Glossary of Digital Photography Terms: K – L – M – N

This Glossary of Digital Photographic Terms (A through Z) was originally compiled as a handout for the basic digital photography class I teach.  As shown 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.

Landscape Mode  The orientation of an image in which the longest dimension is horizontal.

LCD Screen (Liquid Crystal Display)  The type of display screen on the back of most digital cameras.

LED (Light Emitting Diode)  The colored indicator lights used on most cameras, power supplies and electronic devices.

Lens  One or more elements of optical glass or plastic that collects and focuses light rays to form a sharp image on the digital sensor.

Lithium-Ion  A type of rechargeable battery that was originally developed for use with camcorders, and is now used as a power source for many digital still cameras.

License  A legal agreement granting permission to use a work for certain purposes or under certain conditions. Cartoon and film characters, for example, can be used on merchandise (and in some classroom applications) only through a license granted by the copyright owner for that specific purpose.

Lossless  Refers to storing an image in a non-compressed format, such as TIFF.


Macro Mode   See Close Focus Mode.

Matrix Metering  Also called multi-zone metering. A metering mode that calculates exposure based on the entire frame.

Megapixel One million pixels.

Memory Card  Most digital cameras do not have on-board storage capacity.  To store images you need a memory card.  Memory cards are available in several types, Secure Digital (SD), Compact Flash (CF), Memory Stick (MS), SmartMedia (SM) and more.  The memory card or cards for your camera is determined by what digital camera you buy.  The cards are physically different and are not interchangeable.  Memory cards capacity ranges from 1 to 32 gigabytes and larger.  Ideally you want the largest capacity and highest speed memory card that works with your camera.  Of course, the price of a memory card increases with increased memory and speed.  Format new memory cards in the camera before use.  Re-format the card to remove images after your images have been securely saved on your computer.

Metadata  Extra data that gets stored along with the primary image data in an image file. Metadata often includes information such as aperture, shutter speed, and EV setting used to capture the picture, and can be viewed using special software. Often referred to as EXIF metadata.

Metering Mode  Refers to the way a camera’s auto exposure mechanism reads the light in a scene.

Monopod  A one-legged support used to steady the camera.

Multi-Zone Metering  See Matrix Metering.


Noise  Graininess in an image, caused by too little light, a too high ISO setting, or a defect in the electrical signal generated during the image-capture process.

December 1, 2011



About Dan Welihan

Photographer, teacher

Posted on December 1, 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: K – L – M – N.

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