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Flashcards designed to help study for the Certified Professional Photographer exam. Original material courtesy of Heather Smith | Smith Photography & Design |

What is a BIT?

The smallest unit of information consisting of either a 1 or a zero. It can only represent two possibilities - either yes or no, black or white.

What is a color profile?

A mathematical translator assigned to each piece of equipment you use (they map one gamut to another; and the ICC (or International Color Consortium) profile is usually shipped by the equipment manufacturer).

What is gamut?

The entire range of colors that can be seen, reproduced, or captured. Our eyes have a greater gamut than a print or monitor.

How can you change the brightness of the background when using flash?

Change the shutter speed. The longer the shutter speed, the lighter the background will be. The faster the shutter speed, the darker the background will be because less existing light is captured.

What is interpolated resolution?

Interpolated resolution can be generated by Photoshop or any image editing software to increase print size resolution.

Digital cameras use what set of primary colors?

Additive (R, G, B)

What do the bars on the left of a histogram represent?

Black (0)

What do the bars on the right of a histogram represent?

White (255)

The area of acceptable sharpness in an image is called what?

Depth of field

What is a derivative file?

A RAW file that has been altered

What kind of lighting pattern is useful to widen a subject?

Broad lighting

What kind of lighting pattern is useful to narrow a face?

Short lighting

Why is depth of field greater on a short lens versus a long lens?

Relative aperture. The opening on a long lens must be larger than a corresponding opening on a short lens to produce the same f-stops.

What is focal length, technically?

The distance between the lens rear nodal point and the focal plane when the lens is focused at infinity.

Focal length controls what?

1) Magnification, or the size of the subject; 2) Angle of view

A normal (or standard) focal length lens approximates what?

The impression of human visual perspective

What determines what will be a 'normal' focal length lens on a particular camera?

Sensor size - the larger the sensor size, the longer the focal length of a normal lens. (Corresponds to a diagonal line across the frame)

What does side lighting emphasize on a subject or surface?

emphasizes textures

To minimize facial wrinkles, this type of lighting is best

Diffused front lighting

What are IPTC fields used for?

Metadata fields that hold info on photographer, subject, and usage.

An in-camera reflected meter reading a very light toned scene indicates an exposure of 1/250th at f/8. For a correct exposure, what should you do?

Use positive exposure compensation (overexposure). A reflected meter reading will attempt to make the scene 18% gray - employ overexposure to adjust.

An incident-exposure reading for a fair-skinned subject reads f/8, 1/125th at 100 ISO. The next subject is very dark skinned. What is the proper exposure for the second subject?

No change. The EXPOSURE doesn't change or it would also change the background as well. Move the lights to adjust.

What is the general rule of thumb for the measurement of a 'normal' lens?

The diagonal measurement of the sensor.

What kind of light will be produced when using a large white umbrella close to a subject?

flat, low contrast light

This technique allows you to keep a subject that is moving toward you well focused

Follow focus

What does a neutral density filter do?

Absorbs equal quantities of all wavelengths of light. It allows you to use wider apertures or slower shutter speeds without changing color balance.

What is the effect of front lighting?

Flattens out the volume of the subject and minimizes textures

What kind of film can help reduce haze in a landscape?


Going clockwise around the color wheel, starting with RED, what is the progression of colors?

Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue, Magenta

An SLR camera uses what to allow you to see exactly what you'll photograph?

A mirror and pentaprism

What is a flag?

Also called a gobo; it is a small panel usually mounted on a stand that shades some part of the subject or shields the lens from light that could cause flare

A filter with a factor of 2 requires how many stops of compensation?

factor of 2 = 1 stop compensation. (Each time a factor doubles, it's one additional stop)

What angle of view does a reflected light meter read?

Similar to a normal lens at about 30 degrees

What angle of view does a spot meter read?

Maybe as little as 0.5 degrees or 1 degree

What angle of view does an incident meter read?

Very wide at about 180 degrees

What is the name of the issue that prevents you from seeing exactly what the lens sees when using a rangefinder camera at close distances?


Name 2 ways you can decrease depth of field

1) Use a longer lens; 2) Move closer to the subject

A lens set at f/4 admits how much more/less light than one set at f/2.8?

Half as much light

When buying a lens hood, you should get it in what size relative to the lens?

It should match the focal length. Too wide and it's inefficient; too narrow and it will vignette; most likely the vignette would occur with wide angle of 28mm and below.

A color image with smooth gradations requires at least what bit depth?

24 bits per pixel (8 per color), which gives 16,777,216 colors

When the size of the aperture is decreased, it is said to be what?

stopped down

A general purpose lens will provide an f-stop range of up to how many?

8 stops

Panning does what?

Keeps a moving subject sharp while blurring the background

What two camera controls adjust the amount of light that reaches the sensor?

