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"S" terms

"Safelight" to "Synch cord"

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SAFELIGHT - A lamp, typically in a darkroom, that allows a person to view light-sensitive material without it being altered by the light. The lamp is generally coated with or enclosed in a partially-translucent filter that screens out light rays to which the film or paper are sensitive.

SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE II "BEST FACE" - A feature of the Samsung Galaxy Note II smart phone that is similar to the BLACKBERRY 10 smart phone's "time shift" feature that allows the photographer who takes a picture with the phone's built-in camera "to go forward or backwards in time." Essentially the camera rapidly takes a number of pictures milliseconds apart when the shutter button is depressed. The user can blend the pictures to compose an "ideal" photograph - one, for example, in which all the people in the final photo may be smiling or have their eyes open.

SANDWICHING - Combining two (or more) negatives or slides for simultaneous printing or viewing.

SATURATION - The degree of hue (intensity) in color in an image. Saturated color can be termed strong, rich, vivid, intense or deep. Desaturated color can be termed weak, pale, washed out or dull. An oversaturated image's colors are too intense.

SCALE is often revealed only when an object of known size is introduced in a photograph.
SCALE is often revealed only when an object of known size is introduced in a photograph.

SCALE - (1) The relative size of an object. (2) A set of marks to indicate distances at which a lens is focused, often engraved near the focusing ring on a lens.

SCANNER - Electronic device that captures an impression of an object (commonly a photographic print or other flat document) and converts it into a digital image which can be edited and saved on a computer.

SCENE MODE - Allows you to select one of a camera's pre-programmed exposure modes suited to the type of subject or setting being photographed to automatically give appropriate exposure settings (ISO, shutter speed and aperture) for each scene - e.g. Beach/Snow, Landscape, Fireworks, Macro, Night portrait, Night scene, Portrait, Dusk/Dawn, Sport, Kids and Pets, Food, Sunsets and more.

SCREEN GRAB - (aka Screen print or Screen shot.) An image captured from the screen of a computer's monitor.

SCREEN PRINT - See Screen grab above.

SCREEN SHOT - See Screen grab above.

SCRIPT - In computer parlance, a small program within a larger application that performs a set routine of operations, also called a "macro" or an "action."

SCSI - Small Computer Systems Interface - An aging interface for attaching a peripheral such as a scanner to your computer, now being relegated to obscurity by USB and Firewire interfaces. Note that SCSI can only be plugged in when the computer is off.

SEGMENTED - See "Stitch" below.

SELECTION TOOL - An image-editing software tool used to select an area or areas of pixels to be acted upon. For instance, the selected pixels can be moved, deleted, copied and so on without affecting the image's unselected pixels.

SELECTIVE FOCUS - Employing shallow depth of field through the use of a wide aperture so that the properly-focused subject is isolated from its surroundings because the surroundings are purposefully not in focus.

SELFIE or SELFY - A photographic self portrait usually taken with a hand-held camera - often a cell phone camera - at arm’s length - or one’s own reflection photographed in a mirror.

SELF-TIMER - Mechanism that can be set to automatically release the shutter following a timed delay, usually covering a delay range of up to 10 seconds. Its principal use occurs when the photographer wishes to be included in the picture, but it is also useful in avoiding camera movement or vibration during time exposures.(Also known as “Delayed action”)

SENSITIZED - To be made photo-sensitive. Photo-sensitive paper for making prints has been "sensitized."

SENSITIVITY - The degree to which a photographic emulsion or a digital camera reacts to light. Fast film, for example, has greater sensitivity than slow film.

SENSOR - Also called the "image sensor" or "imaging sensor." A digital camera's sensor is a light-sensitive chip that records the scene being photographed in a similar manner to film in a traditional camera. Unlike film, the sensor does not store the image. It is stored on the digital camera's media.

SENSOR SPEED - A digital camera's image sensor can be adjusted to compensate for different light levels to prevent underexposure, permitting you to take pictures in reduced light without flash, and to prevent overexposure in bright light. You are generally advised to select your camera's lowest sensor speed that allows you to use the shutter speed and aperture settings needed for the proper exposure of your subject.

