developer, stop bath, or fixer in a
gentle, uniform motion while processing
film or paper. Agitation helps to speed
and achieve even development and prevent
spotting or staining.
The opening in a
camera lens through which light passes to
expose the film, also called
"f-number." The size of
aperture is either fixed or adjustable
and may be adjusted manually or
automatically depending on the camera.
Aperture size is usually calibrated in
f-numbers -- the larger the number, the
smaller the lens opening. F-22 is the
highest aperture on most manual or
semi-automatic cameras. See also Shutter
cameras are either aperture priority or
shutter speed priority. With aperture
priority cameras you set the aperture
while the camera sets the shutter speed
for proper exposure. See also Shutter
System by which the camera automatically focuses on whatever
is in the center of the image area.
cameras this setting allows for time
exposures. On this setting the shutter
will stay open as long as you hold down
the shutter release button. To make long
time lapse images you'll need a shutter
remote cable (if your camera is designed
to use one).
Light coming from
behind the subject so that it stands out
vividly against the background. Sometimes
produces a silhouette.
Taking a series of
pictures of a subject using a range of
exposures. In unfamiliar lighting
conditions this ensures that at least one
image will be correctly exposed.
exposure to part of the image projected
on an enlarger easel to make that area of
the print darker. This is accomplished
after the basic exposure by extending th
exposure time to allow additional
image-forming light to strike the areas
in the print you want to darken while
holding back the image-forming light from
the rest of the image. Sometimes called
A camera with a
built-in exposure meter that
automatically adjusts the lens opening,
shutter speed, or both for proper
All cameras have
these basic parts:
- A light
tight body where the film is
- A lens for
focusing light rays onto the
- An aperture
for controlling how much light
reaches the film.
- A shutter
that controls how long the film
is exposed to the light.
- A viewfinder
that allows the photographer to
see what will be photographed.
- A transport
that holds and moves the film.
A camera with
manually adjustable settings for
distance, lens openings, and shutter
Single Lens Reflex (SLR)
Single Lens Reflex cameras have only one
lens, so the photographer views the image
directly through the lens that takes the
photograph. This is accomplished by a
delicate series of mirrors and prisms,
part of why SLR cameras tend to be more
expensive than viewfinder models.
An inexpensive camera designed for one
time use. Most contain high-quality 35mm
color film. Some also have a flash, and
some models are water resistant for use
in shallow water or otherwise wet
conditions. When the film is completely
exposed the photographer sends the entire
camera to the lab for development.
Processing labs remove the film and
recycle the cardboard cameras.
Viewfinder or rangefinder cameras come in
many shapes and sizes, from simple
single-use cameras to sophisticated
compact cameras. The feature that they
all have in common is their viewfinder,
which is separate from the lens, and
provides the photographer with an
approximation of what the lens is
"seeing." When shooting very
close up the separate viewfinder
introduces a problem called parallax
error. The viewfinder shows the
photographer a slightly different view
from what the lens is "seeing,"
resulting in an image that does not
include everything the photographer
expected. The advantages of a viewfinder
camera include easier focusing in low
light and quieter operation than an SLR
(Single Lens Reflex) camera.
A picture taken with the subject close to
the camera -- usually two or three feet
away. Taking pictures from within a few
inches of the subject usually requires
special macro lenses or tubes. The
"macro" focus setting on many
lenses is usually just extreme close-up.
See also Macro
The arrangement of the elements within a
photograph -- the main subject, the
foreground and background, and supporting
A device used for contact-printing that
consists of a box with an internal light
source and a printing frame to position
the negative against the photographic
paper in front of the light.
The range of difference in the light to
dark areas of a negative, print, or slide
(also called density); the brightness
range of a subject or the scene lighting.
See also Density,
Printing only part of an image, usually
for a more pleasing composition. Also
refers to the framing of the scene in the
A special room where photographs are
The blackness of an area in a negative or
print that determines the amount of light
that will pass through it or reflect from
it. See also Contrast.
The amount of distance between the
nearest and farthest objects that appear
in acceptably sharp focus in a
photograph. Depth of field depends on the
lens opening (aperture), the focal length
of the lens, and the distance from the
lens to the subject. The smaller the
aperture (remember, higher numbers mean
smaller openings) the greater the depth
of field. F-22 is the highest aperture on
most manual or semi-automatic cameras.
See also Aperture,
A solution used to turn the latent image
into a visible image on exposed films or
Lens opening. A perforated plate or
adjustable opening mounted behind or
between the elements of a lens used to
control the amount of light that reaches
the film. Openings are usually calibrated
Lighting that is low or moderate in
contrast, such as in fog or on an
Holding back the image-forming light from
a part of the image projected on an
enlarger easel during part of the basic
exposure time to make that area of the
Two pictures taken on one frame, or two
images printed on one piece of
Film cassette loading system that
advances that new roll of film to the
first frame when the camera is closed.
