depth of field (DOF): The amount of the picture that is in focus. A smaller aperture will create a larger depth of field, and a bigger aperture will create a bigger depth of field.
aperture: The opening that allows light into the camera. Most cameras can change the size of this opening.
exposure: How bright/dark a picture is. There are three ways of changing exposure, see this article for more information on this subject.
ISO: An ISO of 100 is normal. raising this value will cause the camera to artificially brighten the picture after the picture is taken. This is extremely useful when the camera is automatically trying to figure out the correct shutter speed or f-stop for a given scene. By raising the ISO, the camera knows it doesn’t need as high of a shutter speed, or as low of an f-stop to get a correct exposure. higher ISO values will result in more noise.
shutter speed: How long the shutter will be open. Longer shutter speeds will blur motion, and shorter shutter speeds will freeze motion.
f-stop: A Unit of measurement for the size of the aperture. A bigger f-stop corresponds to a smaller aperture. A big f-stop number will give you a smaller depth of field.
histogram: A chart that shows the amount of pixels at different brightness levels.
angle of view: The angle at which a camera captures light.
focal length: How far away the focal point is. This is changed by zooming in and out. A higher focal length will shorten the angle of view, and as such zooming in will give a different affect than walking closer to the subject. focal length is measured in mms. A focal length will give different results depending on the sensor size, and as such focal lengths are often given as the equivalent value if a 35mm sensor were to be used.
tungsten light: Lighting from incandescent light bulbs
ambient light: The natural lighting in a scene
color temperature: The warmth or coolness of a colors. color temperature is measured on a kelvin scale where each color corresponds to the temperature required to get radiation from a black body that is the same color as the color being measured.
color balance: The process of tuning the color temperature to get desired look. A normal color balance would represent what we perceive as white under the current lighting conditions as white in the picture.
burn/dodge: The process of selectively brightening (dodging) or darkening (burning) parts of an image.
noise/grain: A pixel or a small patch of pixels that differ from the actual value. Noise is more prominent in darker areas of a picture. The term grain is used instead of noise in film.
diffusion: The scattering of light that occurs with bigger apertures causing a picture to appear blurred.
fill light: Light that is used to fill in the darker side of an object.
framing: Composing an image so that an object encompasses the edges of the picture. Windows, door-frames, and tree branches are often used to frame a picture.
hyperfocal distance: The distance to the closest object that is in focus when the camera is focused at infinity.
high/low key: A high key image is bright, evenly lit, and has blown out highlights. A low key image is dark, and mostly obscured in shadows except for the main subject which is lit up.
macro lens: A lens designed for capturing close ups of tiny objects, or parts of a bigger object.
panning: The process of moving rotating the camera to keep a moving object in the same position within the viewfinder or LCD screen. This has the result of keeping the moving object in crisp focus, while blurring the background.
reflector: A material that is used to reflect light into the picture.
stepping down/up a stop: This is a phrase used to refer to changing the exposure by one stop. A stop of light is a unit of measurement for exposure.
prime lens: A lens that is fixed at a single focal length. It isn’t possible to zoom with a prime lens. A equally priced prime lens will be of better quality than a zoom lens.