Aperture and shutter

Convex lenses cause light rays to do what?

bend toward each other and converge at the focal point.

In short lighting, where is the main light placed?

To strike the side of the face away from the camera.

What does ISO stand for?

International Standards Organization

Perspective is affected by what?

lens-to-subject distance

What is a BYTE?

An 8-BIT sequence that represents 256 possibilities - black & white & 254 shades of grey. The size of a file is the number of bytes it contains.

Sharpness from near to far is controlled by what?


The quantity of light that reaches your sensor is controlled by what?

Shutter speed & aperture

Most lenses are sharpest closed down to how many stops from the widest?

1 or 2, depending on the lens, could be 2 to 3.

Name two ways you can increase depth of field (other than changing aperture)

1) Use a shorter focal length; 2) Move farther away from the subject

In a curves adjustment layer, what does the shape of the curve indicate?


When the additive primaries are mixed together equally, what is created?

White (additive primaries are Red, Green Blue)

An in-camera reflected meter reading a very dark scene indicates an exposure of 1/250th at f/8. For a correct exposure, what should you do?

Use negative exposure compensation (underexpose). The meter will attempt to make the dark scene 18% grey, underexpose to bring it back to dark.

When the subtractive primaries are added together equally, what is created?

Black. Subtractive primaries are Magenta, Yellow, Cyan

What is the inverse square law?

The intensity of the illumination is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from light to subject. At twice the distance from the subject, the light illuminates only 1/4 of the original.

What is TTL?

Through the Lens. A camera that can automatically control flash exposure using sensors inside the camera.

If you must move to reduce the amount of flash reaching your subject, how far do you move?

To create a 1-stop difference, multiply the original distance by 1.4. Example - if you were originally 5 feet away, a 1-stop difference would have you step back to 7 feet.

What kind of lighting pattern is best for average oval faces and round faces you want to slim?

Short lighting.

How much resolution do you need for: Internet? Newspaper? Photographic print? Glossy magazine?

Internet = 72 ppi; Photographic print = 240-300 ppi; Gloss magazine = 400 ppi

The useable exposure range of a sensor, or the range of subject brightness is called what?

dynamic range (not to be confused with gamut)

An 8x10 at 240 ppi will have a resolution of what?

1920 pixels by 2400 pixels (4.6 million pixels)

To emphasize texture in a portrait, what kind of light source is recommended?

Small light source at an angle brushing across the subject

What would you use an ICC profile for?

To set accurate color standards to any device that captures or displays color.

When mixed in varying proportion, the subtractive primary colors produce what?

All colors

A 1:1 lighting ratio produces what lighting result?

Flat lighting

Generally, how much exposure compensation (in stops) should be used when using a polarizing filter?

1-1/2 to 2 stops

How would you define exposure in mathematical terms? (X times Y = exposure)

Intensity (aperture) x Time (shutter)

Name 3 ways to make a tonal adjustment in Photoshop

Curves adjustment; Levels adjustment; Brighteness/Contrast adjustment

What is burning?

Selectively increasing print exposure, which will make select parts of the image darker

What is dodging?

Decreases the exposure for areas of the print that the photographer wishes to be lighter

All objects beyond the closest distance in focus will be sharp when this appears within the DOF scale


What is the best color profile for web images?


What angle should a polarizing filter be to the sun for best results?

90 degrees. If using to eliminate reflections, it should be used at 35 degrees.

What does the term "stop" mean?

A change in exposure of 1 EV, that is 1/2 or 2x the amount of light.

The amount of motion blur in an image will increase if you do what?

lengthen (or slow) the shutter speed

What are the three main factors that affect depth of field?

Aperture, focal length, and distance to the subject

In the 20th century, black & white photographers used the Zone system to tame excessive contrast. Now, digital photographers use what?

High Dynamic Range

A ring of thin, overlapping leaves located inside the lens is called what?

The diaphragm - the mechanism that controls aperture.

Printers use what set of colors?

Subtractive primaries (plus black)

An image made of pixels is sometimes called what?

A raster image

What are quad- and hex- tone printing?

Inkjet black & white printing where color cartridges are replaced with shades of gray, resulting in smooth tones and slight color cast

The relative aperture is equal to the lens focal length divided by what?

aperture diameter

What are luminance and illuminance?

Luminance is light reflected from the subject surface (measured by a reflected-light meter), while Illuminance is light falling on a subject surface (as measured with an incident light meter)

Contrast measures what in a print?

The difference between light and dark.

What is the color temperature of direct sunlight?

Direct sun at 5400 to 6,500 Kelvin

Daylight is approximately what color temperature?

5,000 Kelvin

Tungsten light is approximately what color temperature?

