Common Photography Abbreviations and Acronyms (CPAA) - Including Photography Terms, Helpful Photography Links and Digital Photography Tips!

Page content


It’s true! That’s probably why you didn’t struggle to read that. We are so used to cutting corners and creating shortcuts. Is it because we’re always in a hurry? Or maybe the opposite…perhaps we’re downright lazy? Whatever the case may be, there’s no exception when it comes to photography terms. I’ve put together a list of common photography abbreviations and acronyms (CPAA…I made that one up, I wonder if it’ll catch on?).

Thorough definitions for a lot CPAA’s are accessible by clicking on the link provided next to the name. This article will constantly be updated and new definitions are being added on a regular basis. Be sure to check back often!

Is Something Missing?

If you’ve thought of a CPAA that is missing from this article, please visit the discussion forum topic that was specifically created just for this reason. Post it there and I’ll add it here.

A Hint for Searching

If you don’t feel like scrolling through to find the CPAA you’re looking for (or if you don’t have the time!), at the top left of your screen, click on Edit>Find on this Page… (or on your keyboard, type Ctrl+F), this will open a window where you can type the CPAA that you’re looking for. Once you’ve done this, simply click on the Next button and the word you’re looking for will be highlighted on the page. Not the one you want? Click Next again, until the word you want is highlighted.

The List…


A-DEP – Automatic Depth of Field

AE – Automatic Exposure

AEB – Auto-Exposure Bracketing

AF – Auto Focus. Click here to learn how to fool your digital camera’s AF for sharper images.

AP – Aperture Priority

AS – Antishake. Click here for more information.


BMP - Also called Windows bitmap, click here to learn about this image file format.

BTL – Behind the Lens

B&W – Black and White


CCD – Charged Coupled Device: Click here to learn more about this image sensor technology.

CHDK - Canon Hackers Development Kit. Click here for a detailed explanation.

CMOS – Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor

CMS – Colour Management System

CMYK – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black

CWB – Custom White Balance. Click here for more information.


DI – Digital Imaging

DOF – Depth of Field. Click here to learn more.

DP – Digital Photography

DPI – Dots per Inch. This article contains information on DPI.

DPOF – Digital Print Order Format

D-SLR or DSLR - Digital Single Lens Reflex

DZ – Digital Zoom. The difference between digital zoom and optical zoom is mentioned here.


EC – Exposure Compensation

EV – Exposure Value

EVF – Electronic Viewfinder

EXIF – Exchangeable Image File Format. Click here for a detailed article on EXIF.


FEB – Flash Exposure Bracketing

FEC – Flash Exposure Compensation

FEL – Flash Exposure Lock

FF – Full Frame

FOV – Field Of View

FPS – Frames per Second


GB – Gigabyte

GIF – Graphics Interchange Format. Click here to learn more.


HDR – High Dynamic Range

HSS – High Speed Sync


IF – Internal Focusing

IR – Infrared

IS – Image Stabilization. Click here for more information.

ISO – International Standards Organization. Understand ISO by reading this article.

IQ – Image Quality


JPEG or JPG – Joint Photographic Experts Group. Click here for more information.



LCD – Liquid Crystal Display

LED – Light Emitting Diode

LTE – Long Time Exposure


M – Manual

MB – Megabyte

MF – Manual Focus

MLU – Mirror Lock-up

MMC – MultiMedia Card. Click here to read all about it.

MP – Megapixels. Click here for a more detailed explanation.

MS – Memory Stick. Refer to MMC for a more thorough explanation.


NR – Noise Reduction


OCR - Optical Character Recognition. More information seen here.

OEM – Original Equipment Manufacturer

OOC – Out of Camera

OOF – Out of Focus

OTF – Off the Film

OVF – Optical Viewfinder

OZ – Optical Zoom. Within this article, you will find a brief explanation on what the difference between digital and optical zoom is.


PIC – Picture

PICS or PIX - Pictures

PJ – Photojournalism or Photojournalist

PNG - Portable Network Graphics. Click here to learn more about this image file format.

PP – Post Processing

PPA – Professional Photographers of America

PPI – Pixels per Inch. Click here to learn more.

PQ - Picture Quality

PS – (Adobe) Photoshop

PSE – Photoshop Elements

PSP – Paintshop Pro. Here is a review of Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2.




SD - Secure Digital: a memory card format for your digital camera.

SDHC- Secure Digital High Capacity. See SD for more information.

SLR – Single Lens Reflex: the same thing as a D-SLR, only referring to film cameras.

SOOC – Straight Out of Camera

SP – Shutter Priority. Click here for more information.

SS – Shutter Speed. Learn all about shutter speed by clicking here.


TIFF or TIF – Tagged Image File Format. Learn more here.

TTL – Through-the-lens


USB – Universal Serial Bus

USM – Unsharp Mask, also means Ultrasonic Motor

UWA – Ultra Wide Angle


VR – Vibration Reduction. Click here for more information on VR.


WA – Wide Angle

WB – White Balance. More information can be seen by clicking here.

WS – Watt-Second