20 terms commonly used in photography

Photography is a great tool to capture memories, discover beauty and express emotions. Behind the lens is a magical world to capture the meaning of life and the value of memories. However, the terms that appear when you step into this magical world can be confusing at first. Luckily, in this article, we cover the 20 most common photography-related terms. Whether you are a budding photographer or someone with experience in the field, these terms will guide you on your photography journey. Let’s dive into the world of photography together and explore these terms!

What is Photography?

Photography is the process of capturing, creating and expressing images using light. Photography can be used for many purposes such as capturing memories, discovering beauty, telling a story, conveying emotions or highlighting the features of a subject. Photography is an art that combines technical and artistic skills.

20 terms used in photography

Terms used in photography

Now you know more about photography terms and you can take more conscious pictures. Grab your camera, capture the beauty of the world and tell your own stories. These terms will guide and inspire you every step of the way with photography. Let’s start!


ISO refers to a camera’s sensitivity to light. Low ISO values ​​(usually 100 or 200) indicate that it is less sensitive to light, while high ISO values ​​(1600 or more, for example) allow you to capture more light. Using the ISO setting correctly will help you get the correct exposure for the lighting conditions when shooting.

2. Diaphragm

Aperture is an opening or hole in a camera’s lens. This hole allows light to enter the lens and reach the image sensor. Aperture is expressed by a scale called f-stop. Low f-stops (e.g. f/1.8) have a wide aperture, while high f-stops (e.g. f/16) have a small aperture.

3. Snapshot

Shutter speed indicates how long a camera’s shutter remains open. Shutter speed allows you to control the effects of the photo, such as freezing motion or emphasizing motion blur. A fast shutter speed (e.g. 1/1000) freezes motion, while a slow shutter speed (e.g. 1/30) can cause motion blur. Correctly setting the shutter speed will give you the desired effect when shooting.

4. Focus

Focus indicates the focus point of a photo. Focusing is a technique used to make your subject brighter. The focus can be adjusted with the camera lens and is usually placed on the subject where you want to emphasize the details at the focus point.

5. Exposure

Exposure refers to the time and amount of light exposure of a photo. Correct exposure ensures that you get the right light levels and details in the photo. Exposure is controlled by a combination of factors such as ISO, aperture, and shutter speed.

Terms used in photography

6. White Balance

White balance is an adjustment that allows the camera to accurately capture colors. Different light sources can have different color temperatures and white balance is used to balance these color temperatures. For example, the color temperature of fluorescent lights used indoors is different from that of natural sunlight. By setting the white balance correctly, the colors of your photos look natural and true to nature.

7. Digital noise

Digital noise is unwanted pixel distortion that occurs when a photo is taken in low light or at high ISO settings. Digital noise can reduce the clarity and detail of the photo. Using low ISO settings and good lighting conditions can help you minimize digital noise.

8. RAW

RAW refers to the raw, unprocessed data of a photo. The RAW format provides the cameras with the highest quality photographic data containing all recorded information. RAW files provide more editing flexibility later in post-production. Color corrections, exposure adjustments, and other edits to RAW files give you more creative control and the best results.

Terms used in photography


HDR (High Dynamic Range) is a technique used to achieve a wide tonal range in a photo. HDR photo is obtained by combining multiple photos with different exposure settings. This balances details in dark and light areas and brings out more detail in the photo.

10. Focal length

The focal length refers to the distance from the focal point of the camera lens to the lens. A longer focal length makes objects appear closer and larger, while a shorter focal length covers a wider area and makes objects appear smaller. The focal length is expressed in mm of the lens.

11. Exposure Compensation

Exposure compensation is a technique used to adjust the overall exposure level of a photo. This is to adjust the exposure value to get a darker or brighter image than the camera’s automatic exposure metering. Exposure compensation helps the photographer achieve the desired visual effect.

12. Flash

Flash is a device used to provide extra light in low light conditions. The built-in flash or external flashes can be used for photography. Using the flash can reduce shadows, make objects clearer or create creative lighting effects.

13. Exposure triangle

The exposure triangle expresses the relationship between ISO, aperture and shutter speed. These three parameters must be adjusted in a balanced way to ensure the correct exposure of a photo. Ideal exposure is achieved at the point where these three parameters are in balance. Understanding and using the interactions between ISO, aperture and shutter speed helps the photographer achieve the desired visual results.

Terms used in photography

14. Sharpness

Sharpness refers to the clarity of details in a photo. Good sharpness ensures that the details of the photo are clearly visible. Factors that affect sharpness include the quality of the lens, the focus accuracy, and the editing process. Sharpness is a factor that significantly affects the quality of the photo.

15. Shutter

It is the trigger mechanism used to take a picture. When the shutter button is pressed, the camera shutter opens and the picture is taken.

16. Filter

Transparent materials used in photography that change color or light. Different filters can affect aspects of the photo, such as white balance adjustments, color tones, and contrast.

17. Lenses

It is the optical system in a camera that collects the light, focuses it and transfers the image to the film or sensor. Lenses with different focal lengths allow you to achieve different perspectives and depths of field.

Terms used in photography

18. Exposure meter

It is a device used to measure light. The exposure meter determines shutter speed and aperture and recommends the most appropriate exposure settings.

19. Viewfinder

It is an optical or electronic viewing window used when taking pictures. The viewfinder allows the photographer to view the shooting area, focus, and check composition.

20. Tripod

It is a tripod used to fix the camera. The tripod helps to take clear and stable photos by minimizing shake and vibration.

What are the most important terms in photography?

The most important terms in photography are ISO, aperture, shutter speed, focus, exposure, white balance, digital noise, RAW, HDR, bokeh, focal length, exposure compensation, flash, exposure triangle, and sharpness.

What effects does aperture create in photography?

Aperture determines the depth of field and amount of light in a photo. A low aperture (large f-stop value) blurs the background and brings out the subject in focus. A large aperture (small f-stop) keeps a larger area clear.

What effects does shutter speed control in photography?

Shutter speed controls effects such as freezing motion or capturing motion blur in a photo. A fast shutter speed freezes motion, while a slow shutter speed emphasizes motion blur.

What are the advantages of the RAW format?

The RAW format contains raw data from the camera’s sensor. This format offers more editing flexibility later in the post-production process. Making color corrections, exposure adjustments, and other edits to RAW files gives you more creative control.

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