Before we go any further, there are a lot of terms that I want to make sure you understand. I don’t want to talk (or type) and overwhelm anyone. So here’s a little glossary that you can refer back to now and then. It’ll be up in the “categories” part of this blog. So don’t get overwhelmed right now. Look back at it later, as you need it. These definitions are not from Websters Dictionary or anything. They are from me (maybe with a reference when necessary to a camera manual) but they are paraphrased via Cori. I thought that my version made more sense in my brain and would maybe help you understand better….maybe.

DSLR Camera: Digital Single-Lens Reflex Camera, or a larger digital camera with interchangeable lenses, like the Canon Rebel, 20D, etc. These cameras are larger and you typically take a picture while looking through the viewfinder (eye hole) rather than looking at the LCD screen like a point and shoot. There is much potential for creative control with these cameras.

SLR Camera: Single Lens Reflex Camera, same as above and the digital is assumed in my world.

LCD screen: Liquid crystal display, the little screen on the back of your camera where you get to view your images while they’re still in camera.

Shutter: The shutter on your camera is what opens and closes and lets light in.

Shutter speed: How fast or slow your shutter is opening.

Aperture: Also known and referred to as “f stop“. It’s the hole or opening through which the light enters your camera. The size of the opening determines how much light comes in to your camera as well as how sharp or blurry the background is going to be in your image.

Av mode (Aperture priority mode): A semi manual mode on your camera. By moving the dial on the top of your camera you can control the aperture of your image. The camera will set the shutter speed according to what it thinks you need.

Tv mode (shutter priority mode): A semi manual mode on your camera. By moving the dial on the top of your camera you can control the shutter speed of your image. The camera will set the aperture according to what it thinks you need.

P mode (program mode): A fully automatic mode on your camera, but it allows you to change camera settings if you would like to.

ISO: used to be the speed of the film (in film days) and now it’s essentially the same thing, the ISO equivalent. Or how sensitive your camera’s sensor is to the available light.

White balance: Sometimes an image can look too blue or too orange, in these cases the white balance is off. The white balance is what creates the realistic color cast for your image. Just remember with accurate white balance, white color in real life should look white in a picture.

jpeg: jpeg is an image format. The pictures that you take with your point and shoot camera are most likely in jpeg file format.

RAW: RAW is another image format. RAW images can be captured by many DSLR cameras. This format allows more flexibility when manipulating the images on your computer in post processing. They do require a converter though and cannot be automatically viewed as pictures on your computer without one.

delight, excitement, love: what you feel once you master a little portion of your camera and start to capture some fabulous images!


  1. Nina on February 26, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Yay! I am so thankful for this website. I have been dabbling in photography for a little while and have tons of questions! Thank You for explaining stuff on here. It is a huge help(: