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Throwback Thursday: Finding Your Wedding Photographer – Understanding The Jargon

It’s time for another “Throwback Thursday” and today we thought we’d take a look back at a little Jargon buster we put together to help you to understand just what the heck those photographers are actually talking about! So here’s our little Wedding Photography A-Z…

When you work professionally in any industry it’s very easy to find yourself inadvertently talking in technical jargon that means nothing to anyone who doesn’t do that particular job. Photographers are no exception and this can sometimes lead to a little confusion when it comes to meeting prospective photographers for your wedding or when ironing out the final details. So we thought we’d try to break down a few of the terms you might come across when speaking to a photographer into their simplest form to help you to understand what it is they really mean. Several of these terms may of course have a more complex technical meaning but this is basically what you need to know…

Ambient Light: The natural light present in a room above and beyond any lighting being artificially manipulated by the photographer.

Aperture: The aperture is mainly used to control how blurred or sharp a particular part of the image is. A Wide Aperture might for example cause the background to be blurred out with the foreground sharp. A narrow aperture would result in the whole image being sharper.

Backup: Additional copy of an image in case the original becomes lost or damaged. Photographers tend to have an awful lot of these!

Blog: You’re reading one! In photography the blog is generally where the photographer’s most recent work is shown.

Bokeh: The aesthetic quality of the blur, in out-of- focus areas of an image.

Camera Body: A Camera without a lens attached

Candids: Photographs taken without the knowledge of the subject. A documentary photographer specialises in candids.

Canon: Manufacturer of some of the most commonly used cameras and lenses for wedding photography.

CF Card: A Compact Flash Card – type of memory card used in many professional cameras

Cloud: A place where you can store images digitally online and share them with multiple users/devices. Not to be confused with big white fluffy things in the background of your pictures.

Depth of Field: The effect of blurring or sharpening parts of the image, generally connected to the aperture settings. A picture that is sharp in the foreground and blurred in the background has a shallow depth of field.

Documentary: A Documentary photographer captures events as they happen without interfering or posing the subjects.

Dropbox: A method of transmitting large files or large quantities of files such as photographs safely and securely over the internet.

DSLR: Digital Single Lens Reflex camera. The type of camera most professional photographers use and the digital version of a traditional film SLR camera.

E-Shoot: An engagement or pre-wedding photo shoot with the couple.

Exposure: The amount of light allowed into the camera when the shutter is pressed. If the exposure is too long the image will look washed out, if it is too short the image will look too dark. Photographers may choose to purposefully over-expose or under-expose an image to create a particular effect.

Fast Glass: In photography ‘Glass’ generally refers to the lens. ‘Fast glass’ usually refers to a lens capable of a very wide aperture and good low-light performance.

Fill-light: Light used to “fill-in” shadows on the subject in addition to the primary light-source.

Fish-Eye: Type of wide-angle lens used to create a distorted image typically used to create a wide panoramic image.

Flash: Burst of light used to help brighten an image. May be used directly (pointing directly at the subject) or indirectly (bouncing light off a wall or object to soften the effect).

FOTB: Father of the Bride

F-Number: The F number relates to the setting of the aperture. F1.2, for example, is a wide aperture which might be used to obtain heavy background blur.

First Look: When the Bride and Groom meet in their wedding outfits and see each other for a private moment before the ceremony.

Full Frame: The size of the sensor inside the camera. Sensors may be full frame or cropped. Each will result in a different effect when looking through the lens.

Grain / Noise: The pattern of tiny dots that make up the image. A grainy image has bigger, more visible dots.

Group Shots: Posed photographs of particular groupings of the couples’s family and friends.

HDR: Short for High-dynamic Range Imaging. A set of methods used to capture a greater dynamic range between the lightest and darkest areas of an image.

High ISO: High ISO’s allow more light into the lens and therefore help the photographer to shoot in low-light conditions. However higher ISO’s do add to an increase in grain in the image which is sometimes desirable and sometimes not!

High Res: A High-resolution image – very high quality image capable of being printed at a large size whilst retaining its quality.

