with Courtney Slazinik
Photography A to Z
Photography A to Z

Photography is an amazing way to capture your life around you as well as share your unique perspective on how you view things. It can always be extremely overwhelming and feel like a foreign language. At least it did for me.

I put together a Photography A to Z for you. Think of this as a resource/guide to help you figure out parts of photography you may have not even realized you didn’t know. Or maybe it’s a guide to help you dive deeper into the meaning behind some of these words and concepts.

You will want to “pin” or bookmark this page as it will be one I’m sure you will reference in the future.

*This post contains affiliate links. Thanks in advance for supporting Click it Up a Notch.

Photography A to Z

Photography A to Z

  • No.
    A - Aperture

    Curious as to what makes those blurry backgrounds. It’s the aperture. The aperture plays an important role in the exposure triangle. Read more: Aperture-The Basics

  • No.
    B - Bokeh

    Those beautiful circles of light in the background of your image is the bokeh. It is best achieved when the light is coming in from behind your subject like peeking through the trees.

  • No.
    C - Composition

    Learning how to use composition to pull your viewer into the images is important to the story you want to tell. Composition plays a powerful role in your image and can take it from looking like a snapshot to a beautiful thought out photograph. Read more: Photography Composition Tutorials

  • No.
    D - Depth of Field

    Depth of field is often a term you will hear photographers talk about when they are looking at a particular image. Read more: Depth of Field for Beginners

  • No.
    E - Exposure Triangle

    When learning to shoot in manual mode, understanding the exposure triangle is key to a properly exposed image. The exposure triangle is made up of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Read more: Shooting in Manual Mode – The Basics

  • No.
    F - Flash

    If you are interested in learning to use flash, we don’t recommend using the pop-up flash on your camera. Instead, invest in a speed light or another off camera flash to help provide more light for your images. Read more: Speed light photography for beginners

  • No.
    G - Golden Ratio

    There are many ways to compose an image. The golden ratio is a method that artist have been using for years. In fact, you can find the golden ratio in nature as well.

  • No.
    H - Hand strap

    As a mother of little ones, I sometimes worry about having my neck strap hanging off the kitchen counter when the kids walk by. I found this useful hand strap which allows me to still have a strap without having to worry the kids will accidentally break my camera.

  • No.
    I - ISO

    ISO is an important piece of the exposure triangle as well as the factor that causes noise in an image. That being said, don’t be afraid to raise your ISO.

  • No.
    J - JPEG

    JPEG vs RAW? Which to choose? Something to keep in mind is not only the quality of the image you are taking but if you have an editing program to open, view and edit RAW images.

  • No.
    K - Kelvins

    My absolute favorite way to set my white balance. Not all camera’s have Kelvins but if your does, I highly recommend you giving it a shot as it may be easier for you to set your custom white balance. Read more: How to use Kelvins for White Balance

  • No.
    L - Lens

    Photographers love our gear. Figuring out what lens to buy can be a challenge. Which lens should you buy first? Maybe you know what you want to buy but aren’t sure if you are going to love it, rent it! If you are ready to get all your lens questions answered, Everything You Want to Know About Lenses.

  • No.
    M - Manual mode

    I encourage you to try manual mode for 2 weeks. Take complete control over your images. Understanding shutter speed, ISO, and aperture isn’t as scary as it looks. Learn how to use these three aspects together – How to shoot in manual mode – The basics

  • No.
    N - Noise

    The higher you raise your ISO the more noise is brought into your image. Often times, we need to raise the ISO to bring in more light and if that brings in noise you can easily correct that in post processing.

  • No.
    O - Overexposed

    If you find your images are too bright and white looking it may be that your image is overexposed. An overexposed sky doesn’t bother me but you need to be mindful if you are overexposing your subject’s skin or key subject in the image. If you find you are overexposing or the sun is too bright, you can always move to open shade.

  • No.
    P - Post Processing

    After you feel comfortable with the exposure triangle, the next step is to start learning how to edit your images. Personally, I edit every single one of my images. You don’t have to spend hours editing once you have a system that works for you. I can easily edit an image in seconds as I try my best to properly expose the image so I’m not fixing mistakes but just enhancing the image. I recommend Lightroom for editing. Read more – Editing tips

  • No.
    Q - (sorry, I don't have anything for this one)
  • No.
    R - Rule of thirds

    A composition guide most photographers learn first is the Rule of Thirds. It’s a fantastic guide that helps create interest and helps pull your viewer into the frame. Read more: Rule of Thirds

  • No.
    S - Shutter speed

    Shutter speed can freeze your image or help create movement. It is a fun feature to play around with. I love using it to create blur in my images. Read more – 7 tips to show movement with slow shutter speed

