Glossary of Terms

I made this page because on the research on taking better pictures, I come across many concepts that are too uninteresting to incorporate into my weekly posts but are, nonetheless, important enough to be shared. There are many specialized terms in the field of photography, and unless one has taken photography class in his high school, he might not have much idea over what they mean. In the strict understanding that many of my readers do not want to devote that much of their time systematically learning professional photography, I put a list of useful terms here, so that when needed, it can be referred to with ease. If there are inaccuracies, please comment: I don’t want to be spreading the wrong information.

White Balance: You may have noticed it. Having different lights shine on the same object can make the object appear to have a different color. The camera needs to determine what is really white and what is not. White balance settings determine if the image should be displayed with a blue tinge (to counteract warm, or orange, light) or with an orange tinge (to counteract blue light, such as that from fluorescent bulbs). Play with this setting if the color in image does not look like the actual.

Correctable after image is taken? Yes, and it’s easy by using an editing app like Snapseed.

Snapseed: This is a photo editing app on smartphones, downloadable from all major platforms. It’s good to have one camera app and one editing app on your phone.

Aperture: the size of the opening through which light passes into the camera. In a DSLR, the aperture is adjustable. On virtually all phones, however, the aperture is fixed. A wide aperture (a low f-number) gives a small depth of field (look that up on this page, if you must) and a higher shutter speed on DSLR. On a phone, you can achieve a high shutter speed with the Sports mode on Android, or a third-party app on IOS. Depth of field can be manipulated by editing apps. To be honest, though, I have not yet found a good free app that can do this with little work on our part.

Depth of Field: If one looks at something close to them, then the objects farther away will become blurry. If one focuses on something far away, the objects close to them becomes unfocused. The depth of field is the distance between the farthest object and the closest object the focus. Depth of field is directly controlled by aperture. A shallow depth of field results in this:


On the other hand, a great depth of field results in everything being in focus.

ISO: the camera’s sensitivity to light. Higher ISO means the camera is more suitable to low-light conditions, but it also produces grainy images. Most Android phones are capable of setting this, but third-party app is required on IOS.

Correctable after image is taken? Fairly difficult.

shutter speed: how long it takes for the camera to take the picture. Only some Android phones have the capability, even with third-party app.

Correctable after image is taken? Fairly difficult.