Photographic Dictionary "L to Z".

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LUMINOUS:  Emitting Light


Letter "M":


MATTE:  Dull as contrasted with glossy.  In reference to the surface of a printing paper


MPS MATCH:  The failure of the three D-log (D-log E) curves for a color material to superimpose.


MODELING:  A three dimensional lighting effect on objects being photographed or on the resulting photographs.


MONTAGE:  The process of assembling separate prints or other images on a common support, as by adhesive or successive printing from several negatives.


MOTIF:  A nt figure in a photograph or other work of art.


Letter "N":


NEGATIVE:  A photograph image in which light subject tones are reproduced.  As dark (dense) and dark tones as light (thin).


NEUTRAL TEST CARD:  A panel, usually with an 18% reflectance gray surface on one side and a 90% reference white surface on the other. 


Letter "O".


OBJECT DISTANCE:  In optics, the linear separation of the subject from the front nodal point of the lens.


OIL COLORING:  The process for applying, by hand, pigments to a black – and – white or toned photograph.


OPEN UP:  To increase the size of the aperture in a camera, the converse of stop down.


OPTICS:  The study of the properties and behavior of light, especially the effects on light of lenses, mirrors.




OPTIMUN APERTURE:  For a lens, that diaphragm opening that yields the best sharpness at the plane of correct focus. 


ORANGE:  A hue intermediate between yellow and red. 


OVER EXPOSURE:  An excessive quantity of light on a photographic material.



Letter  "P".


PAINTING WITH LIGHT:  The practice of moving a light source over a scene while the camera shutter is open.


PAN:  To move the camera about a vertical axis to record a scene over a wide angle. 


PANORAMIC CAMERA:  An apparatus for producing an image that covers a wide horizontal field of view. 


PAPER:  A base for photographic prints, made of wood or other fibers formed into a sheet.


PAPER GRADE:  Numerical designation of photographic printing papers from 0 (very low contrast) to 6 (very high contrast).



PARALLAX:  The apparent shift in relative position (or shape) of an object when it is viewed from different positions.


PASSBAND:  That region of the spectrum in which a given filter has little absorption and , therefore, “passes” radiant energy or light within a specific range of wavelengths or color.


PASTEL:  Any color of low saturation (chroma).  I.E. pink; lavender.


PRECEPTION:  A psychological process that includes sensation, memory, and thought, and results in recognition, and under standing,


PERSPECTIVE:  The impression of depth when a three dimensional scene is represented in a two dimensional photograph or drawing.


PH:  A measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a substance, especially of water solutions. 


PHOTO GENIC:  As applied to a , attractive, photographing well.


PHOTOGRAPH:  A relatively permanent image produced by the angle of light on a sensitive material. 


PHOTOGRAPHY:  Broadly, the science, engineering, art, and craft of producing relatively permanent images by the action of light on sensitive materials.


PIGMENT:  A colored substance used in inks, paints, consisting of finely divided and relatively opaque particles. 


POLARIZER:  A filter that transmits light waves which vibrate essentially only in a single direction (plane).


PORTRAIT:  A photograph of a person and , by extension, of an animal, flower, etc.


PRINT:  A photographic image, usually made from a negative or a positive image, rather than directly from an original scene. 


PRISM:  A transparent optical element having only flat surfaces, used to reflect, refract or disperse radiation. 


PROOF:  A test print, made to check lighting, subject arrangement, expression of a , cropping etc., or photographic characteristics such as contrast and density level. 


PROP:  Short for property.


PUSHING:  The process of attempting to increase effective film speed by increasing the degree of develop

ment (time, temperature, developer activity).


Letter "Q".


QUALITY:  As applied to light source, implying color, as in the phrase “daylight quality”.


Letter  "R".


RADIANT:  Having to do with energy transfer by electro magnetic waves.


RANGE:  The difference between maximum and minimum values in a set of similar data.


RATIO:  Quotient, obtained by dividing one value by another. 


RAY:  In optics, a beam of light or other radiation of infinitely small diameter, represented by a line. 


R.C.:  Resin coated, identifying photo graphic papers treated so that they absorb little liquid during processing. 


REAR NODAL POINT:  Un deviated ray of light the intersection of the emergent ray of light, the intersection of the emergent ray with the lens optical axis.


RECIPROCITY LAW (Failure):  The law is a statement that the photographic response will be constant if the quantity of light received by the photo sensitive material is constant regardless of the rate at which the energy is supplied.


RED:  As applied to a hue, associated with long spectral waves, beyond about 650 nano-meters.


REPLECTION:  Deviation of energy at a boundary between two different materials, such that the direction of the energy flow changes but the energy remains in the first material. 


REFLECTOR:  A device used with light and radiation sources to direct the energy by reflection in the desired direction. 


REFLECTION:  That behavior of light rays associated with a change in velocity when there is a change of optical medium.


RIM:  Applied to a type of back lighting in which the subject appears to be outlined with light. 


POD:  A light-sensitive element in the retina, responsive especially at low light levels but with out hue discrimination.


Letter  "S".


            SCALE:  The subject matter of a photography, usually implying a broad aspect. 


            SCLERA:  White of eyes.


            SELENIUM TONER:  A bath used for black and white prints to modify the color of the image and to produce the silver image against chemical damage caused by air borne sulfur compounds. 



