- The First Men on the Moon Left a Flag, and a Camera
- Europe is Sending This Camera to Mars to Look for Aliens
- Watch this Photographer Turn a Shipping Container Into a Working Polaroid
- KFC Fried Chicken Photoshopped as Explosions is Strangely Beautiful
- "Influencer" Bride Goes on Racist Rant Because Photographers Won't Shoot Her Wedding for Exposure
- Take a Look at the Photos That Ended Child Labor in the U.S.
photo by Ocskaymark via iStock
1. The Most Viewed Photograph in History is this Old Windows Default Screen
This image, “Bliss,” by Charles O’Rear is the most viewed image in all of human history. And, as you will find out with these photography facts, it is problematic.
O’Rear definitely did not receive royalties on any of this views since Microsoft purchased the image off of a stock website.
O’Rear may have still received a hefty sum...
O’Rear says that although he didn’t receive royalties for his photo use, he did receive the second largest payment ever made to a photographer for one picture, at the time anyway.
It’s rumored that this sum was over $100,000.
2. The First Photo Booth Was Created in New York City in 1925.
3. 35mm format film was first introduced in 1925 by Leica.
4. The First Photo of a Person Was Accidental
Louis Daguerre [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons
This is one of my favorite fun facts about photography to whip out at parties. Do you see that gentleman in the far left corner?
He is the first person to ever have his photograph taken and it was an accident. It is believed he was getting his shoes cleaned, which is why he stayed still long enough for his photograph to be taken.
5. The First Aerial Photo No Longer Exists
We know who shot it (Turnache). We know when (1858). We also know what it featured (Paris).
But, unfortunately, it is lost to history.
6. Each end of a panorama are capturing different points in time
7. Digital Photography is Better for the Planet Than Traditional Photography
These are the types of photography facts for environmental junkies. You can pat yourself on the back next time you open PhotoShop because the chemicals used in a dark room are actually really bad for the environment.
8. The First Color Photo Wasn’t Taken Until 1861
By James Clerk Maxwell (original photographic slides) ; scan by User:Janke. - Scanned from The Illustrated History of Colour Photography, Jack H. Coote, 1993. ISBN 0-86343-380-4., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1007375
Here’s one of my favorite camera facts: Thomas Sutton, the inventor of the first SLR camera, also happened to create the first color image.
Sutton had to layer three different images of green, blue and red filters on top of each other before projecting them onto a photosensitive plate with similar filters.
It was a process and I’m glad I’m not creating an article about how to create color photographs instead of this one on crazy photograph facts.
Sutton also created the first panoramic camera with a wide angle lens. He’s cool and you should look him up.
9. There Are 80 Categories of Photography
At least, that’s how many categories Wikipedia has. And since Wikipedia has people working around the clock on their photography facts, I’m going to trust it.
10. Camera Obscura Literally Means Dark Room
Photographer/Painter: (my self-made Jean-Pol GRANDMONT, shot with a Canon EF camera, printed in b&W and scanned with Canoscan FB620T). [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)]
The first photo was taken with a Camera Obscura, which was one of those dark boxes with a hole that lets light into the camera, basically a pinhole camera.
But most photography facts listicles forget to mention that Camera Obscura, literally translated from Latin, means Dark Room.
11. Kodak Almost Went Bankrupt in 2012
Kodak, in comparison with similar companies, took a while to start transitioning to digital photography. Because of this, the company’s sales suffered throughout the 1990s and 2000s. Finally, Kodak filed for bankruptcy in 2012, but was forced to sell several of its patents which prevented the company from going bankrupt in 2013.
Thank God it didn’t go bankrupt because Kodak is making a huge comeback with fashionistas and influencers the world over.
12. WE TAKE MORE PHOTOS EVERY 2 MINUTES THAN ALL OF HUMANITY DID IN THe 18th Century
Roger Fenton (1819–1869) [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons
By the time you were throwing your “the world’s about to end” party on New Year’s Eve of 1999, the world had taken 80 billion images.