Electrical coding system employed in 35mm
format film that communicates film speed,
type and exposure length to the camera.
Micro-thin layers of gelatin on film in
ingredients are suspended; triggered by
light to create a chemical reaction
resulting in a photographic image.
A print that is larger than the negative
or slide, more commonly used to refer to
prints from 35mm film that are 5 x 7 or
The quantity of light allowed to act on a
photographic material; a product of the
intensity (controlled by the lens
opening) and the duration (controlled by
the shutter speed or enlarging time) of
light striking the film or paper.
An instrument with a light-sensitive cell
that measures the light reflected from or
falling on a subject, used as an aid for
selecting the exposure setting. Most
modern cameras have a built-in exposure
meter, although professional
photographers often also use a hand-held
unit for more accurate readings. Also
Additional light from a lamp, flash, or
reflector; used to soften or fill in the
shadows or dark picture areas caused by
the brighter main light. Called fill-in
flash when electronic flash is used.
A transparent base coated with
photosensitive emulsion. As a
photographer you must choose between
color and black and white, print and
slide, size (110mm, 35mm, 4 x 5 inch,
etc., depending on your camera), speed
(100, 200, 400, 800, 1000, 1600) and a
multitude of brands.
A measure of how sensitive the film is to
light. It is denoted by an ISO number
(previously known as ASA and DIN, ISO
stands for International Standards
Organization). High sensitivity films are
called "fast" and low
sensitivity films are called
"slow." A film rated at ISO 200
needs half as much light to form the same
image density as one rated at ISO 100.
Fast films are useful indoors or in
low-light conditions where a flash is not
available or allowed, such as in museums
where non-flash photography is permitted.
Outdoors in bright light, fast films are
used to capture action since the shutter
speed can be very fast. However, if your
camera has a fixed shutter speed (some
simple automatic cameras do), photos
taken with fast film in bright light will
be overexposed. Slow film is acceptable
for indoor shots with flash, and optimal
outdoors for non-moving subjects such as
landscapes. Using a slower shutter speed
will allow the film to expose longer,
capturing richer colors and greater
depth. You may need to use a tripod and
remote shutter release, if you camera
will accept them.
A colored piece of glass or other
transparent material used over the lens
to emphasize, eliminate, or change the
color or density of the entire scene or
certain areas within a scene.
A solution that removes any
light-sensitive silver-halide crystals
not acted upon by light or developer,
leaving a black-and-white negative or
print unalterable by further action of
light. Also referred to as hypo.
A streak or flaw on a photograph
resulting from an undesirable light
source or reflection.
A burst of light used to illuminate a
photographic subject so that the image
may be recorded on film. Many automatic
cameras have a built-in flash unit that
can be programmed for specific lighting
conditions, but default to a broad flash
whenever the camera senses that the
ambient light is inadequate (those
flashes you see from crowds at nighttime
outdoor events). Properly used, a
programmable automatic flash can be
useful in many light conditions beyond
basic darkness. For example, use the
fill-in setting when your subject is in
shadow, even on a bright day.
The distance that a lens should be held
from a screen in order to project a
focused image on that screen. Focal
length dictates the angle of view. The
longer the focal length, the narrower the
angle of view. Wide-angle lenses have
short focal lengths typically 20mm, 24mm,
and 35mm. Standard focal length lenses
are 50mm and 80mm to 300mm are telephoto
Adjustment of the distance setting on a
lens to define the subject sharply.
Darkening or discoloring of a negative or
print or lightening or discoloring of a
slide caused by exposure to
nonimage-forming light, too much handling
in air during development,
over-development, outdated film or paper,
or storage of film or paper in a hot,
One picture on a roll of film.
Light shining on the side of the subject
facing the camera.
A number that indicates the size of the
aperture on an adjustable camera. The
common f-numbers are f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8,
f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, and f/22.
The larger the f-number, the smaller the
lens opening. In this series, f/1.4 is
the largest lens opening and f/22 is the
smallest. Also called f-stops, they work
in conjunction with shutter speeds to
indicate exposure settings.
The granular appearance of a negative,
print, or slide. Graininess becomes more
pronounced with faster film and the
degree of enlargement.
A wide range of density in a print or
negative. See also Contrast.
The brightest areas
of a subject and the corresponding areas
in a negative, a print, or a slide.
Standards Organization (ISO)
See Film Speed.