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Photographic Terminology

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Adjustable Camera
   is described as   
A Camera With Manually Adjustable Settings.
Adjustable-Focus Lens
   is described as   
A Lens That Has Adjustable Distance Settings.
Ambient Light
   is described as   
The Available Light Completely Surrounding a Subject.
Light already existing in an indoor or outdoor setting that is not caused by any illumination supplied by the photographer.
Angle Of View
   is described as   
The Area of a Scene That a Lens Sees
Angle of view is determined by the focal length of the lens. A wide-angle lens (short-focal-length) includes more of the scene-a wider angle of view-than a normal (normal-focal-length) or telephoto (long-focal-length) lens.
Aperture
   is described as   
The Lens Opening
The opening in a camera lens through which light passes to expose the film. The size of aperture is either fixed or adjustable. Aperture size is usually calibrated in f-numbers-the larger the number, the smaller the lens opening.
Aperture Priority
   is described as   
An Exposure Mode That Lets You Set the Size of the Lens Opening.
Aspect Ratio
   is described as   
The Ratio of Width to Height in Photographic Prints.
Autofocus (AF)
   is described as   
The Camera Lens Automatically Focuses the Image
Or a part of the image.
Automatic Camera
   is described as   
A Camera That Automatically Adjusts the Lens Opening & Shutter Speed
For proper exposure.
Background
   is described as   
The Part of the Scene the Appears Behind the Principal Subject of the Picture.
Backlighting
   is described as   
Light Coming from Behind the Subject
Toward the camera lens, so that the subject stands out vividly against the background. Sometimes produces a silhouette effect.
Back-Printing
   is described as   
Information Printed on the Back of a Picture
By the photofinisher.
Balance
   is described as   
Making Pictures Look Harmonious
Placement of colors, light and dark masses, or large and small objects in a picture to create harmony and equilibrium.
B (Bulb) Setting
   is described as   
A Shutter-speed Setting That Allows for Time Exposures
On an adjustable camera
Bellows
   is described as   
The Folding Portion in Some Cameras That Connects the Lens to the Camera Body.
Accordion
Between-The-Lens Shutter
   is described as   
A Shutter Whose Blades Operate Between Two Elements of the Lens.
Blowup
   is described as   
An Enlargement.
Bounce Lighting
   is described as   
Flash or Tungsten Light Bounced off a Reflector.
Bracketing
   is described as   
Taking Additional Pictures of the Subject Through a Range of Exposures
When unsure of the correct exposure.
Burning-In
   is described as   
Giving Additional Exposure to Part of the Image.
Camera Angles
   is described as   
Various Positions of the Camera With Respect to the Subject.
(high, medium, or low; and left, right, or straight on) with respect to the subject, each giving a different viewpoint or effect.
Candid Pictures
   is described as   
Unposed Pictures of People.
Cartridge
   is described as   
A Light-tight, Factory-loaded Film Container
Can be placed in and removed from the camera in daylight.
Clearing Agent
   is described as   
Chemical That Neutralizes Hypo in Film or Paper.
Hpypo is the fixing bath of sodium thiosulfate, other chemicals, and water
Close-Up Lens
   is described as   
A Lens Attachment for Taking Exposures at a Close Distance.
Placed in front of a camera lens
Close-Up
   is described as   
A Picture Taken With the Subject Close to the Camera.
Coated Lens
   is described as   
A Lens Covered With a Very Thin Layer of Transparent Material
Reduces the amount of light reflected by the surface of the lens.
Color Balance
   is described as   
How a Color Film Reproduces the Colors of a Scene.
Color films are made to be exposed by light of a certain color quality such as daylight or tungsten. Color balance also refers to the reproduction of colors in color prints, which can be altered during the printing process.
Color Noise
   is described as   
A Measure of How Accurately the Color Signals Are Reproduced.
Known as chrominance signal-to-noise ratio. Poor chroma signal-to-noise ratios are evidenced in color fringing on edges of objects and what appears to be thousands of moving dots in large areas of highly saturated colors (especially red).
Composition
   is described as   
The Arrangement of the Elements in a Scene.
Condenser Enlarger
   is described as   
An Enlarger With a Sharp, Undiffused Light
Scratches and blemishes in the negative are emphasized.
Contact Printer
   is described as   
A Device Used for Contact-printing.
A contact printer consists of a light tight box with an internal light source and a printing frame to position the negative against the photographic paper in front of the light.
