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Glossary search for "photography"

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This type of photography focuses not so much on planning and careful setup, instead it concentrates on showing spontaneity: a candid photographer prefers not to plan his pictures and captures people without having them pose. He likes to be unobtrusive in order to achieve this. This, of course, contrasts with other types of photography where the photographer carefully stages or composes his images, like in portrait, landscape or still life photography. A candid photographer captures moments in time from life as it really is. Also see street photography, documentary photography.
Taking (candid) photos of people and/or animals in public places - think of streets, shops, stations, parks, trains, beaches, festivals, conventions, etc. The aim of this genre is to capture everyday moments and people's interactions with each other and their environment. Also see documentary photography.
A documentary photographer takes series of photos of a particular subject, generally involving people. His aim is to tell the story of the subject, or document/record events, through these photographs. He tries to capture truthful and objective (often candid) images of the chosen subject, although these images unavoidably illustrate the photographer's individual take on the subject. Often the photographs are meant to be published or exhibited. And some documentary photographers receive commissions from institutions or companies to document their activities. Also see street photography
A charge-coupled device or image sensor. It consists of an integrated circuit with an array of linked ("coupled") capacitors which are sensitive to light. In digital photography, the CCD is used to capture images, which in analogue photography would be captured on film. CCD technology is not only used in digital photography, but also in astronomy and other branches of science.
Taking photos that tell a news story. Photo journalism is closely related to documentary photography and street photography, but distinguishes itself from those types of photography by being dependent on timeliness (the shots a photo journalists takes are to illustrate news stories and therefore they have to be available for publication quickly) and objectivity (the scenes depicted in the images should be a correct representation of the news events they illustrate). A photo journalist is a photographer who often has to take instant decisions, who always carries photographic equipment, and who regularly has to endure discomforts and sometimes even dangers.
Used to describe the stereo photography method of viewing images using deep red and green spectacles. The two pictures have their red and green content displaced which gives the three-dimensional appearance when viewed through the special eyepieces.
An auto-exposure mode where you select the required lens aperture and the camera sets the necessary shutter speed, to give the correct exposure based on the auto meter reading. This mode is ideal for landscape and still-life photography where maximum depth-of-field is required. It's either indicated on the camera as AP (aperture priority) or AV (aperture value).
Extreme wide-angle lens that gives 180 degrees coverage and is uncorrected for curvilinear distortion so you produce a heavily distorted photograph. If the photo turns out to be rectangular or circular, and how distorted it looks, depends on the lens and the camera. There are basically two kinds of fish-eye lenses for photography: 1. Lenses that produce a circular image, typically 8 or 10mm lenses, used on 35mm cameras or full-frame digital cameras. They produce a circular image with dark corners (due to most photos being rectangular). A similar lens is available for digital cameras with a so-called "cropped sensor". To achieve the same circular effect, it's a 4.5mm lens. 2. Lenses that produce a rectangular image. These lenses enlarge the image to cover the whole rectangular frame of a photograph. They are typically 15 or 16mm lenses. On a 35mm or digital full-frame camera they produce rectangular but still heavily distorted images without dark corners. The same lenses on a digital camera with a cropped sensor will still have a distorting effect, but less so. Fish-eye lenses used to be prime lenses only, but one company has gone so far as to produce a 10-17mm fish-eye zoom lens. This lens still produces distorted, curvy images, but zooming in lessens the distortion.
A camera mode that allows two or more pictures to be taken on the same part of the film. Digital photography allows this to be achieved much easier and far more acuratley so it's less important to have nowadays.
A general description of black & white photography, but can also describe a single colour image.
Extremely close up photography using bellows or extension tubes to obtain a magnification larger than lifesize.
The time it takes for an electronic flash to fully recharge. Automatic thyristor flashguns have special circuits that store unused flash ready for the next shot so recycling speeds up. This is essential for fashion and sports photography, but less so for still life. The recycling time of more powerful or manual units is usually longer.
A flashgun that has a circular electronic tube that is positioned around the camera lens or on the filter thread. It’s used in macro photography to produce an even distribution of light while fashion and still-life photographers create interesting halo shadows around the subject.
A control found mostly on large format cameras that allows the lens to be raised parallel to the film plane. Its used in architectural photography to ensure the verticals of buildings stay straight when shooting with wide angles from low viewpoints.
A camera designed for achitectural photography that has a wide angle lens mounted on a panel that moves up, down or sideways to correct perspective.
In digital photography this is the amount of correct picture information to unwanted electrical interference. The S/N ratio should always be high so that good quality noise free pictures are produced.
A conical tube that fits over a studio light that gives you more control over the light beam and forms a small circular patch on the subject. Often used as a hair light on portrait photography.
Used to describe a method of studio or outdoor photography where objects are pre-arranged to be photographed.
Photographs taken and submitted to a picture library. The library then sells the reproduction rights and takes a percentage of the fees. A good stock photographer regularly supplies images to the library and can earn a good income from picture sales throughout the year.
An extremely fast recycling lamp or flash used for scientific and creative photography.
A lossless compression file format thats ideal for digital photography.
A graph used in digital photography that displays tonal range. A straight line at 45 degrees shows that the contrast is unchanged. To modify contrast you can usually click anywhere on the line and pull it in any direction. You can usually also select one of the colour channels and modify contrast on just that channel which will affect the colour balance.
Many cameras now have a built-in flash that is used to take pictures inside when the light levels are low. The camera detects when flash is needed and automatically fires it, there are usually several other modes to increase the flash's versatility. Red eye reduction fires a pre-flash to prevent large red eye pupils appearing. 'Off' turns an automatic flash off so that the camera can be used with a long shutter speed for night photography. 'On' forces the flash to fire as a fill-in for daylight pictures that have harsh shadows or to illuminate a close subject in a night scene. Slow sync fires flash and records the ambient exposure, which is great for creating image trails and creative subject movement.
This is how the camera adjusts the shutter speed and aperture to ensure the right amount of light reaches the film or CCD. Early cameras only had a manual mode (M) where the user had to select the aperture and shutter speed manually to ensure the correct exposure. Over the years cameras have become more sophisticated and now offer several automated modes including Program (P) - a fully automatic exposure mode that sets the aperture and shutter speed; Aperture priority mode (AP) where the user selects the aperture and the camera sets the necessary shutter speed; and shutter priority (SP, or Tv on some cameras) where the user selects the shutter speed and the camera sets the necessary aperture. Auto bracketing (AB) takes a pre-selected number of photographs, one at the suggested exposure and one to either side, so you can be sure of one accurate result. There are also several subject-based program modes that we haven't listed here that tailor the camera for particular subjects such as sports (action), landscapes, portraits, or flowers (close-ups). Some digital cameras have black & white and sepia modes. Buying advice A full auto program mode is ideal for point-and-shoot photography, but it's also useful to have some control over the exposure. The beauty with digital is that you can see whether the camera has got the shot right by previewing the image on the LCD. If not, you try again. If there is no manual control you can often preset the exposure using an auto-exposure lock or exposure compensation. The subject based program modes are often a waste of time and don't really bring much to the package. Special effects modes on digital cameras are also throw-away because all these can be created using the computer later.
One of the earliest forms of camera meter that takes a reading from most of the image area, but biases the measurement towards the lower central portion of the image. In landscape photography its a good idea to point the camera down slightly and take a reading without any sky in the view to ensure more accurate results.