curtain sync: The default flash technique on cameras. The flash fires as the shutter opens. To take a picture the shutter opens and closes. The opening is the front or first curtain.
F-stop: The size of the camera aperture. Higher numbers mean a smaller aperture. Shown as  F/2, F/5.6. F/8 etc.
Function or F or
Quick menu button: Button that brings up the most used settings such as image size, white balance and image quality in a single menu.



HDV, HD video or High Definition Video. There are three differeng HD video resolutions, 720P, 1080i and 1080P (see 720 & 1080). 1080p is the best, 720p the lowest quality. Not all HD video is Full HD. Only 1080P is. Most new cameras shoot 720P video, though high end cameras are either 1080i or Full HD 1080P.
Highlights: The over exposed areas in a digital image. Some cameras can be set to display the over exposed areas on playback.
Histogram: A graph that shows brightness (Highlights) and darkness (Shadows) values of a photo (digital or scanned) to aid exposure correction. Some cameras can be set to show them when you play images back in camera.
Hot shoe: The socket on a camera that is used to connect a flashgun to a camera. Lower end compacts and bridge cameras do not have hot shoe connections..
Hot spot: A bright area in an image caused by reflections or uneven lighting.

Image sensor: The part of the camera that captures the image. Made up of Pixels, the more pixels the sensor has, the larger the image. 1 million pixels = 1 Megapixel. Most modern compact camera sensors have between 12 & 16  Megapixels. Because of the small half in size, most 16 Mp sensors capture noisy images. (See Noise)
Image Stabilization: Setting that helps correct for any up-and-down movement you make while pressing the shutter button.
Infrared: Uses a filter or a sensor sensitive to infrared light whilst blocking visible light. It produces a dreamlike effect, with darker skies and brightly coloured foliage. Also refers to night photography mode on a digital camcorder.
ISO: On a film camera this was ASA and is, a measure of how sensitive the cameras sensor or film is to light; The higher the number, the more light that hits the sensor. Raising the ISO lets you use a faster shutter speed, a wider (smaller) aperture, or both. If set too high, it can cause grainy images.

JPEG: The primary main file format used by modern digital cameras; and is  also the most common format for online pictures. It compresses images by removing artifacts invisible to the naked eye. Each time you save a JPEG the quality lessens.
JPEG+Raw: Many high end cameras let you set then to capture both a Raw and JPEG photo with a single shutter press.
Jaggies: The stair shaped appearance of curved or diagonal lines in a photo. The more pixels in an image, the less likely it is to happen. If you crop too close then as you are reducing the number of pixels, the more apparent jaggies become.



Landscape mode: A setting that provides the best photos of landscape scenery. In image editing it refers to the orientation of the photograph If the photo is wider in width than it is in height it is in landscape mode..
Layer: An image editing term. Images can be edited by placing individual edits on a series of stackable layers that can be edited separately, and merged together  for the final image.
LCD hood: A covers for a digital camera’s LCD screen that shades it to allow it to be seen in bright sunlight, as many screens cannot be seen properly on sunny days.
LCD screen: Liquid Crystal Display. The screen included on digital cameras is made up of pixels. The more pixels, the clearer the image displayed on it. Modern camera LCD’s are between 2.5 and 3.5 inches..
Lens: The optical glass or plastic material the light must pass through in order to hit the sensor or film.  It focuses rays of light to produce a sharp image. On a compact camera the lens is fixed to the camera body, but expensive DSLR and Compact system cameras have interchangeable lenses.
Lens hood: An add on extension that shades the lens, stopping excess light from reaching the sensor that could overexpose and reduce the contrast of the image.
Light dome or tent: A plastic dome or tepee that cuts out reflections in photographs. You put the things you want to photograph underneath the dome.
Lossless compression: A file-compression format  that doesn’t lose any essential image data when the image is compressed Lossy compression: Compression format that removes important image data  to get smaller file sizes. Big amounts of lossy compression significantly lower the quality of an image.

