I just came across this article in Canon PhotoYou Spring 2010 which is useful for non-literate camera users like me ;-) It’s the A – Z of photography jargons we should know :p
A – ambient light: Natural light available that surrounds a subject within a setting, such as a room or a location.
aperture: The size of the lens opening when you snap a photo. The lens opens when you snap a photo and light is allowed to pass through and onto the camera’s sensor or film. The bigger the aperture, the smaller the number on the camera settings.
B – backlight: A light source that is usually behind the subject and facing the lens. It produces a silhouette effect.
bokeh: A term derived from the Japanese language which literally means ‘fuzziness’. Bokeh is the result of a deliberate, slightly out-of-focus shot that creates a dreamy photo effect.
C – cropping: Using only a certain part of the image so as to exclude unwanted objects in a photo.
D – depth of field: This is the range of distance within a picture that appears sharp and in focus. Depth of field always gradually transits from sharp to unsharp. Using depth of field helps the viewer to focus on certain subjects in a picture and is largely determined by the aperture size – the larger the aperture (smaller F-stop number), the shorter the depth of field and thus fewer things are sharp within the picture.
E – exposure: The total amount of light received by the film or sensor of a camera when the shutter opens. This results in bright or dark photos.
F – focal length: The distance between the camera lens and the digital sensor or film. Essentially, it is how much your camera can see. It also shows how much the subject will be magnified. The shorter the focal length, the wider the field of view and vice versa.
filter: A coloured piece of glass or transparent material used over the lens to emphasise, eliminate or change the colour of a scene.
I – ISO: The sensitivity of the digital camera’s image sensor to the presence of light. The lower the ISO means the camera is less sensitive to light, and more light is needed to produce a properly taken photo. Similarly, the higher the ISO, the more sensitive to light, and this is advantageous for taking pictures in low light situations. However, pictures taken with higher ISO settings tend to appear more grainy and not as colour correct as those of lower ISO settings when all other factors have been considered. User a lower ISO when you have plenty of light available so that your pictures will appear more vibrant; use a higher ISO when you do not have access to adequate lighting.
N – negative space: The empty area around a photo subject.
O – overexposure: The effect of a photo that’s almost pure white, with washed-out colours. This is the result of an aperture setting that’s too large (smaller F-stop number), a shutter speed set too slow, or an ISO that’s too high.
R – resolution: The number of pixels produced for each shot. The higher the resolution, the more details are visible of a photo subject.
S – Single-Lens Reflex (SLR): A fancy way of saying that a camera’s viewfinder looks through the same lens that exposes the image sensor (or film). What you see through the lens is what you get in a photograph.
shutter speed: This refers to how fast your shutter operates when a photo is snapped. As a general rule, the faster your shutter opens and closes, the lower the chances of a blurry image.
stopping down: The act of reducing the size of the lens aperture and hence reducing the amount of light that passes through the lens. Reducing the size of the aperture also means the F-stop number gets bigger.
V – vignetting: An optical effect in photography causing the corners of an image to be shaded, washed out or blurred.
W – white balance: The temperature measure that determines the correct setting for snapping photos in daylight, indoor light and everything in between. In essence, white balance is involved in producing accurate colours in your photos.
Z – zoom: Magnifying an image via the lens to get a close-up shot.