SEPIA - Reddish-brown tone applied to a monochrome image to give it the appearance of an old fashioned photograph.

A professional photography studio's barn scene SET.
A professional photography studio's barn scene SET.

SET - A specific area in which objects and persons are photographed - generally in a photo studio - and comprised of a backdrop and props.

SHADOW DETAIL - Detail that is visible in an image's darker areas.

SHARP - When describing an image's general appearance, "sharp" refers to a crisp, properly-focused picture, the opposite of one that is fuzzy and unfocused.

SHARPENING - Increasing a digital picture's apparent sharpness using an image-editing program.

SHARPNESS - An image’s degree of clarity in terms of focus and contrast.

SHEET FILM - Piece of film sized for one exposure in a view camera.

SHOOT - As a verb, to "shoot" is to take a picture. As a noun, a "shoot" is a photography session.

SHOOTING DISTANCE - The distance from the camera to the subject.

SHORT LENS - A lens having a short focal length - generally a wide-angle lens.

SHORT LIGHTING - Also called "narrow lighting," short lighting is arrived at when the main light completely illuminates only the side of the subject's face that is turned away from the camera.

SHUTTER - A movable cover for an opening. In photography, that opening is the lens - more specifically, the aperture. The shutter blocks the passage of light traveling through the lens to the film or image sensor when it is closed, and allows light to reach the film/ image sensorwhen it is open. Shutters are composed of blades, a curtain, a plate or another movable cover. They control the amount of time that light is allowed to pass through the opening to reach the film/image sensor.

SHUTTER LAG - Using a digital camera, the delay that occurs between pressing the shutter release button and the actual moment the picture is taken.

SHUTTER PRIORITY (Sometimes called Time Value or Tv) - An exposure mode (in a camera with automatic exposure control) that permits the photographer to preset shutter speed while the camera automatically determines the aperture setting required for proper exposure.

SHUTTER SPEED - The amount of time that a camera's shutter remains open. Shutter speed controls the duration of an exposure - the faster the Shutter speed, the shorter the exposure time.

SIDE LIGHTING - Light falling on a subject from the side relative to the camera position.

A SILHOUETTE is a dark shape with no three-dimensionality.
A SILHOUETTE is a dark shape with no three-dimensionality.

SILHOUETTE - A dark image outlined against a lighter background. A silhouette has shape but not form since it is two-dimensional.

SIMPLE CAMERA - A camera operated with minimal adjustment by the photographer, such as a point-and-shoot. Simple cameras usually do not have to be focused, and have only a single aperture and one or a couple of shutter speeds.

SINGLE LENS REFLEX - (SLR) A camera with one lens only for both viewing and picture-taking. The image is reflected onto a viewing screen by a moveable mirror in the camera. The mirror flips out of the way just before the shutter opens, permitting light to strike the film or digital camera's image sensor. It allows you as the photographer to capture exactly what you see in terms of focus and composition.

SINGLE-USE CAMERA - Camera that is used only once. It is disposed of after the film is removed for processing.

SKYLIGHT FILTER - a UV filter with a pale rose tinge to it to warm up images. Intended for use with daylight-type color slide films to reduce excess bluishness.

SLAVE UNIT - Also called "Slave Flash" or "Photo Slave." A light-sensitive triggering device that is built in or attached to an electronic flash unit, causing the flash to fire simultaneously with another flash unit.

SLIDE - A single frame of exposed transparency film mounted for protection and to facilitate use in a slide projector.

SLIDE FILM - Film used in making slides. Also known as "Transparency film," "Positive film" or "Reversal film."

SLOW FILM - Film with relatively low sensitivity to light - typically having a film speed in or lower than the ISO 50 range.

SLOW LENS -A lens with a relatively narrow maximum aperture -ƒ/8, for example.

SLOW SYNC - A flash mode used with a slow shutter speed to take a picture that contains both blurred and sharp objects. For example, the shutter remains open to make a blurred exposure without flash of an object in motion and then the flash is activated to "freeze" the object.