Macro : A setting on a compact camera that you use to take close up images.
Macro filter: A screw in filter to enable you to shoot enlarged close ups.
Marquee: The dotted outline you get when you select a portion of your image to edit. 
Masking: In an image editing, when you select an area of an image to stop it from being accidentally masked.
Matrix or Multizone/multi segment metering: A metering mode that works out the correct exposure by using the entire image. The more zones or segments the camera has, the more accurate the exposure. 
Megapixel: One million pixels.
Memory card: The removable device your camera saves images to. The current standard is the Secure Digital (SD) format, and comes in Micro SD, SD, SDHC & SDXC varieties of up to 64 Gigabytes storage capacity. Some high end DSLR cameras use the Compact Flash standard which is a much larger in physical size.
Menu button: Button that you press to bring up a ‘Menu’ list of camera settings you can set to your personal taste, such as image size, ISO, image quality, colour, and white balance. Most cameras have 3 menus, shooting (picture taking), Setup and playback. You navigate through items with the cameras D-pad.
Metadata or EXIF Metadata: Extra data stored with the image data in a digital image.  Metadata usually includes information like aperture, shutter speed, EV settings and other camera settings used to take the photo., It can be viewed using by right clicking an image in Windows Explorer and selecting ‘Properties.’
Metering mode: How a camera’s autoexposure mechanism reads the light in the scene. Matrix, Spot, Centre Weighted & Multizone/Matrix methods are common on modern cameras.
Midtones: Parts of an image where the tonal values are not too bright or dark. usually in the 25 to 75 percentage of an images tonal range.
Mode Dial: Dial on the top or rear of the camera you turn to set the shooting mode. Commonly features Auto, Programme Auto, and Scene modes. 
Monopod: A single legged version of a tripod, used hand held to steady a camera. .
Multiple auto-focus: Many cameras use multiple points to focus on. Most cameras use differing contrast to achieve focus on.
Multiple-exposure: A technique where a small aperture setting  gives you a long exposure, letting  your subjects to move inside the frame during shooting, creating a photo that looks like it has been exposed several times. It also refers to a photograph that is made up of several copies of the same image taken at different exposure settings that have been blended together. This gives much clearer shadow detail and better contrast.

Noise: The speckles and coloured dots in an image, due to low light, high ISO , or an electrical signal defect created during image-capture.

Online gallery: Internet photo hosting services like Flickr, Snapfish or Facebook.
Opacity: The amount of layer allowed to show through.
Optical viewfinder: A small area of glass that you can look through to compose your image. Optical viewfinders differ from electronic ones in so much as the image you see is a reflection of what is seen by the sensor, as opposed to the image being generated on a small LCD screen.
Optical zoom: In an optical zoom lens the glass elements move backwards and forwards to magnify the image and make it appear closer to the camera
Overexposed or overexposure: Caused when too much light hits the film or sensor, making the image look washed out or excessively bright. 

Panorama: An image composed of two or more frames stitched together to form a seamless ‘Wide Screen’ image. Most modern digital cameras have a panorama mode that stitches the images together in camera.
Parallax error: The difference between what the sensor records and what is seen on the LCD screen or Electronic viewfinder prior to pressing the shutter. 
Pass-through filter: A filter in front of a cameras sensor that blocks out unwanted light to improve the picture being recorded.
Phone camera: A mobile phone with a built in digital camera.
Photo printer: A full-colour printer that produces photographs with a much higher Dots Per Inch (DPI) resolution than a standard printer specifically for photo printing.  These are considerably more expensive than a normal printer.
Photon: A single particle of light.
PictBridge: A standard that lets compatible digital cameras print directly to a compatible printer by USB cable, without the need for a computer. PictBridge cameras and printers are guaranteed to work with each other, regardless of make..
Picture Transfer Protocol: The industry standard for transferring images from a camera to a PC by USB.
Pincushion Distortion: Lens distortion that makes lines look as if they are bending in on each other.
Pixel: Picture Element. Digital images are made up of these. 1 million pixels = 1 Megapixel. Modern compact camera sensors typically have between 12 & 16 million pixels. 
Plug-in: Small program running within another program. Lots of special effects filters ‘Plug-in’ to photo-editing programs like Photoshop Elements, The Gimp or Paint Shop Pro.
PNG: File format. The default format in Windows Paint.
Point-and-shoot or point and click camera: An easy to use digital camera that has automatic settings for most features. Users simply point at the subject and shoot (click) the shutter.
Point-n-shoot.co.uk: the ONLY website photography beginners need. Extremely WAG friendly. 
Polariser: Screw on filter that reduces the glare from shiny surfaces in your photos and deepen the contrast of the sky. You turn the front of the filter to adjust the level to your liking.
Portrait mode: A setting on your camera for taking perfect portraits. Most cameras have this mode, and it is optimised for beautiful skin tones. A portrait is also known as a ‘Head and Shoulders’ shot. In software it is the orientation of an image whereby the vertical height is taller than the width. , also called tall orientation.
PPI or DPI: Pixels per inch (not payment protection insurance) or Dots per inch. 1 pixel = print resolution: The number of pixels per linear inch (ppi) in a printed photo; the user sets this value inside a photo-editing program.
Proprietary format or native format: A manufacturer specific file format. For example, although high end cameras shoot in RAW format, each manufacturer uses their own specific variant of the Raw format.
Prosumer: A model of camera including many professional camera features but alongside automatic settings. Bridge cameras were originally given this title.
PSD: Proprietary Photoshop file format.

Quick-connect plate or quick release plate: A mount on most new tripods that allows you to remove a  digital camera quickly without unscrewing it.

