All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form without prior written permission by the author, except in the case of brief quotations in reviews.


Here, you will find a list of common terms used in digital photography. Keep in mind this is just a basic introduction as additional information can be discussed for each topic listed below. Should you want further information do not hesitate to contact me.


~ISO (international standards organization) is one of the three factors affecting exposure along with aperture and shutter speed. The ISO scale typically starts at 100 and doubles from this starting point to an upper of 3200, with 1/3 stops in between.

~Aperture is the opening behind the lens that permits light to travel to the camera’s sensor.

~Shutter Speed is the length of time the camera’s aperture is open.

~Sensor is a solid state strip which captures the light needed to create a digital image. There are different types and sizes with sensors which I will discuss in subsequent writings.

~White Balance (WB) in digital cameras is used to compensate for different colors of light from different light sources to correctly show the color white and allows the camera to display other colors accurately. There is much to be said regarding white balance which I will discuss another time.

~Memory Card is basically the film for today’s digital cameras. Unfortunately manufacturers do not provide memory cards in the box when purchasing your new camera. I encourage you to purchase two cards one for the camera and the second as a back up to be kept in your camera bag. Do not forget to format your card after you downloaded your previous images prior to your next shoot.

~Raw/Nef is the uncompressed image as shot by a digital camera. This is by far the choice for professional photographers. Canon introduced the raw picture format, while Nikon calls this format Nef.

~.JPEG is a term used to describe digital compression when either photographing, processing your images from software via your computer, and to show your images over the Internet. This particular compression ratio was fixed by the Joint Photo Experts Group to reduce picture size.

~.TIFF (tagged image file format) is preferred for high resolution images. It is an industry standard using lossless compression to maintain image integrity and clarity by professional photographers and enthusiasts.

~Megapixel Count different specifications are critical for different people and this specification speaks to the entire market. If your intention is to take photos for emailing, upload for social media, or print snapshot size pictures then a camera with basic resolution of 12 to 16 megapixels will be sufficient. However, having a camera with more megapixels, 24 to 36 will provide much sharper images for printing larger sizes or crop and print smaller sections of the image, the choice for most professionals.

~Pixels Pictures are made of dots called pixels (picture element). Place enough pixels together horizontally and vertically you now have a picture.