7 Photography Terms that All Beginners Should Know

7 Photography Terms that All Beginners Should Know
Don't know your bokeh from your viewfinder? Photography terms can have you reaching for the nearest dictionary if you are a complete beginner. Here are seven terms that will help you along in your photography journey:

Aspect Ratio

Aspect ratio is the ratio of the width to the height of an image. It?s important to know if you are going to be printing your images and you want to see everything that you originally saw, when you took your photo. Certain sized photos such as 10 x 8 will crop part of your image. It's a good idea when taking your photos to leave a little room around the image and not crop in too tight, in case you want to print to different sizes later.

Single Lens reflex

A single lens reflex camera (SLR) has a mirror inside, which reflects the image so that the photographer can see it through the viewfinder. When the image is taken the mirror has to flip out of the way, which is what creates the familiar camera click that you hear. These days with mirrorless cameras you can take photos quietly, which is one of the advantages that they have over SLR?s.

Full Frame Camera

A full frame Digital SLR (Single Lens Reflex camera) has a sensor that is the same size of a traditional frame of 35 mm film, which is 36x24mm. Buying a camera with a full frame sensor comes with its advantages and disadvantages. A camera with a full frame sensor is more expensive than one with a cropped sensor but it?s the camera of choice for professional photographers, because of the quality of the images that it produces.


Bokeh is the out of focus circles that can see in some images in the areas of the photo that are not sharp. Using a wide aperture on your lens can create this pleasing Bokeh effect. Higher end camera lenses tend to produce superior bokeh and that is one reason, why professional photographers generally spend more money on quality lenses.

Prime Lens

A prime lens is any lens that only has one focal length. So a lens that has a focal length of 35 mm only, will be called a prime lens. The opposite of a prime lens is a zoom lens.


The viewfinder is what you look through (and press your eye against) to see the image you are going to take. Not every camera has one of these but DSLR?s and Mirrorless cameras have them. A lot of cheaper cameras will just have the screen for you to look at, but higher end cameras will often give you both options. Viewfinders are great as it helps to block out the light so you can really see your image, which is especially useful when it is really bright outside.

Digital Vs Optical Zoom

Digital zoom is achieved by your camera cropping the image that you have taken (in camera). Optical zoom is a true zoom where the lens has zoomed into the image. Optical zoom is far superior to digital zoom, which often produces less quality images.

Hope these help. Now go out and take some great photos!

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Digital Photography Terminology explained

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