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Glossary of Photographic Terms

I remember spending a week during my college years studying flash cards for over a thousand vocabulary words. Although I was an English major and had loved reading, I had never really took it upon myself to learn the definitions of the hard words.
Finally motivated by an entrance exam for grad school, I discovered to my amazement that learning the actual definitions of words made reading the classics much more enjoyable. Go figure... If only I had come to this realization in high school. The truth is that knowing what each term means - whether it be technical or Shakespearean - makes the practice of any art or science more enjoyable. Who likes to constantly turn to a dictionary? That's why I recommend taking these terms to heart - memorizing them in any manner that works for you - so you can more rapidly excel as a photographer.

Note: Also check out these free resources at

The Top Ten Vocabulary Words
The American Heritage Dictionary defines photography as "the art, practice, or occupation of taking and printing photographs." If that is all you need to hear, feel free to move on learning technique. If, on the other hand, that still leaves things a little vague for you… onward, forward, dear reader.
The following are the most important definitions; learn these terms to become a better photographer regardless of your specialty. Roll over each word with your mouse and hold it there for few seconds to be given a hint. Click on the word to read an extended definition.
Rule of Thirds
Golden Rectangle
Shutter Speed
Digital Imaging
Depth of Field
Focal Length
Sunny-16 Rule
The Full Meal Deal
This second section consists of the extended definitions of just about every word you may have ever heard that relates to photography.
Want more? Try:
Jim Coe's Everyday Magic - Detailed explanations of many concepts.

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