Photography terminology explained

So, you’ve finally taken the photography plunge and bought that fancy camera you’ve been eyeballing for the past year. Congratulations! You’re about to look at the world in a whole different way. But reading photography terminology is like trying to figure out roman numerals past the number 13 (14 would be XIV) and you kinda need to know what stuff means if you’re going to use your camera effectively, right?

Junk Mail photography terminology
Photo credit – William Bayreuther on Unsplash

Let’s dive into a few of the most common camera terminologies to help get you started. Once you’re done, head on over to Junk Mail to have a look at the great selection of cameras for sale.






Image Sensor explains it as follows: When light strikes the lens of a camera, the image sensor captures that light, converts it into an electronic signal and then transmits it to the camera or imaging device processor, which transforms the electronic signal into a digital image.



International Standards Organization. ISO is important when it comes to a photo’s exposure and measures the image sensor’s sensitivity toward light.


Shutter Speed

Shutter speed, also known as exposure time, is the amount of time your film or image sensor is exposed to light.



Light is mentioned a lot above. For that light to reach the image sensor, it needs to travel through an opening known as the aperture. When you hold up the camera’s lens, it’s the hole you look through and can differ in size according to the amount of light you want to allow through.


Aspect Ratio

Aspect ratio is the dimensions of your image (height and width) and it has a huge impact on the composition of your image.


Burst Mode

Why take one photo when you can hold down the button and take a lot in a short amount of time? That’s what bust mode is. Burst mode is ideal for any photo where motion or action is involved.


Hot Shoe

That square metal thing on top of your camera? That’s called the hot shoe and it’s where you attach all kinds of accessories, most commonly your external flash.


Exposure and exposure compensation

Exposure: The amount of light that reaches the image/digital sensor. You can control this by making use of aperture, ISO, and the shutter speed.

Exposure compensation: The photographer can overrule the camera’s light meter settings to adjust the light to either brighter or darker.

Junk Mail Terminology Photography
Photo credit – Math on Unsplash

That wasn’t so bad! If you’d like to see more photography terminology explained in a simple and easy way, drop us a comment or get in touch with us on social media.

If you’re still shopping for a new camera, visit Junk Mail for a wide variety of new and second-hand items. Do you have an old camera you want to sell? Click/tap here to list it for FREE on Junk Mail.

Read more articles about photography:

16 items every photographer needs

Keep your digital camera in top condition with these tips

Your guide to buying a digital camera

Photography terminology explained
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Photography terminology explained
Thinking of buying a camera? Let’s take a look at common photography terminology. Visit Junk Mail for a great selection of cameras for sale.
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