Contact Print
   is described as   
A Print Made by Exposing Photographic Paper While It is Held Tightly Against the Negative.
Images in the print will be the same size as those in the negative.
Contrast
   is described as   
The Range of Difference in the Light in an Image
In black-and-white photography, high contrast conveys a sense of hardness and is characteristic of strength and power. Low contrast conveys a sense of softness and is characteristic of gentleness and mildness.
Cropping
   is described as   
Using Only Part of the Image.
Cropping is usually for a more pleasing composition.
Darkroom
   is described as   
A Lighttight Area Used for Processing Light Sensitive Photographic Materials.
Dedicated Flash
   is described as   
A Fully Automatic Flash That Works Only With Specific Cameras.
Definition
   is described as   
The Clarity of Detail in a Photograph.
Densitometer
   is described as   
An Instrument Used for Measuring the Optical Density of an Area in a Negative or Print.
Density
   is described as   
The Degree of Blackness of an Area in a Negative or Print
Determines the amount of light that will pass through it or reflect from it. Sometimes referred to as contrast.
Depth of Field
   is described as   
The Distance Between the Nearest & Farthest Objects That Appear in Focus in a Photo
Depth of field depends on the lens opening, the focal length of the lens, and the distance from the lens to the subject
Depth of Focus
   is described as   
The Distance Film Can Be Positioned Either Side of the Focus Point & Still Give Acceptably Sharp Results
Developer
   is described as   
A Solution Used to Turn the Latent Image Into a Visible Image on Exposed Films
Or on photographic papers.
Developing Tank
   is described as   
A Lighttight Container Used for Processing Film.
Diaphragm
   is described as   
Lens Opening.
Diffuse Lighting
   is described as   
Lighting That is Low or Moderate in Contrast.
Diffusing
   is described as   
Softening Detail in a Print.
Diffusion-Condenser Enlarger
   is described as   
An Enlarger That Combines Diffuse Light With a Condenser System.
Diffusion Enlarger
   is described as   
An Enlarger That Scatters Light Before It Strikes the Negative.
Dodging
   is described as   
Holding Back the Image-forming Light from a Part of the Image
Double Exposure
   is described as   
Two Photographic Exposures Merged Into One.
DX Data Exchange
   is described as   
Electrical Coding System Employed in 35 Mm Film Cameras
Easel
   is described as   
A Device to Hold Photographic Paper Flat During Exposure.
Emulsion
   is described as   
Micro-thin Layers of Gelatin on Film in Which Light-sensitive Ingredients Are Suspended.
Emulsion is triggered by light to create a chemical reaction resulting in a photographic image.
Emulsion Side
   is described as   
The Side of the Film Coated With Emulsion.
In contact printing and enlarging, the emulsion side of the film-dull side-should face the emulsion side of the photo paper-shiny side.
Enlargement
   is described as   
A Print That is Larger Than the Negative or Slide; Blowup.
Enlarger
   is described as   
A Light Source, a Negative Holder and a Lens Used to Project a Negative Image.
Existing Light
   is described as   
Available Light.
Strictly speaking, existing light covers all natural lighting from moonlight to sunshine. For photographic purposes, existing light is the light that is already on the scene or project and includes room lamps, fluorescent lamps, spotlights, neon signs, candles, daylight through windows, outdoor scenes at twilight or in moonlight, and scenes artificially illuminated after dark.
Exposure Latitude
   is described as   
The Range of Camera Exposures That Will Produce Acceptable Pictures from a Specific Film.
Exposure Meter
   is described as   
An Instrument With a Light-sensitive Cell That Measures the Light Reflected from a Subject.
Used as an aid for selecting the exposure setting. The same as a light meter.
Exposure
   is described as   
The Quantity of Light Allowed to Act on a Photographic Material
Fill-In Light
   is described as   
Additional Light from a Lamp, Flash, or Reflector.
Used to soften or fill in shadows or dark picture areas caused by the brighter main light. Called fill-in flash when electronic flash is used.
Film
   is described as   
A Photographic Emulsion Coated on a Flexible, Transparent Base That Records Images or Scenes.
Film Speed
   is described as   
The Sensitivity of a Given Film to Light
Indicated by a number such as ISO 200. The higher the number, the more sensitive or faster the film. Note: ISO stands for International Standards Organization.
Filter
   is described as   
A Colored Piece of Glass or Other Transparent Material Used over a Lens.
