Can knowing a few of the most common digital photography terms make you look better in pictures? It’s time to find out.
Aperture – the size of the opening in the camera’s lens, which can be adjusted by the photographer to change the amount of light that hits the camera’s image sensor. This is the kind of thing that only photographers really “get” – the rest of us can just nod sagely.
Aspect ratio – the ratio of an image’s width to its height. Examples include 1:1, 5:4, 16:9, and 3:1.
Crop – when you look fabulous in a shot that also contains an ex or happens to be in a less-than-picturesque location (looking at you, car selfies), you’ll be glad you know that to crop is to remove a portion of the captured image from the final photo. Digital images are easily cropped using image editing software.
Depth of field – the range of distances that an image captures as “in focus” or “sharp.” Photographers can manipulate depth of field in several ways to create a unique final photo.
Digital photography – because photos used to be captured on actual film (and developed in a darkroom – crazy, right?), digital photography refers to a form of photography that captures images as digital files rather than recording them on film. These days, when we’re talking about photos, we generally mean digital. The most common digital picture file is JPEG (see below).
JPEG – one of several digital file format types, JPEG is the most popular file type for digital photos. And here’s a fun fact destined to make you a Trivia Night hero: JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. The file is compressed to make it easier to store – how much compression occurs is up to the photographer.
Pixel – the smallest unit of a digital image, pixels are the tiny dots that make up digital images. They’re also a type of fairy (because everything you read on the Internet is true. Right?).
Resolution – the number of pixels a digital image contains. High-resolution images have a fine level of detail, whereas low-resolution images have less detail.
Retouch – to remove imperfections from a digital image – like magic! – using postprocessing software. Also known as your best friend.
Soft focus – to use a lens, filter, or postprocessing technique to create a slight out-of-focus effect that “softens” the image. Soft focus can create a beautiful effect, but it is best wielded by an expert (friends don’t let friends take Glamour Shots).
Are there digital photography terms you’d like to understand that we didn’t include here? Let us know in the comments!