Photography Mumbo Jumbo [Defined]

Photography Terms and Acronyms Defined via

I thought it might be fun to do a post that explains some of the funny terms from the photo world.  They come so naturally out of my mouth and fingers.  I sometimes forget that not everyone may know what they mean!

So in no particular order, here are a few of the terms you might need to know when reading my posts here at Lil Blue Boo!

A Photography Dictionary: What does it all mean? via


Shooting: Refers to the act of taking a photo.

Bokeh: A Japanese word that describes the out of focus areas in the background of a photo.  People pronounce it different ways—”boh-kuh” or “boh-kay.”  I prefer the first way.

Bokeh Example via

Another Bokeh Example via

Glass: A fancy way to say lens.  For example, “That is some fancy glass on that camera.”

Soft or Soft Focus: A nice way of saying that a photo is out of focus or not sharp.

Blown Out: When the highlight areas of a photo become so overexposed that there is no more detail and they become pure white.  I don’t know why there isn’t a term for when you underexpose the shadow areas of a photo and they become pure black.

Prime: Refers to a lens that has only one focal length—it doesn’t zoom.

Noise/Noisy: Used describe the amount of digital artifacting or grain in a photo.  Could also describe the way a camera performs at a high ISO.  For instance, “My camera is really noisy at ISO 6400.”

Flare/Lens Flare: Describes the effect that happens when light is reflecting in the lens.  Usually it results in colorful circles, rays, or haziness.  While traditionally this was seen as an error or defect, it has become trendy to add a little to a photo as a way to add interest.

Sun Flare Example via

Another Sun Flare Example via

Chimping: Describes the act of looking at your LCD screen and admiring a photo.  Sometimes said in a derogatory way about someone who looks at their LCD after every shot.  I chimp all the time so I hope it’s okay ;)!

Golden Hour: The hour(ish) before sunset or after sunrise.  During this time the sun is at an angle that seems to produce beautiful golden light.  This is a popular time to photograph.

Manual: The act of setting all the camera settings yourself instead of relying on your camera to do it all for you.



SLR: Single Lens Reflex.  A type of camera that lets you actually look through the lens of the camera and see exactly what you are photographing.

DSLR: Same as above, but the “D” in this acronym specifies that it is the digital version. Stands for digital single lens reflex.

SOOC: Refers to a file that is “straight out of the camera” with no post processing applied!

DOF: Depth of Field.  Refers to how much of your photo in front and behind the focus point is in focus.

RAW: Wasn’t sure if this belonged here because the letters don’t really stand for anything (that I am aware of.)  This refers to a file format that contains all the data that your camera sensor can record.  It is a large file type that is proprietary to your specific camera manufacturer.  Each camera brand will have it’s own file extension: .nef (Nikon), .cr2 (Canon), and .arw (Sony).

JPEG or JPG: No idea what this stands for either (I am sure Google or Wikipedia know.)  A universal file format for photos.  Pronounced “jay-peg.”

B&W: Stands for Black and White.  An image with no color—only tones of black and white.

PS/PSE/ACR/LR: These are all acronyms for popular Adobe products used to develop photos.  PS=Photoshop. PSE=Photoshop Elements.  ACR=Adobe Camera RAW (comes as part of Photoshop and Photoshop Elements).  LR=Lightroom (my favorite!)


Gayle Vehar for



    • says

      Thanks, Jennifer! Definitely tried to keep it un-technical! Some of the words were harder to define without using MORE technical terms! :)

  1. Stephanie @ Our Marriage Adventure says

    I’m a chimper too, so if its a bad thing just call me bad to the bone. :)

  2. Laura Schott says

    You have a way of making what could be complicated sound clear. I’m just starting to take my camera off manual and while it can be frustrating it is also so rewarding when I do get a great shot of my kiddos! It is starting to get addicting! I’m really looking forward to delving into some of your past posts. Thank you!

  3. Rachel says

    My friend and I always called it a “blackground” when under exposing the background of a photo. :)

  4. says

    I love your photography posts. I have been bookmarking them all so I can keep going back to reference them. I’m currently taking a basic photography class to learn how to use my camera in manual. It has has been a great class but I still struggle with manual mode in the house. Our house has horrible natural light. Any suggestions on how to improve pictures inside?

  5. BNance says

    This is some good information. I was trying to copy it so I could print it out & study it in my free time. It will not let me I guess the copy is blocked. If you wouldn’t mind me having it could you email it to me at I am hoping to be able to take my daughters graduation pictures.