Photography Study Page
This is a review page for the tests in Photo Communication. 
Review your notes, the text, the assignments, and other handouts or web pages to find the answers. Many students benefit by forming a study group or finding a study partner. Students are encouraged to raise questions in class.

chemistry   |   processing film   |   ethics  |  improving the photograph  | using an enlarger
   compostion  |  image content   |   camera handling and metering to make better negatives
flash  |   zone system     | presentation  |  film types  |  How to Earn Better Test Grades

Technical Questions
Camera handling and metering to make better negatives
  1. What happens to your exposure of a face if you don't use a gray card, but you have a very light background?
  2. What happens to your subject's face if the background has a bright light source within the frame of the viewfinder when you meter the exposure?
  3. What if the background is very dark?
  4. What are the three factors effecting depth of field?
  5. What is meant by bracketing exposures?
  6. How would you bracket depth of field?
  7. How many different shutter speeds can be combined with different apertures, all of which give combinations of the same exposure?
  8. Why does a slow shutter speed sometimes result in lack of sharpness?
  9. If you carefully focus on a person 3 feet from the camera, you are using an aperture which simultaneously gives sharp focus to another person 2 feet from the camera, what is the approximate total zone of sharp focus within which to arrange a group of people?
  10. In what situation would a photographer elect to use selective focus?
  11. What color filter is used by many photographers when taking landscape photographs with black and white film? What is the effect of using the filter?
  12. What happens to negatives if the camera ASA is set to 100 when you use 400 ASA film?
  13. What happens to negatives if the camera ASA is set to 400 when you use 100 ASA film?
Using the zone system
  1. Why use the zone system?
  2. How many exposure stops of scene contrast would require normal film processing time?
  3. What is metered in order to make the exposure?
  4. What two meter readings are needed to determine the processing time for the film?

Working with a flash                           top of page

  1. How can you tell if the flash has provided enough light when bouncing (right after taking the picture)?
  2. What would you do if you found that the flash did not confirm?
  3. What if you set the flash ASA to 400 on an automatic flash, but you are using 100 speed film?
  4. What if you set the camera ASA wrong when using an automatic flash?
  5. What happens when the shutter is set to 500 when taking a flash exposure?
  6. What is the correct shutter speed for a flash exposure using your camera?
  7. What does the negative look like if the shutter speed is too fast when using a flash? 
  8. Why do many photographers place a white card on the top of their flash when bouncing the light from a wall or ceiling?
  9. When painting with flash (taking flash off camera and using several pops of the flash to light the subject or scene), how much do you close the aperture for each time you double the number of flashes used.
Processing Film
  1. What happens to the negatives if the developer temperature is higher than you thought it was?
  2. What happens to the negatives if the developer is not properly dilluted with water?
  3. Do the numbers along the edge of the negatives provide exposure information or processing information?
  4. What are the consequences of over or under agitation?
  5. How is film processed when you need to compensate for underexposure?
  6. How is film processed when you need to compensate for overexposure?
  7. How would negatives look different if some fixer accidently contaminated the developer?
Managing the chemistry                                     top of page
  1. How do you know if the fixer is still good?          OOOOOOOO??
  2. How do you know if the stop bath is still good?    OOOOOOOO??
  3. How do you know if the developer is still good?    OOOOOOOO??
  4. Why do we use stop bath? What would happen to the chemicals if we didn't use stop bath?
  5. What if the developer is warmer one day than another?
  6. What hazards are present when mixing chemicals for black and white photography?
  7. Which chemicals are discarded when they are expired and which are saved? Why?
  8. What defect may be found on negatives that are not washed with enough turbulence?
  9. What defect may be found on negatives that are developed too long?
  10. What defect may be found on negatives if the developer is warmer than the temperature given for the time you use.
Improving the photograph in printing
  1. Which enlarger filter numbers and colors increase tonal contrast and which ones decrease tonal contrast? 012345OOOOOO
  2. Know when to burn and dodge instead of using a contrast filter.
  3. Why is it better to study the negatives than the contacts when selecting the best exposure of an image to print?

