Photography slang or lingo is everywhere. Some photographers love using it, complicating matters while making them sound like the ‘bee’s knees’.
Photography isn’t complicated in its approach, yet you may come across these photography terms and acronyms while researching.
Bookmark this article and come back to it as often as you need to.
Photography Slang From A to Z
Aliasing: Pixels that have a square shape that smooths out the pattern.
Artifact: An element that reduces the quality of the image. When images are heavily compressed or distorted through manipulations or unwanted light, such as lens flare.
Bigma: The Sigma 50-500 mm lens has been nicknamed Bigma due to its size.
Blown Out: An image is blown out when the white or highlit areas show no detail.
Bokeh: Japanese for ‘Out-of-Focus’. These are lights or surroundings that show up as out of focus circles.
Bracketing: Bracketing involves capturing a scene with three different exposure values to ensure the exposure is correct. This is more commonly used by film photographers, involving -1 stop, +1 stop and 0 when using the Exposure Value scale.
Cam-Jam: A Cam-Jam is someone who doesn’t know anything about photography, but manages to create great photographs.
Candid: Photographing someone who doesn’t know you are photographing them.
Chimping: Chimping is constantly reviewing your images instead of photographing the scene.
Digital Lasagna: A term used for people who use many Photoshop layers without naming them.
Dust Bunny: Dust bunnies are those dust points on the camera’s sensor that appear in the same place in every image.
Fast/Slow: This term relates to the aperture range of your lens. A wide aperture is fast, such as f/1.4.
Fill-in: A light that helps to support the main light.
Flag: A flag stops light from hitting your subject. Usually found in a studio or outdoor shoot when models and fashion are the focus.
Flare: Lens flare happens when direct sun bounces around the glass elements of your camera lens.
Frame: This has multiple meanings, but basically, anything your camera can capture is a frame. You can also ‘fill the frame’, which refers to the composition of your scene.
Fringing: The purple glow that gathers around subjects or objects with high contrast.
Giffing: A photographer who aims to turn their images into gifs.
Glass: Glass is slang for lenses.
Gobo: Blocking scattered or unnecessary light falling onto your subject or object. They can change the light into a certain pattern.
Grad: An optical filter that goes from light to increasingly dark areas.
Grafikking: The art of using layer upon layer of Photoshop filters on one image.
Grip and Grin: Quickly taken image of people.
Grip and Rip: Capturing many images with no purpose in mind.
Gump: Just like Forest Gump, a photographer who is great at many different fields of photography, such as landscape and portrait photography.
Halos: Where retouched images are obvious, showing a circle of light around the subject.
Lossy Vs. Lossless: A lossless file format, such as Raw, doesn’t lose its image quality. Jpg would be lossy.
Machine Gunner: Takes hundreds of images of the same subject in the same pose, but only one will be used.
Magic/Golden Hour: The Golden Hour is the hour just before sunset or just after sunrise. The sun is at its lowest, so it provides a soft, even yet golden color temperature to your scene.
Marching Ants: When you select an item in Photoshop, you get an animated dotted line that looks like ants marching.
Moiré: Distracting elements of certain patterns in objects. This can be a building or suit where the pattern shows lines that the sensor has difficulty separating.
Muddy: An image that doesn’t have bright colors, but uses tones that are all very similar.
Nifty Fifty: This refers to a fast yet cheap 50mm lens.
NoFilter: A very common hashtag that tells the viewer that the image hasn’t been manipulated.
Noise: This is grain caused by using a high ISO. With film photography, grain or noise is caused by bigger silver halides.
Noisy: An image is noisy when it has a lot of noise.
Photobomb: Jumping behind someone taking a selfie or appearing behind the person being photographed.
Pixel Peeper/Peeping: Someone who zooms into their image fully to look at the pixel quality.
Prime: A prime lens is a fixed-focal-length lens, such as the Canon 85mm f/1.4 lens.
Raw: This file format captures all possible information from a scene. A jpg is typically 5 times smaller than a Raw file, where image data is lost through compression. Raw formats have different file extensions, such as (Canon) .cr2 and (Nikon) .nef.
Scheimpflug Principle: Slang used for large format photography where the lens and image plane are not on the same axis.
