Three photography terms you didn’t know (or care) you were saying wrong

Feb 13, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Three photography terms you didn’t know (or care) you were saying wrong

Feb 13, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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From the beginning of time, photographers have argued about the crucial stuff such as how to pronounce the word “bokeh.” And from what I’ve heard so far, most of them are pronouncing it wrong. But guess what: there are a few other photography terms that you’re likely saying (or spelling) wrong. In this video, Gerald Undone discusses these and explains how you should pronounce them and why.

YouTube video

Raw: Gerald starts with a sort of a bonus: raw. The term that isn’t pronounced wrong, but it’s rather misunderstood. People tend to spell it as RAW, and it’s wrong because it’s not an acronym.

JPEG: when you’re referring to JPEG as file extension, it’s okay to write it in lowercase (.jpeg). However, if you’re referring to a compression method as a whole, JPEG is to be spelled in all capital letters. The reason is that it’s an acronym and it stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group

EOS: You know the Canon EOS series of cameras? Even though the series was named after Eos, a Greek Titaness and the goddess of the dawn, it’s also an acronym. According to Canon, EOS also stands for Electro-Optical System. That’s why it’s spelled in all capitals, although it’s likely to be a backronym. However, this spelling is why many people pronounce it as initials, and it should be pronounced as one word, Eos /ˈiːɒs/.

ISO: Here’s another term that’s also misidentified as an acronym. You may have heard that it stands for International Organization for Standardization. However, the acronym would then be IOS, and it wouldn’t be the same in different languages. ISO comes from the Greek isos, which means equal. So, it’s pronounced as one word, /ˈaɪsəʊ/.

Bokeh: “Boh-key,” “boh-kuh,” “boo-kay…”So many pronunciations, all of them wrong. “The trick is to separate the syllables and hit them hard,” as Gerald humorously explains. So, you should pronounce it something like “boh-keh.” When transcribed, it would be /boke/.

Bokeh comes from Japanese and it describes the quality of background blur in your images. While we’re at it, this means that you can’t have “more” or “less” bokeh in your photos, because it’s not about quantity. Bokeh can only be more pleasing or less pleasing.

As someone who studied English and who loves phonetics and phonology, I found this video super-fun. And I have to admit that I’ve been in the “RAW clan” so far, but now I plan to change that. What about you? How many of these terms were you saying or spelling wrong? And do you even care? : )

[Camera Terms You’re Saying Wrong! / Bokeh, EOS, & ISO Pronunciation | Gerald Undone]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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3 responses to “Three photography terms you didn’t know (or care) you were saying wrong”

  1. Huge Dom Avatar
    Huge Dom

    Biggest one I find is about Aperture… A lot of people would say something like, “Use a small aperture” when they really meant use a large aperture (opening), as in a small F/ number.

  2. Charles Avatar
    Charles

    ISO is a reference to the international standard for camera sensor sensitivity, https://www.iso.org/contents/data/standard/07/37/73758.html is the current standard. The website iso.org explains why the International Organisation for Standardisation uses the acronym ISO. Not sure where the idea that ISO comes from a Greek word meaning equal. As it is an acronym each letter should be pronounced individually

    1. Arpe Avatar
      Arpe

      Because on this page https://www.iso.org/about-us.html, they tell where it comes from-
      “ISO is derived from the Greek isos, meaning equal. Whatever the country, whatever the language, we are always ISO.”