25 Photography Terms For Beginners To Ease Communication

Updated on February 27, 2024 in Photography by

25 Photography Terms For Beginners To Ease Communication

Photography is not a theoretical subject. Not even close to it. But we can not ignore that we live in a world of communication. And for that, we need a common understanding of terms and their meaning.

Here, I am sharing 25 Common Photography Terms for beginners and their meanings. These terms will help you easily communicate with experts in your field and other team members.

Understanding these common photography terms for beginners will take you one step closer to being an intermediate photographer. It will be easy for you to interact with your digital camera, software, equipment, and outsourcing team.

So, without putting in any more time here, let us begin with our ultimate photography terms for beginners that will help you grow.

25 Photography Terms For Beginners To Ease Communication

1. Aperture

What is Aperture in Photography? Understand It With Ease

Aperture in photography is a camera setting that allows you to control the opening of your lens through which light enters. This setting essentially helps you choose between capturing Sharpness or bokeh images.

The Aperture is calculated by its focal length (f/). A lower focal length means a wide Aperture. It results in more light entering the lens, which means the background will be blurred and can not be recognized.

On the other hand, if the value of focal length is higher, the opening of the lens will-less, and less light will enter. Here, the background is much more visible and easy to recognize.

Aperture is one part of the photography triangle that consists of ISO and Shutter speed. We will learn more about these photography terms further in this article.

2. Aspect Ratio

Importance of Aspect Ratio

Aspect Ratio is the ratio between the width and height of the image size. It tells about the orientation of the image and what ratio to follow.

For example, if the ratio of the image is 1:1, the image’s height and width will be equal. Hence, it will be a square image.

Similarly, if the aspect ratio is 2:3, this will be a vertical rectangle. Here the width is 2 units, and the height will is 3 units. Here the unit can be anything measuring the length of the image.

3. Blur

Blur is a common photography term that means the area of an image is out of focus. It is done to in order make the subject stand out. You can control the blur of an image with the help of Aperture.

4. Bokeh Effect

The bokeh Effect is a photography style where the background lights are out of focus. It creates an effect that softens the light sources and creates a gloomy effect in the frame. It is a photography term that is used during editing and adding “bokeh background”. You can capture it during photography with a wider Aperture (lower focal length)

5. Burst Mode

Normally, a camera captures one image at a time when you press the capture button. Burst Mode is a camera setting that allows keeping capturing images till you press and hold the button. It takes snapshots quickly and aggressively faster than it would normally do.

The speed of capturing the image varies from one camera to another. One with higher frames per second capture more images compared to one with lower frames per second (fps).

6. Composition

Composition Techniques

Composition is a way to arrange elements in your photography. It refers to how different elements of the image are arranged in a way that caught the viewer’s attention and keeps them hooked to the image.

Composition is among the very important photography terms for beginners that guide them on how can they improve their photography skills with an easy shift of angle. I have previously shared the 24 best compositions in photography that you can try.

7. Cropping

Cropping in photography means cutting out or adjusting the edges of the images to improve the framing and composition of the image. It can be done following the same aspect ratio or free-handed.

Cropping is a very common photography term for beginners that is used during most commonly used during photo editing.

8. Contrast


The contrast in photography is the difference between the tone of colors and light used to create a separation in the image. It is done through the use of different types of lighting, and through the colors that are used in the images.

The contrast in photography is among the most common photography terms that are used by professionals to make the subject stand out, and communicate emotions through photography.

9. Depth of field

What Is The Depth Of Field In Photography?

The depth of field in photography is the distance between the closest and farthest object in the photo that is acceptably sharp. The term “acceptably” plays a key role here, as the camera can only focus on one part of the scene at a time.

Here, acceptably means that gradual shift where focus between the closet and farthest object in the photo is unnoticeable.

Narrow Depth of Field (DoF) means you will be focusing on just a smaller area of the image, and that will look sharp. Whereas Larger Depth of Field means you’ll balance your focus on the closet and farthest object in the frame making the whole scene look sharp.

It is among the photography terms for beginners that might seem advanced, but are can advance your career.

10. Exposure

Exposure in photography means the amount of light that reaches your camera sensor resulting in how bright or dark the image will look. Higher exposure means the image will be bright, but this may result in a loss of details and texture of the subject.

Lower exposure means, the image will look darker, but on the pro side, the details and the texture will be clear. Normally, we are looking for something in the middle. A spot where the image is bright and the details are easily visible.

It is among the most common photography terms for beginners that one must learn control. We can either adjust the exposure during post-production but there are some limitations to it. A better way would be to use good lighting, aperture setting, ISO setting, and Shutter speed.

11. File Format

File format in photography means the type of file the image will be when captured and saved during photography or photo editing. There are various types of file formats, each with its pros and cons.

Some of the most common types of image file formats in photography are JPG, PNG, RAW, TIFF, etc. These formate balance the size of the file and the quality of the image.