  • No.
    T - Tripod

    Learning how to take self portrait is not only a great way to get in the photo but helps push your creativity as well. Megan Cieloha and I are doing a weekly challenge on Instagram called #portraitsofme where each Monday we post a self portrait. We encourage you to join us. To make things easier, invest in a good tripod. It is great for self portraits, food photography, as well as low light photography. My tripod has been discontinued but this is similar – Manfrotto tripod

  • No.
    U - Unique Perspective

    Each photographer sees the world in their own unique way. Part of your journey will be figuring out how to capture images, your way. It can be a challenge to find your photography style which is why Beth Deschamp of Bethadilly Photography and I teamed up to create The Styled Photographer. She shares the tools and techniques she wishes she had to help you learn to share your unique perspective.

  • No.
    V - Vantage point

    When composing your shot, I encourage you to try at least 3 different vantage points. Often times the image you have in your head may be one thing but after you try two other vantage points you find there was a more interesting way to tell the story. Read more – One subject, different vantage points

  • No.
    W - White balance

    If you want your images to look professional, one sure fire way to do that is to have correct white balance. I highly suggest not relying on your camera’s auto white balance but learn to set it yourself. Read more – White balance: Comparing different methods

  • No.
    X - Xperiment (I know it's a stretch)

    Okay, I know this doesn’t start with an ‘X’ but it’s so important when on this journey to experiment with everything. Different lenses, different editing styles, different light and compositions. Play around. Figure out what it is you like and not what others are doing. You are on your own journey!

  • No.
    Y - Your life

    Many of us get into photography to photograph our children, I know that is my story. I wanted these beautiful everyday moments captured so I could fondly look back on them as the kids got older. I am a firm believer in photographing those everyday moments which is why I created The Unexpected Everyday. In this 30 day challenge you will not only learn the basics of photography – manual mode, light and composition, but you will be given daily prompts to help photograph the simple moments of your kids lives.

  • No.
    Z - Zoom lens

    Often times, photographers will say they are either team “prime” or “zoom” when it comes to lenses. Personally, I love a mix of both. But as far as zoom lenses go I’m obsessed with my Tamron 24-70mm and my Tamron 70-200mm. If you are interested in investing in a zoom lens I highly recommend checking these out.

Photography A to Z. Everything you want to know about photography in one post. So many awesome photography tips!

  • Peggy
    February 26, 2016 at 5:51 PM

    As always thank you for all your tips

  • Amanda G.
    February 26, 2016 at 5:56 PM

    Q – Quit slackin’ and practice ;)

  • Vanezza Bazzini
    February 27, 2016 at 12:15 AM

    yay! Excited to go through this!

  • Ruth
    February 27, 2016 at 12:43 AM

    Cant wait to go on another photography excursion, its been far to hot her to go out and relax. Thankyou for all your help.

  • Betty Manousos
    February 27, 2016 at 9:03 AM

    great tips, courtney! thank you so much for all your hard work putting this together.

  • Ali Walker
    February 27, 2016 at 12:31 PM

    Quick release clip for a tripod
    Quiet Mode (Silent mode)

  • Anita
    February 27, 2016 at 12:43 PM

    Q is for questions. Always ask questions when it comes to your photography☺️

  • Peggy williams
    February 27, 2016 at 7:21 PM

    Is this in Ebook form? I would loveeeee to have this for referral

  • alvin
    July 2, 2016 at 6:26 AM

    Great post! Maybe quantity for Q? hehe. Take lots and lots of photos. Practice makes perfect ;)

  • Alaysia
    November 14, 2016 at 6:41 PM

    Q – Quality of the photo is important to the type of photo you want to make

  • robertson
    November 23, 2016 at 6:57 AM

    Q for Quality not quantity

  • Ursula Rose
    May 17, 2018 at 10:32 AM

    Interesting alphabet! As for “Q” suggestions: how about the Q-Menue found on some system cameras?

  • Shelita Giddens
    May 17, 2018 at 10:59 AM

    Thank you for this very helpful list.

  • Debi
    May 17, 2018 at 11:32 AM

    Love a hand grip, not sure which one to order w/Canon DSLR w/battery pack?

  • John bailey
    May 22, 2018 at 9:28 AM

    I’m a Newby need all the help I can get

  • Mike Saeed
    June 2, 2018 at 7:38 AM

    Very good and useful article, well done, Thank you.

  • Robert Guildner
    September 18, 2019 at 11:06 AM

    Another very valuable help from you!
    Thank You!

  • Dave
    July 30, 2020 at 12:02 AM

    Thanks for all that useful information. I’m an amateur/more experienced photographer and I’m still working on the manual mode and understanding it more and more. Your tips have helped reinforce what I’ve been trying to learn all these years. Thanks.

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