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Part 2. Common Photography Terms & Meanings | G-L

The second part of our series on common photography terms and meanings continues below.


  • Greyscale – Simply means black & white


  • HDR – High Dynamic Range. In photography this means being able to capture a high level of contrast from very bright highlights that still have details (instead of being pure white) to very deep shadows that still have detail (instead of being pure black)

  • Histogram – A chart seen on the playback screen of your camera showing the distribution of light in an image. The graph from left to right = black to white areas of the image. E.g. If the graph on the extreme right is peaking (i.e. a solid bar from bottom to top) then some part of your image is pure white (otherwise known as blown)

  • Hyperfocal Distance – This is the point at which you must focus if you wish to achieve the maximum depth of field possible within the image


  • ISO – In old film cameras this was the films sensitivity to light. You would use a high ISO film in darker situations to allow correct exposure. In digital cameras you can think of it the same way however be aware that high ISO leaves images appearing grainy


  • JPEG – Joint Photographic Experts Group. This is a commonly used compressed standard image file format


  • Kelvin – A measure of colour temperature. Daylight is around 5500k and tungsten is around 3200k. The lower the number the warmer the image, the higher the number the cooler the image


  • Leading Lines – Lines used in composition to draw the viewer’s eye. E.g., a road leading to the horizon, a railing leading to a perched bird etc.

  • Lens flare – Circular rings that appear in a photo caused by sunlight directly hitting the front of the lens. Often a lens hood is used to reduce this unwanted affect

  • Light Meter – A device used to measure the amount of light in a scene. Most modern cameras have one built in

  • Long Exposure – The practice of keeping the shutter open for longer periods of time. Often the camera is placed on a tripod to avoid unwanted movement

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