Rangefinder camera: Camera with a focusing mechanism which enables the photographer to accurately measure the subject distance and photograph in sharp focus.
Rear or Second curtain sync: The flash fires as the shutter closes.
Red eye: Caused by flash photography. It appears to make a person or animals eyes red. It’s caused by light bouncing from the retina, and can be eliminated by angling a flashgun upwards.
Red Eye Reduction: The camera fires a ‘Pre flash’ so the subject does not have red eyes.
Resolution: The number of pixels in a cameras sensor or in an image.
RGB: The standard colour model for digital photos. Every single colour we see is actually a mixture of red, green, and blue light.
Rule of thirds: A way of mentally dividing you’re your viewfinder or LCD screen image horizontally and vertically into thirds, and putting important objects where the  lines intersect. Many new cameras have a setting to show a Rule Of Thirds grid on the LCD or viewfinder to aid your composition. These do not appear on the photograph.

Scanner: A device that captures an image of a photo, drawing, text or object and converts it to a digitized image you can edit on computer.
Scene modes: Digital camera’s scene specific automatic picture-taking modes controls for a certain type of subject matter.
Self-timer: You set this to delay the shutters operation after pressing it, to allow you to place yourself in the picture. Most new cameras have a 2 and a 10 second delay. 
Shutter: The part in a camera that opens and closes to allow light onto the shutter.
Shutter button: The button you press to take a picture with your camera.
Shutter speed: The amount of time the camera’s shutter stays open, letting light enter the camera and expose the image. The shorter the time it’s open for, the darker the image, and conversely, the longer it’s open, the lighther the image. Keeping the shutter speed too fast produces a black image, and keeping it open too long gives you a white image.
Shutter-priority: A semi-automatic mode. in which you set the shutter speed and the camera sets the correct aperture.
Single auto-focus: The camera focuses on a single subject.
Slave flash: An extra flash unit that augments the main flash. The main flash firing usually triggers the slave
SLR (single-lens reflex) camera: A camera where a mirror reflects the image seen through it’s lens onto the viewfinder. They are usually interchangeable lens models with manual focus and exposure controls, as well as a ‘Hot shoe’ connections for an external flashgun.
Snoot: Tube-like device that outputs the flash’s light to a small area.
Soft box: Mounts on the head of a flash and extends out about 6 to 8 with a frosted white panel at the end, which softens the light. Used extensively in portrait photography
Spot metering: Metering mode that sets the camera  exposure on the available light in the centre of the frame. .
Stitch: Creating a panorama from multiple images by using software.
Subcompact: A digital camera that's small enough to fit in a shirt pocket without discomfort.
Swivel mount: The moveable part of a tripod to which the camera screws onto, also called the head.

Table-top tripod: Lightweight mini tripod with shorter legs.
Telephoto lens: A zoom lens. 
TTL (through-the-lens): How a camera takes it’s focusing, exposure and viewfinder image parameters, i.e. what it sees through the lens.
TIFF: Tagged image file format. A popular image format with very little compression and loss of quality.
Time-lapse: Taking pictures at specified moments to record an event happening over a long period of time but looking as though it happened quickly..
Tolerance: The sensitivity of a image editing tool. When you use a magic wand tool to select an area you want to edit it bases its selection on contrast. Setting a lower or higher tolerance will alter the size of the area selected.
Tripod: Three-legged stand used to hold the camera steady. Really useful using slow shutter speeds or long telephoto zoom lenses to avoid camera shake.

Ultra-compact: Extra small digital camera that's often the size of a credit card, with a depth of less than half an inch,.
Underexposed: If not enough light too little light reaches the sensor, it creates an image that’s very dark.
Upsample: or Interpolate Add pixels extra to a digital image to make it bigger. The camera or editing programme decides where to add the extra pixels and how dark or light they will be.
USB: Port on all computers that allows differing devices such as printers, scanners, MP3 players, Cameras, mice, keyboards and other components to connect to and be recognised by a PC. New digital cameras come with a USB cable to connect the camera to the computer via this port.

Viewfinder: Small window in a camera you put your eye up to frame the image. Most modern cameras have no viewfinder. You use the LCD as a viewfinder.
Vignette: Dark corners to an image; often produced by using a lens hood or filter that’s too small. Old Victorian photo’s suffered from this, and it can be faked in most decent editing programmes.

White balance (WB): Setting the camera to compensate for the right kind of light hitting the sensor. Setting the right WB eliminates colour casts produced by some light sources, like tungsten or fluorescent.
Wide-angle lens or filter: A lens with a shorter focal length and a wider field of view that fits more into the image. Some cameras can take filters to widen the image.
Workflow: The order in which you perform all the various editing tasks.




Zoom lens: Lens that change focal lengths at your command to give you more or less magnification of the subject, and look as if you moved in closer.



blog comments powered by Disqus