SLR - Abbreviation for Single Lens Reflex - See definition above.

SMALL FORMAT SENSOR - A digital camera's sensor that is physically smaller than a 35mm film frame. Because most digital cameras have a small-format sensor, standard lenses designed for 35mm film cameras (and for full-size sensors) appear to function like longer lenses. See Using 35mm SLR lenses on dSLR camera bodies for detailed information.

SMARTMEDIA - Brand name for one type of digital camera's re-usable memory card on which images taken by the camera are stored.

SMEAR - White streaks from a powerful light source, such as reflected sunlight or the sun itself, that appear on an image captured by a digital camera's CCD.

SNAPSHOT - An informal photograph, especially one taken quickly by a simple, hand-held camera.

SNOOT - A shield fitted to a lamp used to direct a concentrated beam of light onto a scene.

A diffusion filter is effective at creating a SOFT FOCUS effect in portraits.
A diffusion filter is effective at creating a SOFT FOCUS effect in portraits.

SOFT FOCUS - A soft look achieved by bending some of the light from the subject so it is defocused while the rest remains in focus. Highlights are actually dispersed onto adjacent areas. The image still looks properly-focused overall, but its components are just enough out-of-focus that they are softened. Lines are slightly fuzzy and small details seem to disappear.

SOFT LIGHTING - Low contrast illumination.

SOFT NEG - A low contrast negative. A high contrast negative is called a Hard Neg.

SOLARIZATION - Print solarization occurs when a photographic print is partially developed, then exposed to white light before the print is completely developed. The effect is a reversal of all or some tones - i.e. some of the image appears to be positive while other portions of it appear to be negative. (Note: Some darkroom technicians obtain the effect by first completely developing the print, then exposing it to white light before immersing it in stop bath.) Black and white and color films and papers that are based on silver halide emulsions can also be solarized.

SPATIAL RESOLUTION - Also known as PPI - (pixels per inch). Refers to the number of pixels in a digital image. Images with higher spatial resolution are composed with a larger number of pixels than images with lower spatial resolution.

SPEC SHOT - A photograph taken on "speculation" that a photographer hopes will be sold on its own merits.

SPECTRAL SENSITIVITY - The relative response of a light-sensitive emulsion to wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum.

SPECULAR HIGHLIGHTS - Bright light spots reflected from a shiny surface or an object's edges.

SPEED - A measure of the sensitivity to light of a photographic emulsion. May also refer to the sensitivity setting employed in a digital camera.

SPLIT LIGHTING - In a studio, the main light is placed so that it completely illuminates one side of the face while leaving the other side in shadow. It's a true lighting split - half light, half-dark.

SPLIT NEUTRAL DENSITY FILTER - Another name for a Gradated neutral density filter.

SPOT METER - A type of exposure meter with an acceptance angle of 1 degree or less used to obtain reflected light readings of a small area of a scene.

SPOTTING - Retouching of a photographic print using a brush with watercolors or dyes, or a pencil, to get rid of blemishes caused by dust or scratches on a negative.

SST - Super Spectra Coating - Canon's multi-layer coating applied to most of its FD lenses.

STAIN - The discolored parts of a print or film caused by insufficient fixing, washing or agitation during processing, or by contaminated processing solutions.

STANDARD LENS - Also termed a normal lens, a standard lens is a fixed focal length (non-zoom) lens that "sees" a scene in more or less the same proportions and perspective as does the human eye. A standard lens is neither a wide-angle (short) nor a telephoto (long) lens. A 35mm film camera's standard lens would be a 50 to 60mm lens, with a 55mm lens commonly accepted as representative. See Lens selection for info on standard and other lenses.

STATS - A model's statistical information - his or her measurements, size, height, etc.

STEP-UP RING - An adapter that is affixed to a lens or filter of one thread size permitting it to be attached as if it had another thread size.

A panorama created with more than two pictures STITCHED together can stretch out to be quite wide (or tall).
A panorama created with more than two pictures STITCHED together can stretch out to be quite wide (or tall).

