Jargon Buster

What do these jargon words actually mean?

We try to avoid using jargon, but as that isn't always possible we thought it might be helpful to explain the various terms used throughout our website, plus some others that may be helpful.

Ambient Light: Ambient light is the artificial or natural continuous light that’s already present. Indoor scenes will usually include artificial light such as tungsten overhead lights. Flash is usually too powerful for this low brightness light to record on the film or sensor at normal shutter speeds, but bright sunlight can often cause a problem.

Bounce flash: When the light is bounced off of a reflective surface, such as a wall or a ceiling, rather than being directed at the subject.

Colour Temperature. This is measured in degrees Kelvin. The Kelvin temperature scale follows the Celsius scale, but zero K = -272.5C, which is absolute zero. A piece of matter (carbon) changes colour as it is heated, it starts off as black, then turns red, then white, and eventually to blue. The higher the temperature, the more blue the light becomes. It takes a temperature of about 5500K to produce a white colour and 5500K is generally regarded to be the colour of daylight, although the actual colour of daylight can vary substantially. The important things here are for the colour to match daylight, and for it to be the same every time the flash is fired.