            SENSITIVITY SPECK:  A small spot on or within a silver halide grain that acts as the site at which the latent image begins to be formed. 


            SHOULDER:  The high density portion of the characteristic D-log H (D-log E) curve of a photographic material where the graph becomes progressively more nearly horizontal, indicating diminishing contrast.


           SHUTTER:  A device that controls the time of exposure.


           SHUTTER SPEED:  The effective exposure time produced by a shutter, usually defined as the time internal between the half open and half closed position of shutter. 


           SIDE LIGHT:  Illumination on the subject approximately laterally perpendicular in direction to the camera axis, as distinct from front and back light.


           SILVER:  A metal, some compounds of which are uniquely sensitive to radiation.


           SOUP:  A developing bath.


           SPECTRUM:  A display of radiation along a scale of wavelengths. 


           SPEED:  As applied to a lens, a measure of its capacity to admit light to the image.


           STATE OF THE ART:  At any given time, the best obtainable process, device, or system.


           STEREO CAMERA:  A pair of photographs, of the same subject, taken from different view points and mounted for viewing so that a simulation of a three-dimensional image is obtained.


           STIMULUS:  A physical condition that may be detected by a sensory system. 


           STOP:  An aperture that limits the size of the light beam which can pass through an optical system. 


          STOP BATH:  An acid, used to halt developments in silver halide photographic processing by lowering the Ph below that at which the developing agents function. 


          STOP DOWN:  To reduce the aperture of a lens. 


          SUBLIMINAL:  Applied to a stimulus that is below the intensity required for conscious perception. 


          SURFACE:  The sheen, tint, and texture of a printing paper.  Sheen ranges from glossy to mat, texture from to rough. 


          SURREALISM:  A school of art, and hence, of photography, that is based on freud-inspired experimentation with automatism and , that especially emphasized imagery related to dreams and the unconscious.


          Letter  "T".


          T: Time, (1. shutter setting, 2. transmittance)


          THIN:  As applied to negative, having to small a density. 


          THREEQUARTER VIEW:  An image that includes the head and torso.


          THRESHOLD:  A levels of response, as in photography or vision, just above no response what so ever. 


          TIGHT:  Close to the subject, as a camera, tight cropping, with subject filling the frame. 


          TINT:  That difference between two colors which may be produced by adding white pigments to pigments of noticeable hue. 


          TOE:  The region of the D-log H (D-log E)  curve  associated with small exposures.


          TONE:  A part of a subject or an image identifiable in terms of its lightness, I.E., as related to a gray scale. 


         TONER:  A chemical bath used to change the hue of prints.  Examples:  Sepia toner; selenium toner, copper toners, gold toners, and platinum toners. 


         TOTAL COLOR BLINDNESS:  Monochromatism.


         TOTAL DARKNESS:  The complete absence of light.


         TRANSMISSION:  The penetration of energy, especially light, through a material. 


         TRICHROMATIC:  Three color.  Applied to a color photographic process that comprises three sensitive materials, each sensitized to a different major region of the spectrum (Blue, Green, and Red).


         Letter  "U".


         UMBRELLA:  A light reflector, often used with studio lamps, constructed like a parasol.


         UNDERDEVELOPMENT:  Processing a photographic material for too short a time, at too low a temperature, with insufficient agitations, or in a weak developer. 


         UNDEREXPOSURE:  The provision of too little light for a correct response of a photo sensitive material. 


        Letter  "V".


         VALUE:  In the munsell system of color nomenclature, a numerical designation of lightness.  White has a high value.  Black, a low value.


         VIEW CAMERA:  An apparatus for exposing film, typically having the following characteristics:  large film size;  ground glass viewing to perm it image composition and focusing; capability of lateral, vertical, and angular.  Adjustments for the lens and the film-holding camera back; considerable bellows extension; accommodation for interchangeable lenses. 


         VIGNETTE:  In making photographic negatives or prints, to cause the subject gradually to merge into a featureless surround.


         VISUAL:  Having to do with the human eye.


         Letter  "W".


         WARM-TONE:  Tending to produce images that are slightly yellowish or reddish, as distinct from neutral or cold tome (slightly bluish). 


        WAVELENGTH:  The distance between two corresponding points in an oscillation that moves in space. 


        WEAK:  As applied to perspective, conveying little impression of depth.  Tor prints or negative lacking in density or contrast.


        WHITE:  As applied to a reflecting surface, highly reflective, nearly neutral and diffused worm’s-eye low point of view converse of bird’s-eye.


        Letter   "X".


         X-AXIS:  In graphs, the left-right line, on which are placed values for the input data. 


         Letter  "Y".


         Y-AXIS:  In graphs, the up-down (vertical) line on which are placed values for the output data.


         YELLOW:  The color name for the hue associated with wave lengths of light between green and red, I.E. near 580 nano-meters.


         Letter  "Z".


         Z:  In a three dimensional coordinate system, one of the three mutually perpendicular lines defining the system.


         ZONE SYSTEM:  A method of making pictorial photographs based on the concept of a visual change in negative exposure of one stop (a factor of 2x).  Such a change is called a zone.  Most prints contain about 9 zones.  Zone 10 is a middle gray in the print.



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