Photography Terminology

On this page you will find samples, examples and terms to use when communicating your photography needs. Portraits go beyond capturing a personality. If we know ahead of time a style or feel of the photograph you desire, we can help you better achieve the results you envision for your project.

If you or your client has a photo session scheduled with us, click here for tips on wardrobe.


Types of Portraits

Artificial Backdrop & Lighting. Studio set up can be also on location where we bring backgrounds and studio lighting.
Shot on location using surroundings as a background. Usually used to photograph executives in their place of business. Head & Shoulders can be environmental too. They can be in an office or outside.

  Types of Lighting / Background

High Key Lighting
Light background. Highlights dominate the photo. Can be studio or environmental.
Low Key Lighting
Black/Dark Background. Shadows dominate the photo. Generally more “moody” lighting.
Some Headshot Background Options
1. Traditional: mottled / gradated tone backdrop. 2. Plain color background 3. Black or white. 4. Environmental

Effects of Different Types Lenses

Wide Angle Lens
Used to place emphasis on subject, but includes a wider view of background for added information. Also used to distort the foreground, such as making heads bigger and feet smaller. Makes background feel farther away.
Telephoto Lens
Used to place more emphasis on subject without the distraction of a wide view of background. Compresses background so it seems closer to subject.
Depth of Field
Shallow depth of field makes complete blurry background. Medium depth of field allows you to comprehend the background, though it’s still blurry. A lot of depth of field has both foreground and background in focus. 
“Tight” vs. “loose.” Tight composition:  Cropped in with no room for additional cropping. Loose has a lot of extra room around your main subject. 

  Types of Photography

Used to sell a product or service
Images that reflect what a company does, who the people are that make up the company, and how they serve the community.
Used to show personality of subject.
Used to tell a story. Photojournalism photos are never set up or recreated. Truth in photo is as important as truth in the story. 
Commercial, corporate or public relation photos that provide example of what a company does. Photo is not true journalism and is a set up opportunity or recreated to look real.
Coverage of events, usually for photojournalism or public relation purposes, such as press conferences, corporate parties, or news events. 
Shot on location or studio, usually meant to sell a product or a look.
When 2 or more photos are combined to create an effect.