Glossary of Photography Terms

What is the aperture of a lens? What is a crop body camera? What is an f-stop or f-number?

What is the bulb setting on your camera? What is a teleconverter? What is shutter speed? What is the ISO?

When it comes to buying a camera and lenses, knowing a little about all of these photography terms will help you make the right choices of camera and lenses.

Glossary of Photography Terms is a brief overview of some of the most important photography terms. Hopefully this glossary will help you in choosing the right camera and lenses for your photography experience.

Digital Photography Glossary


Aperture is the lens opening through which light passes to creat an exposure. Aperture size is calibrated in f-numbers or f-stop.

Glossary of Photography Terms

Aperture Priority

Aperture priority is an exposure mode on an automatic camera. When you select the aperture priority, the camera automatically sets the right shutter speed for the best exposure.

Bulb Setting

Bulb setting is the shutter-speed setting for long exposures. When you select bulb setting, the shutter will stay open while the shutter release button is depressed.

Color Balance or White Balance

Color balance refers to the amounts of red, green and blue colors in an image. Color balance helps reproduce the colors of a scene correctly.


Digital Photography Glossary

Composition is the arrangement of the elements in the photography - the subject, the foreground and background and any other elements in the scene.

Depth of Field

Depth of field refers the area of sharpness in front of and behind the subject on which the lens is focused. Shallow depth of field blurs the foreground and background; whereas, large depth of field maintains sharpness in the entire image.


Exposure refers the quantity of light allowed into the camera when taking a photograph.

Aperture + Shutter-speed + ISO = Exposure

F/Number or F/Stop

An f-number is a fraction which represents the diameter of the aperture.

Fast Lens

Digital Photography Glossary

A fast lens ia a lens with a large aperture or a low f-number.


A filter is a piece of glass that is placed over the lens to manipulate the color, sharpness and density of the photograph.

Focal Length

The focal length is the distance between the sensor and the optical center of the lens when the lens is fulled extended - for example a 50mm lens or a 75 - 300mm lens.

ISO Speed

The ISO speed refers the the sensitivity of the sensor to the light. The higher the ISO the greater the sensitivity. However, the higher the sensitivity, the grainier the image becomes.


The shutter is the opening in the camera lens that controls the length of time that the light reaches the sensor.

Shutter Priority

Shutter priority is an exposure mode on an automatic camera where you select the shutter speed and the camera automatically sets the right aperture for the best exposure.



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