Photography has a language all of its own; a rich mix of camera jargon, lens acronyms and technical buzzwords that can be an utterly baffling sea of noise to beginners. Forget photography slang terms and DSLR doublespeak, though. It’s the other things that photographers say – or rather don’t say – that are often more confusing. If they describe themselves as a ‘fine-art’ landscape photographer, what are they really trying to say?
To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of things that photographers say, and provided translations of their true meanings. What I try to evoke through my photography is the feeling I experienced at the time of pressing the shutter. I can’t light a portrait to save my life – but craggy old folk or homeless people in unflattering light? Having to herd wedding guests into shape for a formal group portrait – let alone talk to them – absolutely terrifies me. Hell, if you don’t think my pictures are any good now, you should have seen them a few years ago, before I read a photography magazine!
Yeah, those photos on my Flickr are supposed to be as blurred and badly composed as one of your dad’s Polaroids from the 70s – they’re documentary style, see?

I believe that a full-frame camera will instantly allow me to make professional-looking pictures. I’m starting to regret how much I’ve blown on lenses that I can’t face lugging around any longer. I’m convinced that my current, high-quality gear is the real reason I’m not fulfilling my creative vision. I’m not confident with this expensive camera – these dials and menus might as well all be in Latin. I’m more at ease talking about the mechanics of photography than entering into a discussion of the artistic merits of your picture. I’d rather spend hours touching up this photo than finding a better angle that doesn’t include that barbed-wire fence. I try to get everything right in-camera, but often fail and have to do a patch-up job in Photoshop. But, with the internet and all, it doesn’t take long to know your f-stops from your fill-flash, and be able to separate HDR, DOF and TTL.
When a fellow photographer says that they’re ‘completely self-taught’ what are they actually trying to tell us?

I mean, I can shuffle the Unsharp Mask sliders left and right a bit, but I really have no idea what I’m doing.
Or rather, I don’t see stuff as I tend to shoot at the fastest frame rate and HOPE TO GOD I get something. The widest focal length you’ll catch me with at a wedding is the short end of a 70-200mm zoom. Besides, I’ve read that the other system will give me a half-stop ISO advantage, and that really will make all the difference to someone like me who doesn’t make a living from photography.
You look like a real photographer, and I’d like to take EXACTLY the same picture as the one that you’re taking right now. Extreme care was taken to enhance all aspects of her comfort and style, while maintaining her pedigree as a true performance yacht.

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