STITCH - To join together one or more pictures, usually to make a panorama. A "stitched" or "segmented" image involves taking two or more photographs of a scene from the same camera position, with the camera rotating on a single axis and with each image (segment) partially over-lapping another so they can be joined together ("stitched") on your computer using image-processing software, resulting in a single extra-wide or extra-tall picture.

STOCK - In printing, the paper, card, canvas or plastic composite on which images, graphics and text are printed is called "stock." There are many variations in stock, facilitating stock selection for a particular purpose. These include such characteristics as thickness, weight, color, size, glossiness, weave, texture, lustre, opacity, acidity, smoothness, coatings and so on.

STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY - Stock photos are images that are not photographed for a specific client or predetermined use, but are catalogued for review and selection by a buyer who would have a use for the image. The permitted use of the purchased image is typically set out in the terms and conditions of the selling agency. When the images being sold are your property as their photographer, you stand to earn money for every image sold through most stock agencies, which also get a percentage of the sale.

(1) As a noun, a stop is a single aperture setting or shutter speed setting. A “one stop” change in exposure, which is equivalent to halving or doubling the amount of light, is achieved by changing either the aperture or the shutter speed to the next incremental setting - i.e. doubling or halving the shutter speed or aperture value. (A shutter speed of 1/125 sec is a one stop change from 1/250 sec. An aperture of f/5.6 is a one stop change from f/8.)
(2) As a verb, to "stop down" is to decrease exposure by reducing the size of the aperture or increasing shutter speed - e.g. a light meter reading may indicate that you should stop down by three stops for proper exposure.

STOP BATH - An acid bath or rinse (usually a weak solution of acetic acid) for stopping the action of a developer before fixing a negative or print.

STOP DOWN or STOPPING DOWN - Reducing aperture size to permit less light to pass through a lens, for example, from ƒ/16 to ƒ/22.

STOP UP or STOPPING UP - Increasing aperture size to permit more light to pass through a lens, for example, from ƒ/22 to ƒ/16.

STREET PHOTOGRAPHER - The original name for a paparazzo before the name "paparazzo" came into use.

STROBE - Although commonly used to describe an electronic flash, especially one used in a studio, a strobe (short for "stroboscope" or "stroboscopic lamp") actually refers to an intermittently-flashing, extremely-short duration, bright light source.

STUDIO - A room specially equipped for photography.

STYLIST - (1) In photography of people, a stylist selects and coordinates garments and accessories to be worn by the subject. (2) In food photography, a stylist prepares the food, designs the setting and arranges it for the photographer.

SUBJECT - (1) The principal object (person, animal, thing) in a photograph or being photographed. (2) A theme or topic in photography. (3) The most essential object in a photograph, without which the photograph’s purpose or meaning would be unclear.

SUBORDINATE OBJECT - An object that is given the least visual weight or importance in a picture where there is more than one object. A subordinate object often appears in the background, but not necessarily. It may also be less sharply-focused, smaller, darker or otherwise subordinate to other objects in the image.

SUPER SPECTRA COATING or SST - Canon's multi-layer coating applied to most of its FD lenses.

SUPERZOOM CAMERA - A camera having a body the size of an entry level dSLR, a sensor the size of a point and shoot camera and a fixed zoom lens that has a huge range of focal lengths, making it a "super" zoom. A superzoom lens could, for example, have an incredible 24mm to 840mm range. Superzoom cameras are sometimes referred to as Bridge cameras since they typically have relatively-small sensors.

SUPER ZOOM LENS - Also known as a "Hyperzoom lens." A lens with a very wide range of focal lengths.

SURVEILLANCE PHOTOGRAPHY - Also referred to as clandestine photography, surveillance photography is the photographing in secrecy of a person, object, activity or location.

SYNCHRONIZED FLASH - Flash that is coordinated with shutter speed such that the shutter is fully open when the flash illuminates the scene being photographed.

SYNCH CORD - Also "sync cord." An electrical cord connecting a camera to an electronic flash unit to permit synchronized flash.

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