Recent advances in biological imaging have resulted in an explosion in the quality and quantity of images obtained in a digital format. Developmental biologists are increasingly acquiring beautiful and complex images, thus creating vast image datasets. In the past, patterns in image data have been detected by the human eye. Larger datasets, however, necessitate high-throughput objective analysis tools to computationally extract quantitative information from the images. These tools have been developed in collaborations between biologists, computer scientists, mathematicians and physicists. In this Primer we present a glossary of image analysis terms to aid biologists and briefly discuss the importance of robust image analysis in developmental studies.