Crop factor: The ratio of the camera sensor size to what the lens can see. Modern DSLR cameras often have multiple sensors of varying sizes to control for distortions that come from crop factor.
Image stabilization: A variety of methods to reduce the blur that comes from camera motion. Image stabilization can come from equipment engineered into a camera, or it can be part of post-production.
Overexposure and underexposure: Letting in either too much light or too little on the camera sensor. Overexposed photos look blown out, with subjects generally looking overly pale. Underexposed photos tend to look dark and dim.
Post-production or post-processing: The process of cropping, editing, altering, and improving photo files in programs like Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Lightroom.
Raw files: Unprocessed data. Raw image files have not been compressed or altered in any way. This means they are good for archival purposes, as they contain all the data associated with an image. However, raw files can be too large for certain uses, like online use.
Shutter priority: Sometimes known as time value, this setting on the camera is usually abbreviated as S or Tv. It allows the photographer to set a specific shutter speed and the camera will automatically choose an aperture and ISO to match.
TIFF: Stands for tagged image file format. A popular format for storing high-resolution raster graphics — graphics made of a set number of pixels. JPG and PNG are other image file types that TIFFs can be converted into.
Vignetting: Reducing an image’s brightness along the borders. Often, this effect draws the eye to a brighter central part of the image and can make the image look like it’s viewed through a hole or telescope.
White balance: The practice in digital photography of making the colors look more natural. White in particular can look blue or yellow depending on the color temperature of light. You can adjust the white balance to ensure that white looks white, and other colors look accurate as well.
Whether you use a Nikon, Canon, or simply a smartphone camera, knowledge of these terms will help you better understand photography, so you can advance your skills. Next, you can explore different types of photography, from close-up fashion portraits to nighttime time-lapses, to see how they factor into each genre of photography.