Photo Pop Quiz: Test Your General Knowledge of Photography

Do you know as much as you think you do about photography as a whole? Test your photographic general knowledge with this fun little quiz.

Although most of these questions are really easy to answer, some might be a bit trickier, and many will bring a smile to your face. They’re all multiple-choice questions, so the answers are already provided. What could be simpler?

The correct answers are included after the final question.

So grab some paper and a pencil (or whatever) and let’s see how clever you really are…

1: What was Ansel Adams’ middle name?

A) Aaron
B) Orson
C) Easton
D) Irving

2: What is meant by the term HDR?

A) Horrible Disgusting Revolting
B) High Dynamic Range
C) Histogram Display Rotation
D) Hue Displacement Reduction

3: Andreas Gursky’s “Rhein II” became the most expensive photograph ever sold when it was auctioned at Christie’s on November 8th, 2011. How much did the winning bidder pay for it?

A) $1,889,750
B) $2,502,300
C) $3,227,175
D) $4,338,500

4: What camera was used by astronauts to capture the first photos on the moon?

A) Hasselblad
B) Minolta
C) Leica
D) Mamiya

5: Which of the following is not a tripod manufacturer?

A) Manfrotto
B) Gitzo
C) Really Right Stuff
D) Grippon

6: What is the name of the equipment that is used to move the camera slightly between each photo in a time-lapse?

A) Trolley
B) Dolly
C) Brolly
D) Lazy Susan

7: A “tilt-shift” lens is most commonly used for what genre of photography?

A) Landscape
B) Miniature (scale models)
C) Architecture
D) Wildlife

8: Why are people posing for late 19th and early 20th century portraits never smiling?

A) It was too difficult to hold a smile for the long exposures required in those days.
B) Dental hygiene was not very advanced and people didn’t want to show their bad teeth.
C) That was before anyone had discovered to tell these people to say “cheese”.
D) Smiling for no reason was thought to be an indication of lower intelligence (or insanity).

9: Who took the very first permanent photograph (in 1826)?

A) Roger Fenton
B) Joseph Niépce
C) Louis Daguerre
D) Robert Cornelius

10: Which company invented the first digital camera?

A) Sony
B) Nikon
C) Canon
D) Kodak

11: How was the first aerial photograph taken (in 1858)?

A) By attaching a camera to a hot air balloon.
B) By attaching a camera to a bird.
C) By attaching a camera to a kite.
D) By attaching a camera to a rocket.

12: Which South African photographer was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for his image of a vulture stalking a starving Sudanese child?

A) João Silva
B) Greg Marinovich
C) Ken Oosterbroek
D) Kevin Carter

13: Ansel Adams is best known for his iconic landscape photographs of which American National Park?

A) Yellowstone
B) Yosemite
C) Glacier
D) Grand Teton

14: On a modern camera lens, if your aperture is set at f/2, how many f-stops must you go through to set your aperture to f/22?

A) 7
B) 10
C) 12
D) 20

15: The “Zone System” is a photographic technique used for determining what?

A) Compositional balance.
B) Optimal exposure.
C) Ideal shutter speed for a moving subject.
D) Position of the sunrise and sunset.

16: Which one of the following is not a valid photographic term or technique?

A) Reciprocity Failure.
B) Luminosity Masking.
C) Laminar Flow Detection.
D) Virtual Horizon.

17: The “BeetleCam” is a purpose-built device created in 2010 to capture photos of what?

A) Dangerous wild animals.
B) Insects.
C) Vehicles traveling at high speeds.
D) Flying birds.

18: What does the term “Hyperfocal Distance” refer to?

A) The maximum focal length of any lens.
B) The minimum distance from the lens that you can focus on.
C) The maximum distance from the lens that you can focus on.
D) The distance from the lens where all objects will be in focus.

19: What does the term “High Key Portrait” refer to?

A) A photo of a person with bright light and no shadows.
B) A photo of a person smoking a marijuana joint.
C) A photo of a person taken at the top of a mountain.
D) A photo of a person wearing handcuffs or in custody.

20: What does it mean when you set your shutter speed to 125th?

A) The shutter will remain open for 125 seconds.
B) The shutter will remain open for 1.25 seconds.
C) The shutter will remain open for 1/125th of a second.
D) The shutter will remain open for 1/125th of a millisecond.

21: What is the best way to adjust the “depth of field” of an image?

A) The ISO
B) The shutter speed
C) The white balance
D) The aperture

22: The first digital image CCD chip was developed in 1973. What was the resolution?

A) 0.1 Megapixels
B) 1.0 Megapixels
C) 2.0 Megapixels
D) 2.1 Megapixels

23: What would you use an “extension tube” for?

A) To increase the megapixel resolution of an image.
B) To reduce the minimum focal distance of a lens.
C) To extend the legs of a tripod beyond their standard length.
D) To join two or more lenses together into one.

24: What would you use a “polarizing filter” for?

A) To prevent over-exposure of snow at the North or South Pole.
B) To remove unwanted reflections from water or metallic surfaces.
C) To darken the sky when shooting straight into the sun.
D) To add a starburst effect to bright lights.

25: What does the term “Prime Lens” mean?

A) The most expensive lens in your camera bag.
B) The lens that you tend to use most often.
C) Any lens with a fixed focal length.
D) Any lens with a fixed aperture.

26: What do we call the scattering of light particles (photons) as they pass around hard edges?

A) Disruption
B) Diffraction
C) Diffusion
D) Deflection

27: What does the term “Dynamic Range” refer to?

A) How much of your photo will be perfectly sharp and in focus.
B) The (generally accepted) measure of how awesome your photo actually is.
C) The furthest (in miles) you’ve ever traveled to take a photo of something really amazing.
D) The difference (in luminosity) between the darkest shadows and the brightest highlights.

28: Which one of the following statements is (most) false?

A) Magenta is not a true color and is best described as “not green”.
B) The reflection of the sky can never be brighter than the sky itself.
C) RAW files always capture accurate representations of every scene.
D) All of the really great photographs have already been taken.

29: Which of the following statements is (most) true?

A) The smaller the aperture the greater the depth of field.
B) Always disable your camera’s image stabilization system when using a tripod.
C) Camera batteries always drain quicker in colder temperatures.
D) All of the above.

30: Why did I bother to take this test?

A) I’m so bored right now that any distraction would be worth some of my time and effort.
B) I’m merely a beginner at photography, hoping to learn something new from this quiz.
C) I already know everything there is to know about photography, so I’m sure I’ll score 100%.
D) I’m hoping to find some errors in the content of this quiz, to bring to everyone else’s attention.


1C, 2B, 3D, 4A, 5D, 6B, 7C, 8D, 9B, 10D, 11A, 12D, 13B, 14A, 15B, 16C, 17A, 18D, 19A, 20C, 21D, 22A, 23B, 24B, 25C, 26C, 27D, 28C & 29D (were both trick questions) and 30 (bonus question – all answers for this one are correct).

How many did you correctly answer? Leave a comment below to let us know!