Now, we share almost 10 times that amount of images each year on Facebook alone.
While nobody loves photography facts enough to actually sit down and estimate the total amount of photographs we take each year, we do know that we take more photos every 2 minutes than the entire population of the Earth did throughout the 1800s.
13. The Only Reason We Have Old Photos of Children is Because Their Moms Would Dress Up as Chairs
It was the only way to keep the children still for long enough.
14. The First Flashes Were Mini-Explosions
This is a modern-day presentation of the original mix of potassium chloride and aluminum that created the first flashes.
Unfortunately, when you mix potassium chloride and aluminum incorrectly, you get a huge explosion.
15. Facebook Has 10,000 Times the Number of Photos as the US Library of Congress.
16. Everyone Has a “Good Side;” It’s the Left Side of Your Face
An interesting photography facts study by Wake Forest University found that people think the left side of your face is more attractive.
The reason is that the left sides of our faces exhibit more emotion.
17. The Most Expensive Camera Was Sold for $2.8 Million
It was a 1923 Leica O-Series.
18. Even the Greats Manipulate Their Photos
Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico-Ansel Adams
Ansel Adams, one of the most iconic photographers in history, manipulated his photos. He dodged and burned his photos most frequently.
See, some odd photography facts even help you argue photography “purists!”
19. The Most Expensive Photograph Sold for $6.5 Million (If You Believe the Photographer)
Phantom by Peter Lik
Peter Lik is a big name in photography, for both his work and his ego which oftentimes proceeds him.
Lik claims he sold the world’s most expensive photograph for almost $7 million, but the sale wasn’t officially recorded because the buyer wanted to be anonymous.
20. The “Headless Portrait” Genre Was Pretty Creepy
Неизвестный фотограф, 1890 годы [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons
The Victorian Era was pretty weird.......
21. Selfies Were Technically Invented in 1839
Robert Cornelius [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons
I’m as big of a literary facts junkie as I am a photography facts junkie. And while the first selfie was taken in 1839 by Robert Cornelius, the term “selfie” wasn’t created until 2002 by a drunk Australian.
22. The Largest Camera Collection Consists of over 4,500 Cameras.
23. One Original Daguerreotype Camera Was Sold for $800,000 at Auction
For those of you who need to catch up on your photography facts, a daguerreotype is a photo taken with an iodine-sensitized silvered plate and mercury vapor. It’s the first way we had to capture images.
One daguerreotype camera, made by the Susse Brothers in 1839 in France, sold for almost $800,000 in a 2007 auction.
24. “World Photography Day” is Every 19th of August.
25. Nobody Ever Smiled in Old Photos Because They Were Using Back Braces
Mathew Brady [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons
Forget the well-known photography facts about 1800s portraits you thought you knew. While it’s true that nobody ever smiled in old photos because the exposures were so long, they also weren’t smiling because they were using back braces to stay perfectly still.
I’d be pretty grumpy in that scenario too!
26. People Have Been Obsessed With Shooting Total Solar Eclipses Since the First One Was Photographed in 1851.
27. The Inventor of Photography Also Invented the Internal Combustion Engine
28. The Longest Photo Negative is OVER 260 FEET.
29. The First Negative Was Created Almost 200 Years Ago
My favorite photography facts are all about the history of the industry, and even I didn’t know that the first negative is almost 200 years old.
Henry Fox Talbot, the creator of the negative, invented it in 1839 and was honored with a Rumford medal by the Royal Society for it.
30. Keep a Photo in Your Wallet If You Lose It Often
Researchers conducted a test where they deliberately lost 240 wallets which had the contact address of the owners.
Shockingly, 88% of the wallets with a baby’s photo in it were returned. A still respectable 53% of the wallets with a puppy’s photo in it were returned.
If the wallet didn’t have any photos, they only had a 15% chance of being returned.
31. People Seem More Attractive in Group Photos
photo by RyanJLane via iStock
It’s known as the “cheerleader effect.” Pull this photography facts list out the next time someone yells at you for your dating profile.
