Digital Photography Workbook For Dummies Cheat Sheet - dummies
Cheat Sheet

Digital Photography Workbook For Dummies Cheat Sheet

From Digital Photography Workbook For Dummies®

By Doug Sahlin

Understanding some basic photography terms will help you take great photos with your digital camera. Take advantage of Photoshop Elements 6.0 to edit and enhance your photos once you’ve loaded them onto your computer.

Digital Photography Terms

Get comfortable with your digital camera by learning some digital photography lingo and tips that will help you with lighting, portraits, and depth of field so you’re off and shooting great digital photos.


  • ISO: The camera’s sensitivity to light. Increasing the ISO rating makes it possible to take pictures in low light conditions without using a tripod. However, increasing the ISO also increases the amount of digital noise that’s visible in the resulting photograph.

  • depth of field: The distance in front of and behind the subject that appears to be in focus. When you shoot portraits, try to capture a shallow depth of field where your subject is in focus but the foreground and background are blurred. When you shoot landscapes, try to capture a large depth of field where the entire scene is in focus.

  • f/stop: The diameter of the opening of the lens relative to the focal length. A small f/stop value lets a lot of light into the camera, whereas a large f/stop lets a small amount of light into the camera.

  • Aperture Priority mode: Noted as AV (Aperture Value) or A (Aperture) on the camera shooting mode dial. When you set the aperture, the camera automatically chooses the shutter speed for a properly exposed image. Choose a large aperture (small f/stop value) to achieve a shallow depth of field, and a small aperture (large f/stop value) to achieve a large depth of field. You achieve the shallowest depth of field when using a large aperture with a telephoto lens, and the largest depth of field when using a small aperture with a wide-angle lens. Use this shooting mode when your primary objective is to control depth of field.

  • Shutter Priority mode: Noted as TV (Time Value) or S (Shutter) on the camera shooting mode dial. When you set the shutter speed (the amount of time the shutter stays open), the camera automatically chooses the aperture for a properly exposed image. Shutter speeds can range from a very fast 1⁄4000 of a second to as long as 15 seconds or more. The range of shutter speeds varies depending on the cost of the camera and on the manufacturer. Choose a fast shutter speed to freeze action, and a slow shutter speed when you want to blur an object in motion. Use this shooting mode when your subject is moving.

Features You Find in Photoshop Elements 6.0 Edit Mode

Once you’ve taken a digital photo and downloaded it to your computer, you can edit your photo to pixel perfection using Photoshop Elements 6.0. Take a look at some of the features of Photoshop to help you get started:


  • Toolbox: You can access all tools when working in Full Edit mode. A tool with a black triangle in the lower right corner has additional tools nested with the currently displayed tool. Click the triangle to reveal a flyout displaying all nested tools.

  • Tool keyboard shortcuts: Pause your cursor over a tool to reveal its keyboard shortcut.

  • menu bar: Contains menu groups that are organized by topic. Click a menu group name to reveal commands in that group.

  • Options bar: Displays available options for the selected tool.

  • Project Bin: Displays thumbnails of all images open in the editor.

  • Layers palette: Shows thumbnails of all layers used in the current image. You can modify the effect a layer has on underlying layers by changing its blend mode and opacity.

  • Effects palette: Shows thumbnails of effects you can use to modify images. Effects can be used to make images look like paintings, pencil sketches, and more. There are also effects you can add to text and much more.