Reasons to use a filter might be to emphasize, eliminate, or change the color or density of the entire scene or certain areas within a scene.
Finder
   is described as   
A Viewing Device on a Camera to Show the Subject Area That Will Be Recorded on the Film.
Also known as viewfinder and projected frame.
Fixed-Focus Lens
   is described as   
A Non-adjustable Camera Lens, Set for a Fixed Subject Distance.
A lens that has been focused in a fixed position by the manufacturer. The user does not have to adjust the focus of this lens.
Fixing Bath
   is described as   
A Solution That Removes Any Light-sensitive Silver-halide Crystals Not Acted Upon by Light or Developer.
The result is a black-and-white negative or print unalterable by further action of light. Also referred to as hypo.
Flash
   is described as   
A Brief, Intense Burst of Light
Usually used where the lighting on the scene is inadequate for picture-taking.
Flat Lighting
   is described as   
Lighting That Produces Very Little Contrast.
Flat
   is described as   
A Photograph or Negative That is Too Low in Contrast.
The range in density in a negative or print is too short.
F-Number
   is described as   
A Number That Indicates the Size of the Lens Opening on an Adjustable Camera.
The common f-numbers are f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, and f/22. The larger the f-number, the smaller the lens opening. In this series. Also called f-stops, they work in conjunction with shutter speeds to indicate exposure settings.
Focal Length
   is described as   
The Distance Between the Film and the Optical Center of the Lens when the Lens is Focused on Infinity.
The focal length of the lens on most adjustable cameras is marked in millimeters on the lens mount.
Focal-Plane Shutter
   is described as   
A Curtain Containing a Slit That Moves in Front of the Film or Sensor That Allows Light Through.
Focus
   is described as   
Adjustment of the Distance Setting on a Lens to Define the Subject Sharply.
Focus Range
   is described as   
The Range Within Which a Camera is Able to Focus on the Selected Picture Subject
Fogging
   is described as   
Darkening or Discoloring of a Negative or Print or Lightening or Discoloring of a Slide
Fogging can be caused by: exposure to nonimage-forming light to which the photographic material is sensitive or too much handling in air during development or, over-development, outdated film or paper, or storage of film or paper in a hot, humid place.
Foreground
   is described as   
The Area Between the Camera and the Principal Subject.
Frame
   is described as   
One Individual Picture on a Roll of Film
Also, tree branches, arches, etc., that frames a subject in an image.
Frontlighting
   is described as   
Light Shining on the Side of the Subject Facing the Camera.
Graininess
   is described as   
The Sand-like or Granular Appearance of a Negative, Print, or Slide.
Graininess becomes more pronounced with faster film and the degree of enlargement.
High Contrast
   is described as   
A Wide Range of Density in a Print or Negative.
Highlights
   is described as   
The Brightest Areas of a Subject and the Corresponding Areas in a Negative, a Print, or a Slide.
Hot Shoe
   is described as   
The Fitting on a Camera That Holds a Small Portable Flash.
It has an electrical contact that aligns with the contact on the flash unit's "foot" and fires the flash when you press the shutter release. This direct flash-to-camera contact eliminates the need for a PC cord.
Hyperfocal Distance
   is described as   
Distance of the Nearest Object in a Scene That is Acceptably Sharp when the Lens is Focused on Infinity.
Hypo
   is described as   
The Name for a Fixing Bath Made from Sodium Thiosulfate, Other Chemicals, and Water
Often used as a synonym for fixing bath.
ISO Speed
   is described as   
The Emulsion Speed (sensitivity) of the Film.
Determined by the standards of the International Standards Organization. In these standards, both arithmetic (ASA) and logarithmic (DIN) speed values are expressed in a single ISO term. For example, a film with a speed of ISO 100/21° would have a speed of ASA 100 or 21 DIN.
Latent Image
   is described as   
The Invisible Image Left by the Action of Light on Photographic Film or Paper
The light changes the photosensitive salts to varying degrees depending on the amount of light striking them. When processed, this latent image will become a visible image either in reversed tones (as in a negative) or in positive tones (as in a color slide).
LCD Panel
   is described as   
Liquid Crystal Display on Cameras
Shows such information as remaining exposures, flash status and aspect ratio selected.
Lens
   is described as   
One or More Pieces of Optical Glass or Similar Material That Collect & Focus Rays of Light to Form a Sharp Image
on the film, paper, or projection screen.