Using an enlarger                                              top of page

  1. What aperture do you use for focusing? Why?
  2. Why set the enlarger lens to a small aperture after focusing?
  3. Why does it take more time to print an 8x10 than a 5x7 of the same negative?
  4. What if the print is squeegeed on a table contaminated with fixer or other chemicals?
  5. What filter is needed in the enlarger if all the shadow areas are flat black and all the white areas are flat white?
  6. What filter is needed if there are no black-blacks and/or no white-whites?
  7. What is wrong if there are lots of white-whites but no black-blacks in the print. --or vice versa?
  8. What do you do if the contrast is correct, but one or more important area(s) is(are) too dark? --too light?
  9. How could you use a test strips to predict burning and dodging times?
  10. How could you use a test strips to predict the correct contrast filter?
  11. Why do we double the light (time) on each successive part of a test strip instead of increasing the light by a constant number of seconds?
  12. When cropping, what do you try to avoid?
  13. What is better about a full frame enlargement than one made from a cropped negative?
  14. Why would a photographer elect to crop an image?
  15. If, when printing, you find that left side of the image looks sharper than the right side, how can this be corrected?
  16. If, when printing, you find that the corners look white even though your negative has tone and texture, how can this be corrected.
Film types
  1. What types of film are less grainy when enlarged?
  2. What size films do photographers generally use when they intend to make large display prints?
  3. What are the pros and cons of various film sizes (35 mm, medium format, and large format)?
Presentation of prints                                                top of page
  1. When spotting (retouching), what brush motion is used?
  2. How wet is the brush when spotting prints?
  3. When dry mounting, how do you get the dry mount tissue to be perfectly the same size as the print?
  4. Why do layout designers often keep internal margins between prints the same throughout the whole presentation?
  5. When mounting a single print, which of the martins is often larger than the other three?

Compostional Questions

Improving the photograph compositionally                                                 top of page

  1. What, other than tone (value), can be contrasted for emphasis or interest in a black and white photograph? Every visual element can be contrasted. 
  2. Size may not be considered a visual element, but would certainly be an effective attribute to contrast within a composition. Think of ways to use size to create interesting, engaging, and evocative composition.
  3. How could emphasis be well used or poorly used?
  4. How could repetition be well used or poorly used?
  5. Why is it better to study the contacts than the negatives when selecting the best subject and composition to print?
  6. Where can you crop the parts of a human?
  7. Where can the most important part of a photograph be placed in the frame?
  8. What are the problems that can be created in a photograph if the background is not adequately considered while framing the image?
  9. How can one create more or less action and motion in compositions.
  10. How can a photograph be made to appear to have more or less depth?
  11. Two photos contain the same content, same size main subject, and the same arrangement of objects. How will the focal length (wide angle vs telephoto)  of the lens give a different effect in each of them? 
  12. How can mistakes can be used creatively and intentionally to produce attention getting compositions?
  13. How could the concept of time be represented in a still photograph (not showing a clock face)?
  14. When you have a chance to show something from several points of view, how do you decide which will make a stronger photograph?
  15. What is the difference in photographic intention between a photographer who is primarily a previsualizer and one who is primarily a post visualizer.
  16. What would a surrealistic photograph differ from other photographs?
Improving the photograph with content
  1. What types of photographs are made (for what purposes) other than documentary photographs?
  2. What are the differences between editorial and news photographs?
  3. What are the effective attributes and content of a sporting page photograph?
  4. What kinds of content make a good feature photographs or human interest photographs?
  5. If a scientist makes a photograph to clarify something difficult to see otherwise, how does this work differ from that of an artist who makes a photograph of something never seen except in the artist's mind?

Ethical Questions                     top of page
  1. How are people helped and exploited by the same photographs?
  2. In what ways might photographs make the world a better place?
  3. In what ways are photographs used to express power and dominion over others?
  4. In what ways are photographs used to encourage unreasonable consumption or harmful practices and habits?
  5. In what ways are photographs used to gain unreasonable profits?
  6. What is pornographic photography?
  7. When does a photographer violate copyright law? When does a publisher violate a photographer's copyrights?
  8. What is the right of the public to know compared to the right of individual privacy when producing documentary and news photographs?
  9. How does an ordinary citizen differ from a public figure or celebrity when privacy rights are challenged?
  10. What is the responsibility of the photographer with regard to truthfulness in photography? In what situations is it appropropriate and inappropriate to manipulate images in the darkroom and/or the computer?
  11. When is a photographer justified in being an annoyance when photographing an event?
  12. What are the subject's legal and moral rights? When is a photo release required before publishing a photograph?
  13. How is injustice exposed by photographers and how are photographers guilty of being unjust?
  14. Why to we "shot" pictures and "take" pictures? What language would be less predatory?
  15. In what ways can photographers be sensitive to cultural differences between people?
  16. What is the difference between an honest rendition of life in another culture or place and a tourist picture?

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Copyright 1999, Marvin Bartel, Goshen College.
Goshen College photography students may print a copy for their own study. Others must obtain permission to copy or duplicate. E-mail Marvin Bartel
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updated November, 1999