Light Science pp 251-277 | Cite as


  • Thomas D. RossingEmail author
  • Christopher J. Chiaverina


The debate regarding whether or not photography is a form of art is long over. Photographs are found in art museums and private collections throughout the world. Many institutions, such as the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago are dedicated solely to photography.


Glossary of Terms


A device that varies the size of the lens opening.


Placing wiring behind sensor to increase light reaching photosites.

Bayer filter

A mosaic of red, green, and blue filters arranged on a grid of photosites with each filter covering a single site.

bokeh effect

The blurring of the background while leaving the subject in sharp focus.

camera obscura

An early type of pinhole camera.

charge-coupled device (CCD)

An electronic light sensor used in place of film in a digital camera.

complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS)

A light sensor consisting of millions of photo-sensitive elements, each of which includes a charge-to-voltage converter as well as an amplifier and digitization circuit.

color negativefilm

Film that produces a negative image in complementary colors.

color reversalfilm

Film that is exposed to light during development in order to produce a transparency (slide) with true colors.


Permanent image on a light-sensitive plate using a process invented by Louis Daguerre.


The process of translating the Bayer array of primary colors into a final image that contains full color information at each pixel.

depth of field

Range of distance over which objects are in focus in a photograph.

digitalsingle-lens reflex camera (DSLR)

A digital camera in which focusing and composition can be done while sighting through the lens.

dye coupling process

Chemical process for producing a dye image during color development.

dye transfer process

Photographic process that depends on absorption of dyes by chemically hardened gelatin in three separate emulsions.

film speed

Measure of how fast an image can be recorded.

f-stop number

Focal length divided by lens diameter.

fixing bath, fixer

Solution that dissolves undeveloped silver halides in an emulsion.

focal length

Distance from a lens to its principal focus.

ISP(image signal processor)

A specialized digital signal processor used for demosaicing and a variety of other essential tasks such as controlling autofocus, exposure, noise reduction, and, in some cases, face and object detection.

JPEG(Joint Photographic Experts Group)

A computer file format for the compression and storage of digital images.

single-lens reflex (SLR) camera

A camera in which focusing and composition can be done while sighting through the lens.


A mobile phone that performs many of the functions of a computer, typically having a touchscreen interface, a camera, internet access, and an operating system capable of running downloaded applications.

stop bath

Weak acid solution used to halt development prior to fixing.

TIFF (tagged image file format)

A computer file format for non-compressed storage of digital files.


Lens with long focal length used to create a larger than normal image.

white balance setting

A digital camera feature used to accurately balance color under a wide range of lighting situations.

wide-angle lens

Lens with short focal length used to expand the field of view.


Lens with variable focal length.

Further Reading

  1. Falk, D. S., Brill, D. R., & Stork, D. G. (1986). Seeing the Light. New York: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  2. Johnson Jr., C. S. (2017). Science for the Curious Photographer: An Introduction to the Science of Photography. 2nd ed. Abingdon-on-Thames, England: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Mitchell, E. N. (1984). Photographic Science. New York: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  4. Newhall, B. (1964). The History of Photography. New York: Museum of Modern Art.Google Scholar
  5. Watson, R., & Rappaport, H. (2013). Capturing the Light: The Birth of Photography. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas D. Rossing
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christopher J. Chiaverina
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Music, Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA)Stanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.New Trier Township High SchoolWinnetkaUSA

Personalised recommendations