File formats are among the most photography terms for beginners as you’ll have to balance the size and the quality going ahead in your career.

12. Focus

Focus in photography means adjusting our making our chosen subject in the frame look much sharper, with better contrast and with higher resolution. Another portion of the image is partially or completely blurred, making the subject stand out. This is among the most common photography terms for beginners that are frequently used.

13. Filters

Camera Filters

Filters in photography are lens accessories that are used to block certain colors or types of lighting entering the lens. Some filters are also used to reduce the intensity of light entering the lens for better picture quality by reducing the external effects during photography.

14. Focal Length

Focal Length Aperture

Focal length in photography is the distance between the camera sensor and the lens when the subject is in focus. The focal length can be adjusted through the lens, which comes with a different range. Some of the most common lenses and their focal lights are:

  • Standard zoom lens (24 – 70mm)
  • Wide-angle lens (14-30mm)
  • Macro lens (125mm)

By adjusting the focal length of the lens, you can adjust the Aperture.

15. HDR

HDR in photography stands for High Dynamic Range. It is a photography setting where the camera captures a scene in various ranges from the lightest to the darkest tone. Here, lights (highlights) and darkness (shadows) are captured. This is used in showcasing the details and making textures and patterns stand out.

It is among the most common photography terms for beginners, as it is often used due to its ease of use in capturing details.

16. ISO

Photography ISO | What is ISO in Photography? PixelPhant

ISO is photography is a camera setting that controls the sensitivity of camera sensors toward the light. As a photographer, if you want to increase the exposure of your image artificially, you can increase the ISO. But in doing so, the image will look grainy or noisy, especially if you don’t have adequate lighting.

The ISO camera setting is among the most common photography terms for beginners that you must learn how to use.

17. Lens

lens for portraits

A Lens in photography is a tool that is attached to the camera, to adjust the lighting falling on the camera sensor, adjust the focal length, and zoom in or out of the frame. There are various types of lenses used for standard or specialized purposes. These lenses can be easily switched if you are using a DSLR camera. Other cameras come with a standard, fix lens that can’t be changed.

18. Noise

Noise in photography is the undesired graininess or the variation of color and brightness that we can see in the image. The camera sensor or internal electronics cause this. Mostly we can see this during the use of high ISO and low lighting setup.

It is among the most common photography terms for beginners that you’ll hear a lot if you are not using good lighting and relying on ISO.

We have gone into detail on photography lighting setup in our recent guide.

19. Shutter Speed

Shutter speed in photography

Shutter Speed in photography is the camera setting that controls how fast the shutter will close. A faster shutter speed means you’ll be able to capture moving objects in still mode. But since the shutter speed is fast, less light will enter the frame.

On the other hand, if the shutter speed is slow, more light enters the lens for a longer time and hence the image will distortion if the subject is moving.

The third side of the exposure triangle includes ISO and Aperture on the other side.

20. Sharpness

Sharpness in photography refers to the clarity and quality of the subject photography that is achieved through adjusting the focal length through the lens and creating contrast in the image.

Sharpness is among the most common photography terms for beginners as you’ll often hear people asking you to increase sharpness. This essentially means they are requesting you increase the clarity and focus of the subject.

21. Post Production

Photography post-production or photo editing are the terms used to describe the changes we make to the photograph using various software like Photoshop, to enhance the image.

Surely it is among the most common photography terms for beginners as one can easily remove the distraction, correct the photography mistakes, and enhance the images.

22. Resolution

Resolution in photography is the ability of an image to hold the details of a scene including the color, texture, patterns, and more. A high-resolution image means the image holds the details very effectively.

That is why when you zoom in, you can still look at the image without it being blurred. On the other hand, a low-resolution image holds fewer details, which is why when you’ll zoom in you’ll notice blur in the image.

It is among the most common photography terms for beginners which you’ll find when choosing the camera, lens, and also during photo editing.

23. Rule Of Third

rule of thirds

Rule Of Third is a photography composition technique where two line grid is formed on the frame and the subject is arranged at the intersection of these grid lines. It is a popular photography term for beginners and professionals as it is usually the first photography composition technique that we learn.

24. Wide-Angle lens

Best Wide Angle Lens

A wide-angle lens in photography is a lens that has a focal length of less than 35mm. It is a lens that gives you a wider field of view that allows you to capture more objects in one frame.

25. White Balance

White Balance for eCommerce Photography

White balance in photography is a camera setting that allows you to match the color of your source light so that the white color in your frames appears white. It is used to reduce the effect of the light on the subject so that it appears the way it is in real life.

Bonus Read

A list of the most common photography terms for beginners can’t be summed up in just 25 points. But with the above list, you now know where to start.

I am sure, learning about these common photography terms for beginners, you have at least taken one step closer to becoming a professional photographer. Next, let us learn about product photography lighting.

PixelPhant is a professional product photo editing service providing the best eCommerce and editorial image editing service. Get in touch and get a free image editing trial now👇.

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