JPEG: The most commonly used format of digital photographs, useful for sharing images for general use. Generally used for the final image.

Leica: A very expensive type of camera many photographers like to fornicate over!

Lens Hood: a “top-hat” for a lens used to help control the amount of light hitting the surface of the lens.

Lightroom: Professional software from the same editing suite as photoshop – used to help with the selection and editing of photographs.

Macro Lens: A type of lens typically used for extreme closeup photography, e.g. for capturing flowers close up in great detail.

Monochrome: An image formed using a single colour, e.g. a black and white photograph

MOTB: Mother of the Bride

Negative: A strip of film containing the original image captured by an analogue camera

Nikon: Manufacturer of some of the most commonly used cameras and lenses for wedding photography.

Portraits: Posed images of the couple taken on the wedding day.

Pixels: The tiny dots that make up an image. An abbreviation of ‘Picture Element’.

Photoshop: Professional software commonly used to edit or manipulate an image.

Prime lens: Prime lenses are the opposite of zoom lenses. These lenses don’t offer the option to zoom in or out (the photographer must physically move or change lens to make the image closer or further away), but generally offer superior optics and better low-light performance to their zoom counterparts.

Processing: The ‘process’ of selecting, editing and finalising an image.

Raw: The file type typically captured by top quality cameras. Completely uncompressed these tend to be huge files designed for manipulation or reproduction of the image. The equivalent of an analogue negative, where a JPEG would be the finished print.

Reportage: A style of candid photography generally grouped with Documentary photography.

Saturation: How Rich the colours look in a photograph. Photographers often manipulate the saturation of an image to enrich/desaturate the colours at the editing stage.

SD Card: Short for Secure Digital, a type of memory card used in portable devices and commonly as a second backup card in professional cameras.

Second Shooter: A second photographer who works with the primary photographer to help to capture more photographs and different angles. Especially used in wedding photography where the photographer needs to capture photos in more than one place at a time, e.g. the bride and groom getting ready. Also occasionally known to hide behind grassy knolls…

Shoot: Many photographers are also part-time assassins. Some however use the term “shoot” to refer to a photography session.

Shutter Speed: The amount of time the camera is capturing the image, If an image is moving then a slow shutter speed would cause it to blur, a fast shutter speed allows less light in but would create a sharper image. Contemporary photographers sometimes use slow shutter speeds with the couple standing still to create interesting lighting effects.

Shootsac: Type of lightweight camera bag that looks a bit like a handbag/manbag!

Spot Colour: Selective use of colour in a photograph, e.g. a black & white image of the bride and groom having a red boutonniere in contrast with the rest of the image.

Telephoto: A type of Lens with a massive zoom! Allows the photographer to shoot from a long way away… think paparazzi!

Tilt-Shift: Type of lens used to manipulate the perspective of an image. Can be used to blur/sharpen parts of an image in ways not possible with a traditional lens.

Tog: Abbreviation for a photographer used mainly on social networking sites such as twitter. Also an article of clothing, but we’re not interested in that kind of thing here!

Trash the Dress: A post-wedding bridal shoot where rather less care is taken about looking after the wedding dress!

White Balance: A function of the camera designed to compensate for different colours of light, e.g. sunlight is a different colour from a lightbulb.

USB Drive: A portable memory stick increasingly used to provide digital images for the couple to copy to their computer. The USB drive is starting to replace CD’s and DVD’s as the photographer’s preferred format.

Vignette: Faded or shaded edge of a photograph.

Zoom Lens: A type of lens that allows the photographer to change smoothly from a long-shot to a close-up or vice versa without having to physically move backward and forward.

So those are just some of the phrases we reckon you might well come across whilst talking to your wedding photographer, but there are definitely more that could be added to the list! If you have a term you think should be included in our jargon-buster, or if you would like us to explain a particular term you’ve heard then leave a comment below! 

NOTE: This post is designed to simplify things for those not in the know, so please explain any additions as simply as you possibly can, avoiding further technical language!

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