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A Quick Guide to Photography Buzzwords

Photography is the art, application, and practice of taking and processing photographs. You can use it for many things: just for fun, a school project, news, and even investigations. It is safe to say it plays a big part in a lot of things. Many people still might think photography is simply the act of taking pictures without rhyme or reason. It is actually very technical and complex, especially when done in a professional setting like the latter examples mentioned above.

Taking the perfect photograph requires a lot more than what you may think, for there are many factors to consider when doing so. It is more than just the special gear and lenses. There are other aspects such as timing, angles, poses, positioning, and so on. These are common among photographers, even though they belong to different industry branches (with the most familiar being fashion photographers, travel photographers, and product photographers). Despite having different subjects, they have another thing in common besides the gear and methodologies: they all need to know the professional terms and slang involved in the process.

Photography is actually filled with a bunch of technical terms, which can be especially confusing for beginners. There are words like chimping and gobo that won’t ring a bell right away. In this blog post, we will be focusing on a few of the most common terms in the industry to help you understand what exactly is going on out in the picture-taking field. So without further ado, here are…

Photography Buzzword Essentials You NEED to Know

1.Chimping-When you hear this word said in the studio or wherever you may be shooting, it means anything but good. When a photographer is chimping, they are using a lot of time for nothing. It is best to try to speed things along when this word is thrown about.

2.Gobo-This is an object placed inside or in front of any scattered or unnecessary light to keep it from falling on the subject. This term often refers to the black side of a reflector, but it could be many other things: a folder, book, or even a person, just as long as it can block light.

3.Tog-This is one of the simpler and most common words you’ll hear as a photographer, for tog is just a shortened version of the term photographer.

4.Spray and Pray-This means exactly what you think it means. Spraying and praying is the act of putting your camera on burst, shooting several photos per second, and hoping to get the perfect shot. This technique is commonly used in fashion, with the tog instructing the model to do a bunch of poses as the camera runs.

5.Machine Gunner-This term refers to a photographer who uses the spray-and-pray method often. It is when togs take a lot of photos but only need one good shot. You’ll see that photographers like this often carrying a lot of memory cards.

6.OOF-Not to be confused with Gen-Z slang, OOF is when a photo is taken without focus or when some parts of the image are without focus. It can be done on purpose or not. However, it is more often the latter than we’d like to admit.

7.Uncle Bob-This is a professional photographer’s worst nightmare. An Uncle Bob is a relative in a certain family function, usually a wedding, who thinks they can outdo the hired professional. Uncle Bobs often interrupt them or try to take pictures themselves as the photographer is shooting.

8.Pixel Peeper-This is a photographer or person who examines and scrutinizes a picture for a long time, observing the overall image quality to know if retakes are needed. This is often the cause of chimping.

9.Grip and Grin-Grip and grin is a phrase used to describe a photo of people looking towards the camera while smiling and shaking hands. This is typically taken during or after political events and contests. It is the type of shot a news photographer is most familiar with.

10.Shutterbug-An American coined term, this means a person who lives in photographs and is often seen with a camera 24/7, no matter where or when. There is also a British equivalent of this word, shutter nutter, but shutterbug is most commonly used. (not to be confused with shutterbug, which means a beginner photographer.)

Now you know some of the most common and most confusing photography buzzwords out there. This can help you understand whatever is going on in and out of the studio. However, this isn’t all the slang that’s out there. You can learn for yourself a lot more by simply going to shoots and asking your fellow photographers questions. It is a simple hear-and-learn process that gets a lot easier the longer you hear and use the terms. Before you know it, you’ll know photographer lingo inside and out!

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