Lens Shade
   is described as   
A Collar or Hood at the Front of a Lens That Keeps Unwanted Light from Striking the Lens.
May be attached or detachable, and should be sized to the particular lens to avoid vignetting.
Lens-Shutter Camera
   is described as   
A Camera With the Shutter Built Into the Lens
The viewfinder and picture-taking lens are separate.
Lens Speed
   is described as   
The Largest Lens Opening (smallest F-number) at Which a Lens Can Be Set
A fast lens transmits more light and has a larger opening than a slow lens.
Macro Lens
   is described as   
A Lens That Provides Continuous Focusing from Infinity to Extreme Close-ups
Often to a reproduction ratio of 1:2 (half life-size) or 1:1 (life-size).
Magazine
   is described as   
A Light-tight Container That Holds 135mm Film.
Mini-lab
   is described as   
Photofinishing Operation That Operates on a Retail Level, Serving Consumers Directly and Processing Film On-site.
Motor Drive
   is described as   
A Mechanism for Advancing the Film to the Next Frame. and Recocking the Shutter
Popular for action-sequence photography and for recording images by remote control.
Negative
   is described as   
Developed Film That Contains a Reversed Image of the Original Scene.
Negative Holder
   is described as   
A Device Designed to Position a Negative in an Enlarger.
Normal Lens
   is described as   
A Lens That Makes the Image in a Photograph Appear in Perspective Similar to That of the Original Scene
A normal lens has a shorter focal length and a wider field of view than a telephoto lens, and a longer focal length and narrower field of view than a wide-angle lens.
Off-The-Film Metering
   is described as   
A Method to Determine Exposure by Reading Light Reflected from the Film During Picture-taking.
Orthochromatic
   is described as   
Denotes Film Sensitive to Blue and Green Light.
Overexposure
   is described as   
A Condition in Which Too Much Light Reaches the Film,
This produces a dense negative or a very light print or slide.
Panchromatic
   is described as   
Films That Record All Colors in Tones of About the Same Relative Brightness As the Human Eye Sees.
Panning
   is described as   
Moving the Camera While Taking an Photograph
If panning while focused on a moving subject, it remains sharp while the background shows motion blur
Panorama
   is described as   
A Broad View, Usually Scenic
Parallax
   is described as   
The Difference Between What the Viewfinder Sees and What the Camera Records.
This is caused by the separation between the viewfinder and the picture-taking lens. There is no parallax with single-lens-reflex cameras because when you look through the viewfinder, you are viewing the subject through the picture-taking lens.
Perforations
   is described as   
Regularly and Accurately Spaced Holes Punched Throughout the Length of 35 Mm Film
Polarizing Screen (Filter)
   is described as   
A Filter That Transmits Light Traveling in One Plane While Absorbing Light Traveling in Other Planes.
When placed on a camera lens or on light sources, it can eliminate undesirable reflections from a subject such as water, glass, or other objects with shiny surfaces. This filter also darkens blue sky.
Positive
   is described as   
An Image With the Same Tonal Relationships As Those in the Original Scenes.
The opposite of a negative. For example, a finished print or a slide.
Printing Frame
   is described as   
A Device Used for Contact Printing That Holds a Negative Against the Photographic Paper.
Print
   is described as   
A Positive Picture, Usually on Paper.
Processing
   is described as   
Developing, Fixing, & Washing Exposed Photographic Film or Paper to Produce an Image
Either a negative image or a positive image.
Program Exposure
   is described as   
An Exposure Mode That Automatically Sets the Aperture & the Shutter Speed
For proper exposure. On an automatic or autofocus camera
Push Processing
   is described as   
Increasing the Development Time of a Film to Increase Its Effective Speed
Rangefinder
   is described as   
A Device That Aids Focusing
Reflector
   is described as   
A Device Used to Reflect Light Onto a Subject.
Reticulation
   is described as   
Cracking or Distorting of the Emulsion During Processing.
Usually caused by wide temperature or chemical-activity differences between the solutions.
Retouching
   is described as   
Altering a Print or Negative After Development.
Safelight
   is described as   
An Enclosed Darkroom Lamp With a Filter to Screen out Light Rays to Which Film & Paper Are Sensitive
Saturation
   is described as   
The Percentage of Hue in a Color
An attribute of perceived color. Saturated colors are called vivid, strong, or deep. Desaturated colors are called dull, weak, or washed out.
Selective Focus
   is described as   
Choosing a Lens Opening That Produces a Shallow Depth of Field.