3200 Kelvin

Stopping a lens down from f/8 to f/16 represents a X stop difference

Two (f/8 > f/11 > f/16)

A lens with a very wide angle of view and produces extreme barrel distortion is what kind of lens?


This kind of meter is preferred by photographers working in a studio situation where lighting conditions can be altered

Incident light meter

8 bits per pixel gives you how many colors?


This viewing option gives you the most accurate size version of your image in Photoshop

Actual Pixel view

In a 2:1 ratio, the shadow side of the subject would meter at X stop(s) less than the highlight side

One stop less

According to the Inverse Square Law, at a distance of 10 feet from a flash, the area illuminated receives how much more/less light than the area illuminated at 20 feet from the flash?

four times more

What kind of lighting pattern places the key light directly in front of and higher than the face?

Butterfly lighting

What Photoshop tool allows you to select an area of any size or shape by drawing freehand?

Lasso tool

When adjusting an image with levels, if you want to make any color neutral quickly, what would you do?

Click with the neutral-point dropper on the selected color

The smallest unit of digital information is called a what?


A histogram shows what in an image?

The brightness values of all the pixels in an image illustrated as a graph numbering from 0 to 255.

Resolution refers to what?

The number of pixels per unit of length in a image

Bit depth refers to what?

The amount of information contained in each pixel

Color systems divide all colors into which three measurements?

Hue, Luminance, Saturation

Cyan is composed of equal parts of what two colors?

Blue & Green

This stores electronic images captured in a digital camera until they can be transferred to a computer

Memory card / flash card / compact flash card

Using this kind of automatic exposure setting on the camera, you set the aperture and the camera sets the shutter speed


Using this kind of automatic exposure setting on the camera, you set the shutter speed and the camera sets the aperture


Doubling the aperture setting creates how many stops difference in the amount of light reaching the sensor?

One stop

As the aperture becomes smaller, what happens to the depth of field?

It increases

What is the term used to describe a sensor's sensitivity to light?


What is the usable exposure range, or range of subject brightness called?

Dynamic range

The term "ISO speed" is used to describe what?

The sensor's sensitivity to light

A technique used to maintain sharp focus on a subject that is moving toward you is called what?

Follow focus

This kind of lens has a variable focal length

Zoom lens

What kind of meter is built in to most cameras?

Reflected light meter

This type of file format compresses images by discarding pixels; therefore, each time an images is compressed, it loses pixels


In a digital image, the images file sizes corresponds to the total number of what in the image?

Total number of pixels

Can you save layers in a JPEG file format?


Printers use how many bits per channel of information when printing?

8 bits

This type of data backup system is fault-tolerant because it creates and stores redundant data

RAID system

This light modifier can be used to spotlight a specific area of the subject or background.


According to the rule of thirds, where should the important parts of an image fall?

Along the lines of an imaginary grid at intersecting points that divide the image into thirds horizontally and vertically

The rule of thirds necessitates that the composition be divided into a grid of now many equal rectangles or squares?


What is the term used to describe data contained in a digital image?


What is the term used to describe human's change in perception of a color under different light sources?


If your print will be viewed mostly under window light, what is the suggested Kelvin temperature of the lights you should use to evaluate your print?


The greatest tonal range from black to white is achievable on what kind of paper?

Glossy paper

Most inkjet printers intended for photographic printing include light and dark inks of all of the colors except for one. Which color ink is usually available only in one density?


What image adjustment tool uses a histogram display to alter an image?

Levels adjustment

Photoshop's command for a simple way to start using color balance is what?

Variations command

Whenever another image is copied or moved into a file, Photoshop automatically creates what?

A new layer

Instead of permanently altering your image when adjusting for color and value, what should you do?

Use and adjustment layer

A magic wand tool is used for what?

Selecting portions of the image based on color

What color is opposite Red on the color wheel?


What color is opposite Green on the color wheel?


What color is between Magenta and Cyan on the color wheel?


Blue is opposite what color on the color wheel?


To produce optimal sharpness, detail, and resolution, is a higher or lower ISO setting better?


If an image is too blue, what color adjustment should be made in Photoshop to correct it?

Add yellow

If an image is too magenta, what color adjustment should be made in Photoshop to correct it?

Add green

If an image is too red, what color adjustment should be made in Photoshop to correct it?

Add cyan

If an image is too yellow, what color adjustment should be made in Photoshop to correct it?

Add blue

If an image is too green, what color adjustment should be made in Photoshop to correct it?

Add magenta

If an image is too cyan, what color adjustment should be made in Photoshop to correct it?

Add red

A tall vertical line on the right hand edge of a histogram indicates what?

Blown highlights

A histogram with peaks on either end of the histogram and a deep valley in between represents what?

A high contrast image

The histogram of a properly exposed grey card will show a vertical bar where on the histogram?

In the middle

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