Digital Photography Definitions

Here are a few terms people find confusing…

Aperture:  The hole that allows light to come into the camera.  Determined by the lens and the camera settings.  Point of confusion:  It seems backwards, but the aperature setting is determined by the aperature size or indicator.  An aperature setting of 2.8 is larger than an aperture of 5.6, 5.6 is larger, (allows in more light) than an aperature setting of 8, 11, 16, etc.  The rule is:  The smaller the aperture number, the more light it lets into the camera  See also Aperture Priority.

Aperture Priority Mode:  The technical name for the “A” setting on most cameras.  If you select the aperture, the camera will usually select the Shutter speed and ISO setting for the image to be made.

Depth of Field:  This one can be confusing.  Depth is not measured vertically, but horizontally.  A wide depth of field means that you can see most of the image sharp and in focus, from the closest object to the farthest object.  This is generally obtained by using a high number on your aperture, (f16-f22 or higher).

Green box:  The setting on your camera similar to the “P” or Program Mode, with one very large exception.  The green box or “Automatic” Mode will not allow the camera to shoot in”RAW”, but will shoot the images in “JPEG”.

JPEG:  I’ll let you Google the acronym description.  I’ll tell you that JPEG is an industry recognized standard for compressing or making the images smaller on the memory card.  JPEGs shoot faster and write to your memory card faster because they’re smaller files.  Basically, what happens is this.  When you shoot the picture, the camera doesn’t select individual dots in the picture, but averages blocks or squares close to one another and saves that group of dots as a square in your image.  If you’ve ever blown up a JPEG too large, you’ve noticed blocks inside of your picture.  These blocks are referred to as JPEG artifacts.  If your camera can shoot in Camera RAW, RAW files save individual dots in the picture, instead of squares of “averaged” data.  Every single dot in the picture has its own color information.  But this comes with a price, RAW files are uncompressed, or “RAW”, and can require up to 10 times the memory of a JPEG.  The more colors and tones in an image, the bigger the RAW file will be.  Example: A JPEG image using only 1 Megabyte of memory can require 8 to 10 Megabytes (Mb) of memory as a RAW file.  RAW files will load, save, and take up much more space on your memory card.

Manual Mode:  The “M” setting on your camera.  This setting allows the user as much control over the camera as the camera is willing to give up.  Changes can usually be made to the aperture, shutter speed and ISO, allowing for more artistic or creativity to go into the photo.  “M” is the setting photographers should aspire to, but it can take some time to get there.

More later…

Dewayne

Program mode:  The “P” setting on your camera dial or menu.  The “P” as, almost any photographer will tell you, does not stand for “Professional”.  What happens is this, when you select the”p” on the dial or menu, the camera will use its internal computer to evaluate the scene before it, make all of the necessary adjustments based on the sensor, amount of light, etc. and choose everything for you.

Digital Photography Basics , , , ,

15 comments


  1. HI Dewayne!
    Thanks for explaining these “strange” concepts! I am sure they are on the manual but it is easier and more understandable how you explained them!

  2. This is really helpful. I’ve been a rookie photographer for 100 years (give or take) and now I’m starting to understand more than just the raw basics.
    THANKS!

  3. I can’t believe how good a jpeg file looks after you compress it further. Both photos on my Blog were compressed around 90% of the original photo and look ok on the Blog .

  4. Ah so that’s what that is called, that thing that takes up so much space……damn those raw files!

  5. Wow.This is SO much better than reading the teeny tiny print in my manual! Plus you speak English!
    Sonya Lenzo
    http://www.oldbooksmarket.com

  6. This is really interesting and very helpful. I am looking forward to what comes next!

    All the best,
    Neil
    http://geneflora.com/test-your-knowledge/

  7. Naomi Bettencourt

    I took photography in high school, but it has been a long time. Some of the terms are familiar; I was very excited to remember “f-stop” when you were discussing depth of field, but most I had either forgotten, or they were not relevant to cameras at the time (no digital pictures). Thanks for the lesson!

    Stay Cool!
    Naomi Bettencourt
    Las Vegas Air Conditioning Repairs

  8. Rachel Robinson

    Great definitions! I always get confused with Depth of Field.
    Leadership Is A Choice

  9. Thanks for the definitions. They are very helpful in learning about digital photography.

    Steve C

  10. Excellent this makes shopping easier and less confusing : )

    Reading Body Language

  11. VERY helpful in that I have to admit that I thought “A” was for “automatic” so the camera just did all the work itself and I got to press the little button!

    Thanks for clearing that up!
    Jen Battaglino
    Personalized Empowerment – Face Your Fear

  12. I have heard a lot of these terms before…But like Sonya said I don’t like to read the small writing that comes with the camera..

    Sales Expert

  13. Hi Dewayne,

    Learning to know the language and terminology is so important in any new endeavor. Your digital photography blog empowers people to do just that in this field.

    Happy Dating and Relationships,

    April Braswell
    Internet Dating Profile Writer
    http://aprilbraswell.com/blog/products/internetdatingprofilewriter

  14. I knew jpg’s were lower resolution than bitmap and raw files but didn’t know why until reading your very informative post.

    Thanks!

    Michael