Usually this is used to isolate a subject by causing most other elements in the scene to be blurred.
Shutter
   is described as   
A Movable Device That Allows Light to Reach the Film.
A set of blades, a curtain or a plate
Shutter Priority
   is described as   
An Exposure Mode That Lets You Select the Desired Shutter Speed
When using shutter priority the aperture auto-adjusts for the desired exposure.
Sidelighting
   is described as   
Light Striking the Subject from the Side Relative to the Camera
Side lighting can produce shadows and highlights to create mood in the image.
Simple Camera
   is described as   
A Camera That Has Few or No Adjustments.
Usually, simple cameras have only one size of lens opening and one or two shutter speeds and do not require focusing by the picture-taker.
Single-Lens-Reflex (SLR) Camera
   is described as   
A Camera in Which You View the Scene Through the Same Lens That Takes the Picture.
Slide
   is described as   
A Photographic Transparency (positive) Mounted for Projection.
Soft Focus
   is described as   
Focus Produced by Use of a Special Lens That Creates Soft Outlines.
Soft Lighting
   is described as   
Lighting That is Low or Moderate in Contrast.
Spotting
   is described as   
Retouching a Processed Print to Eliminate Spots Left by Dust or Scratches on the Negative.
Stain
   is described as   
Discolored Areas on Film or Paper.
Usually caused by contaminated developing solutions or by insufficient fixing, washing, or agitation.
Stop Bath
   is described as   
An Acid Rinse when Developing Black-and-white Film or Paper
It stops development and makes the hypo (fixing bath) last longer. Usually a weak solution of acetic acid - used as a second step
Stopping Down
   is described as   
Changing the Lens Aperture to a Smaller Opening
For example, from f/8 to f/11.
Telephoto Lens
   is described as   
A Lens That Makes a Subject Appear Larger on Film Than Does a Normal Lens
At the same camera-to-subject distance. A telephoto lens has a longer focal length and narrower field of view than a normal lens.
Thin Negative
   is described as   
A Negative That is Underexposed or Underdeveloped (or Both)
A thin negative appears less dense than a normal negative.
Through-The-Lens Focusing
   is described as   
Viewing a Scene to Be Photographed Through the Same Lens That Admits Light to the Film.
Through-the-lens viewing, as in a single-lens-reflex (SLR) camera, while focusing and composing a picture, eliminates parallax.
Through-The-Lens Metering
   is described as   
Meter That Determines Exposure for the Scene by Reading Light That Passes Through the Lens
Built into the camera
Time Exposure
   is described as   
A Comparatively Long Exposure Made in Seconds or Minutes.
Tint
   is described as   
Shades of White in a Finished Print, Controlled by the Color of the Paper
Varying from white to buff.
Tone
   is described as   
The Degree of Lightness or Darkness in Any Given Area of a Print
Also referred to as value. Cold tones (bluish) and warm tones (reddish) refer to the color of the image in both black-and-white and color photographs.
Toning
   is described as   
Intensifying or Changing the Tone of a Photographic Print After Processing.
Solutions called toners are used to produce various shades of colors.
Transparency
   is described as   
A Positive Photographic Image on Film.
Viewed or projected by transmitted light (light shining through film).
Tripod
   is described as   
A Three-legged Supporting Stand Used to Hold a Camera Steady
Especially useful when using slow shutter speeds and/or telephoto lenses.
Tungsten Light
   is described as   
Light from Non-fluorescent Room Lamps & Ceiling Fixtures.
Underexposure
   is described as   
A Condition in Which Too Little Light Reaches the Film.
Producing a thin negative, a dark slide, or a muddy-looking print.
Unipod
   is described as   
A One-legged Support Used to Hold the Camera Steady.
Variable-Contrast Paper
   is described as   
Photographic Paper That Provides Different Grades of Contrast when Exposed Through Special Filters.
Vignetting
   is described as   
A Fall-off in Brightness at the Edges of an Image, Slide, or Print.
Can be caused by poor lens design, using a lens hood not matched to the lens, or attaching too many filters to the front of the lens.
Wide-Angle Lens
   is described as   
A Lens That Has a Shorter Focal Length and a Wider Field of View Than a Normal Lens.
Includes more subject area
Zoom Lens
   is described as   
A Lens in Which You Adjust the Focal Length over a Wide Range.
In effect, this gives you lenses of many focal lengths.


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