Glossary

Helpful explanations of some the terms used on this site.

Cibachrome is a process of printing directly from positive transparencies. It is now known as Ilfochrome.

Colour Profile is the information embedded into a digital image file which helps to ensure colour consistency across different mediums, such as on a screen and in the printed form.

C-type is a colour photographic print made on negative colour paper which has at least three layers of light-sensitive silver salts. It is the most common type of traditional colour print.

C41 is the number given to the chemical process for developing colour negative film. Kodak coined the term but it was universally adopted by every other manufacturer.

Cyanotype is an early photographic technique that gives a cyan blue print. It uses paper coated in soluble light sensitive salts which when exposed to ultraviolet light (often sunlight) turns blue and insoluble. Unexposed salts dissolve away when the paper is washed leaving an image. This is the process that gave the engineering "blueprint". Some early examples made of plants can be seen here in the Victoria and Albert Museum collection.

Daguerreotype is an early direct photographic technique that does not use a negative. The process creates a highly detailed negative image on a polished sheet of copper coated with a thin layer of silver. When processed and held up to the light the copper plate reflects so creating a positive impression. As no negative is produced each exposure creates a unique image. Some examples may be seen here.

Depth of Field is the range that is also in focus on either side of the actual point of focus. The smaller the aperture of the lens, the greater the depth of this focus. The focal length of the lens is also important, a shorter (or wider) lens has a greater depth of field than a longer lens at the equivalent aperture.

Diptych is when two images are placed horizontally next to each other to create a new work.

Field Camera is a collapsible large format camera that is often made of wood. It is the traditional type of view camera where the photographer focuses under a cloth and allows camera movements that enable the photographer to move the film and lens planes independently. (See entry on Scheimpflug principle below.)

Focus plane is the line that is in focus across an image. It can be imagined as like a piece of glass that connects every point that is in focus.

Giclée prints are high quality digital inkjet prints produced on art paper. The word Giclée ("g-clay") comes from the French word gicler meaning "to squirt, spurt, or spray".

Lambda prints are produced using three coloured lasers (red, green and blue) and exposing directly on to conventional photographic paper which is then processed in the same manner as the traditional photographic print by developing in "wet" chemistry. Lambda is the name of the machine these prints are produced on. The prints are often called C-type or digital C-type.

Large format is film (or now a digital equivalent) that in size and ratio is 4x5 inches or larger.

Linhof Technika is a type of large format camera. See one here.

Mamiya 7 is medium format rangefinder camera that shoots 6cm x 7cm negatives or positives. See one here.

Medium format is film (or now a digital equivalent) that in size and ratio is larger than 35mm film and smaller than large format film which begins at 4x5 inches. It is usually shot on 120 roll film.

Photogram is a photographic image made directly onto photographic paper. They are made without a camera by placing objects so that they partially block light falling onto the paper leaving a negative image where the paper is unexposed.

Roll film is also known as 120 or 220. It is a medium format film of 6cm in height. Its length is either 72cm or 144cm. This is divided into individual frames of lengths depending on the type of camera used. The commonest divisions are into 6cm x 6cm, 6cm x 7cm, 6cm x 9cm.

Rangefinder is a type of camera which has separate lenses for shooting and for looking through. The most noticeably difference from a conventional camera is that a rangefinder does not have a mirror and a prism viewfinder.

Scheimpflug principle is almost as difficult to say as it is to explain! It is a method of understanding the relationships between the three planes (the film plane, the lens plane and the focus plane) involved in taking a picture in such a way as to enable control over the plane of focus seen in the final picture. This is only an issue in a camera that allows the lens plane and film planes to move independently, such as in a field camera. In most other cameras they are fixed exactly parallel to each other. It is named after the Austrian army officer Theodor Scheimpflug (1865-1911). For real in depth reading view this PDF here. A slightly simpler outline is available on this site and a diagram describing it can be seen here.

Shift and tilt is another way of describing the camera movements possible in a field camera mentioned above. These movements can be used to create a toy model effect in photograph. For a fun way to play with this idea try this site.

Typology simply means classification according to general type. In practice in photography this often means series of images concerned with repeated examples of the same subject matter. An example would be this work by Bernd and Hilla Becher from 1999.

Triptych is an image made up from three separate but related pictures, arranged horizontally. Originally they were found as religious paintings, often with a larger central image and with two smaller images that folded over the centre to protect it when not in use.