Photography Terminology

Here are some photography terms you might come across on this site and others as you learn more about photography.


To diffuse something is to soften it.  Diffuse is usually used in reference to light or shadow and can refer to the process of softening light by putting a white sheet or tissue paper in between the light source and the object being photographed.  Diffuse shadows are soft and fuzzy (contrast with hard shadows are crisp and sharp-edged.)

photo credit: Micah Taylor via photopin cc

Example of diffused lighting.
photo credit: Micah Taylor via photopin cc


A type of light bulb.  Rather neutral-colored and inexpensive, but it puts off considerable heat.


Macro refers to “up close” photography.  On point-and-shoot cameras, you can access Macro Scene Mode by using the “flower” setting.  In Macro Scene Mode, your camera is primed for focusing on very tiny details.  Macro mode is often a great shooting mode for craft photography!

Soft Box

A soft box is a lighting attachment used to make a light source softer and more uniform.

A compendium of DIY soft boxes can be found here:

Light Box

 A light box is a large container with semi-opaque walls that provides light diffusion and a uniform background for objects inside the box. Light boxes are often included in table top photography studios.