Digital Photography Guide - A Glossary Of Common Digital Photography Terms - Part 2!

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Welcome to another in this occasional series of digital photography guides, aiming to provide easy to understand explanations of some common photography terms you may encounter. Hopefully this glossary will help if you have recently come across a term for the first time, and will at least give you some idea of its meaning, and use.

Backlighting - This is the effect produced when a subject is lit from a main source of light located behind it. Generally, this effect is used primarily in landscape, or nature shots. It can also be used in portraits, especially to add a more dramatic look to the final image.

Continuous Capture Mode - This refers to the function of taking a series of shots rapidly one after the other. Used typically when trying to capture images of fast moving sports cars, for example. When set up in continuous mode, the camera needs just one press of the shutter to fire off several shots. Also referred to as "burst mode".

Card Reader - This is a device in which you insert the camera's memory card (i.e. the card which stored the images as you took them). The card reader is then connected to your PC to enable download of the images. The reader will appear on your PC as a separate drive. The advantages of using a card reader to download images include speed (typically quicker than direct download from camera to PC) and reliability (e.g. a camera battery could die during transfer of files).

Composition - This refers to the arrangement of the main subject, and supporting objects in a photographic scene. Whilst there are no set rules to composition, there are flexible principles (such as the rule of thirds) which can be applied to bring harmony and structure to the final image.

Continuous Autofocus - Many modern cameras have this functionality, which continually adjusts focus while trying to photograph a moving subject. The camera achieves this by predicting where the subject will be shortly, as opposed to where it is now. Nikon cameras call this continuous focusing, while Canon refer to it as "AI Servo" (i.e. Artificial Intelligence).

Exposure - In simple terms, exposure is the amount of light allowed through to the camera's sensor, which determines the brightness of the final image. The amount of light let in is determined by the lens's aperture, which can be controlled by the photographer.

Look out for subsequent digital photography guides where we will explain more commonly used digital photography terms.


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