Scrim: This display stops and softens the light, often used in a photographic studio. Also called a flag.
Selfie: Taking a photograph of one’s self.
Sharp: The opposite of soft in photography. Your images are sharp with a sharp lens. This is when you get the focus perfectly.
Shoot and Burn: A photographer that shoots the pictures and burns them onto a CD/DVD. Clients get ALL images, good or bad.
Shutter Nutter: Photographers who have crazy, over-the-top projects.
Shutter-bug: A beginner photographer with a passion.
Soft: A soft lens will not produce sharp images, as it is slightly out of focus.
Spray and Pray: A photographer who takes multiple images without looking. Think about Rambo with a camera.
Stop: 1 stop changes the aperture, shutter speed or ISO by either doubling the light or halving it.
Tog/Photog: Short for a photographer. A Street Tog is a street photographer.
Touching up: To post-process an image, namely whitening the skin of a portrait image.
Uncle Bob: The relative at a wedding that gets in the way, with their own camera.
Xpro: Photography slang for ‘cross processing’. This is when you take a C-41 roll of film and process it with E-6 chemicals’.
Acronyms for Photography Terms
ACR: Adobe Camera Raw. This is the Raw converter for Adobe programs, such as Photoshop.
AF: Auto Focus. This lets your camera focus automatically.
ASS: Accidental Selfie Syndrome. This happens when someone holds the camera the wrong way when capturing a scene.
ATGNI: All The Gear, No Idea. A person who has all the camera equipment necessary, but no clue on how to use it.
B&W: Black and White. It lacks colour and focuses on contrast and texture.
BIF: Birds In Flight. This is a term for the autofocus ability of a camera. If it is BIF, it will track and focus a bird while it is flying.
C&C: Comments and Critiques. This lets people know the photographer would like to hear feedback.
CC: Creative Commons. A creative commons image allows other people to edit and use but under a license.
CCD: Charged-Coupled Device. This is a different type of sensors, mainly used by Leica or Astrophotography cameras.
CMOS: Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor. Most DSLRs and other digital cameras utilize this type of sensor.
DNG: Digital Negative. This is an open-source Raw file format.
DOF: Depth Of Field. This is the range of focus in your image. A higher aperture gives you a wider range of focus.
DSLR: Digital Single Lens Reflex. This is a digital SLR, such as Canon 5D Mark IV.
ETF: Easy on The Filter. Someone who uses very heavy filters to boost the quality of their photography.
FF: Full Frame. A full frame sensor capture images at the designated field of view as set by the lens.
GI-GO: Garbage-In, Garbage-Out. If you photograph a scene using the wrong color temperature, your images might not have enough information to change it later, and still look good.
HDR: High Dynamic Range. This style of shooting involves combining multiple exposures to achieve a greater dynamic range.
IQ: Image Quality.
JPEG/JPG: A common file format for picture images. Stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group.
LR: Lightroom. Another image editing software program from Adobe.
MDL: Mutton-Dressed as Lamb. Photographers who over process their images using HDR.
OCF: Off Camera Flash. This could be a Canon Speedlite, for example.
OOF: Out Of Focus. Any shot that doesn’t have a ‘sharp’ focus.
P&S: Point and Shoot. This camera is usually automatic with a fixed lens, and ready to go at a moments notice.
PM: Photo Mechanic. A front-end image-ingesting, tagging and browsing software.
PP: Post-Processing. Any work you do to an image after it has been captured. This includes cropping, local adjustments, etc.
PS: Photoshop. One of the most popular and important image editing software by Adobe.
PSE: Photoshop Elements. This is an editing software by Adobe.
PX: Short for Pixel. An 8-megapixel sensor will give you an image that measures 3266 x 2450 pixels.
RTFM: Read the Fakking Manual. Someone who asks the same basic questions over and over again.
SIF: Secret Internet Fatty. Someone who is very apt at hiding or scaling back a persons’ fat on an image.
SLR: Single Lens Reflex. The camera works by alternating the view and scene capture by use of a mirror.
SOOC: Straight Out Of Camera. The image is as it was directly after being captured. No filters and no Photoshop.