Is there some standard, reasonably well-known terminology for distinguishing "photo taken with (artificial) lights on" vs. "photo taken with lights off"?

I want to call them "Dark frames" and "White frames" (white light), but "Dark frame" already means something different to astrophotographers (and anybody who uses digital sensors in low light), so I don't want to use that. And of course the light isn't necessarily white.

(If there aren't standard terms, I'm open to ideas. I'm looking for something short and succinct. "Illuminated frames" might work, but it's too many syllables, and it's not clear what the opposite would be. "Non-illuminated frames" is a real mouthful.)


Added: Some ideas of my own - "lit frames" vs "unlit frames". "artificial frames" vs "natural frames"...


1 Answer 1


I think "lit" and "natural light" are the two terms you're looking for in terms of distinguishing using lighting gear or not using lighting gear, if you don't light. A very skilled photographer who's experienced with lighting, however, can easily make natural-looking light that's motivated. If you do light, it's more "light" vs. "ambient light" or just exposure vs. "ambient-only" exposure.

"Available light" has been another term folks who light laugh at, along the lines of the famous W. Eugene Smith quote: "Available light is any damn light that's available."

It could also be that "high key" and "low key" are the terms you're looking for to distinguish a primarily bright frame from a primarily dark one. But these terms don't necessarily equate to whether light was added to a scene.

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