Glossary of Digital Photography Terms: G – H – I – J

This Glossary of Digital Photographic Terms (A through Z) was originally compiled as a handout for the basic digital photography class I teach.  As posted in this photo blog it is a “living document” laid out in six blog postings.  The definitions will be expanded, updated and upgraded as needed.  Feel free to suggest additional terms for the list.  Email me at: .

Gray Card  A card that reflects back 18% of the light hitting the card surface.  Digital camera light meters are calculated for 18% reflectance.

Histogram  A visual representation of the exposure values of a digital image. Histograms are shown in graph form and display the light values of the image’s shadows, mid-tones, and highlights as vertical peaks and valleys along a horizontal plane.

Hot Shoe  The device on a camera that holds an external flash or provides the cable connection from flash to the camera.


Image Sensor  A digital camera’s solid-state capture device, made up of a grid-like arrangement of red-, green-, and blue-sensitive elements.

Image Stabilization  An optical or digital system for removing or reducing camera movement.

Intellectual property  Any product of a creative mind that is fixed in a tangible form of expression and, thus, is thereafter protected by patent, copyright, or trademark laws.

ISO (International Standards Organization)  The ISO setting on a camera determines how sensitive the camera sensor is to light.  A low setting such as 100 is used in a bright situation where the camera needs to be less sensitive to light.  In contrast, a high ISO such as 800 or higher 1600 is low-light situations to make the camera more sensitive to the available light.  ISO is equivalent to ASA.

AUTO ISO – digital camera automatically sets the ISO speed according the brightness of the scene, increasing or decreasing the sensitivity.  Photographer has no control over which ISO number is used.

ISO 80 – When taking photos in bright light; excellent for close-ups, landscape, and portraits. Produces fine detail and image quality.

ISO 100 – Extra sensitivity with little, if any, reduced image quality.

ISO 200 – Acceptable image quality, with some visible noise.  Good for cloudy and overcast days.

ISO 400 – suitable for indoor photography whether or not a flash is used. Useful for “stop-action” and sports photographs.

ISO 800, 1600 and above – useful in very low light, or outside in good light when increased shutter speeds are required. Results can be disappointing when shooting at these high numbers with compact digital cameras, so take test photos before photographing an important event.


JPEG (Pronounced jay-peg)   Joint Photographic Experts Group :  The primary file format used by digital cameras; also the leading format for online and Web pictures.

JPEG+Raw  A camera setting that creates both a Camera Raw file and a JPEG file of a picture.

November 17, 2011


About Dan Welihan

Photographer, teacher

Posted on November 17, 2011, in Basic Digital Photography, Camera to Computer & More, Creativity & Composition, Photo Class Handouts, Photo Glossary and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Glossary of Digital Photography Terms: G – H – I – J.

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