32. The Largest Photography Competition Ever Received Over 350,000 Entries.
33. Ever Tried Developing Your Film in Coffee? You Can.
You can’t use coffee to develop your color photographs, but no photography facts list is complete without this tip: you can use coffee to develop your black and white photos.
You just need coffee, vitamin C and washing soda. Coffee and vitamin C act as the developer while the washing soda provides alkalinity to get the actual developing done.
Check out the above video by Make Magazine for full instructions.
34. In the 1860s, There Was a “Ghost” Photographer
William H. Mumler figured out how to consistently create the appearance of ghosts in his photos and decided to scam people with it.
Abraham Lincoln’s wife even went to Mumler to take a photo with her dead husband.
35. Queen Victoria is a Photography Trendsetter
John Jabez Edwin Mayal [Public domain] via wikimeida commons
She was the first person to use the term “photo.”
36. Leo Tolstoy is Featured in the First Color Photograph Out of Russia.
37. Pigeon Photography Was Created in 1907
Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-R01996,_Brieftaube_mit_Fotokamera.jpg: o.Ang.derivative work: Hans Adler [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)] via Wikimedia Commons
Remember when the BBC attached cameras to falcons for Planet Earth in 2004? Well, that practice has been going on for nearly 100 years.
38. Nearly Every Victorian Photo Was Manually Retouched With a Pencil.
39. Photographing in Space is Really Difficult
No photography facts list is complete without multiple pieces of information you will never need to know.
Apparently, it’s pretty hard to take photos in space because of the vibrations on the space station.
40. People in the 1800s Photographed A LOT of Dead Bodies
Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=281251
There may be some interesting facts about photography you wish you hadn’t read (or seen). This may be one of them.
While post-mortem photography is almost a thing of the past, people in the 1800s would take family portiats with dead loved ones because funerals were one of the only times people were all together for a photograph. And while the photographer was there, they would also take photographs of the deceased becuse it was less a expensive to memorialize a loved one.
41. When Colored Photographs Went Mainstream, Photographers Hired Actors in Red Shirts to Walk Into Their Photos
Magazines realized that people were more attracted to colors in photos than the action in the photos in the 1950s. So, some photographers would hire actors in bright red shirts to follow them around and walk into photos right before they snapped them.
42. The Largest SLR Lens Weighs Over 560 Pounds.
43. Photography Paper Used to Be Made Out of Asphalt
Bitumen, the type of asphalt the first photography paper was made out of, is a black liquid that is light-sensitive.
Bitumen is still used to pave roads and roofs today.
44. The U.S. Government Has Been Taking Photos of Other Countries Since Way Before the Digital Age
The way they spied on the Soviet Union in particular was by launching 20 satellites, each with 60 miles of film on board. The satellites would take photos and drop the film back to Earth in buckets with parachutes.
C-130 Air Force planes would catch these buckets with grappling hooks to return them home
45. The Term “Megapixel” is Only 35 Years Old.
46. The Camera That Took the First Picture of the Moon Is Still on the Moon
NASA [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons
All 12 of the Hasselblad cameras that followed Neil Armstrong on the Apollo 11 mission were abandoned on the moon.
In fact, they are still there today. They needed the extra space for rock samples.
47. The Word “Kodak” Is Totally Made Up
Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash
Unlike Canon, which means a rule or law, Kodak means absolutely nothing.
George Eastman, the founder of Kodak, just liked the sound of the letter ‘K,’ so he created a whole world about it.
48. The Next Time You Send Someone a Funny Cat Picture, Remind Them How Old the Practice Is
Photo via gizmodo
Long before internet cat memes, the world had funny cat photos in the 1870s. Harry Pointer, the lovely guy above, began the trend.
Funny enough, most men who send cat memes still have this same mustache.
49. The Human Eye Has an f-Stop of f/8.3
If you’re in the light, anyway. If it’s dark, your f-stop equivalent is around f/2.
50. The First Digital Camera Weighed 8 Pounds
It also took a whopping 23 seconds to record a photo.
51. Polaroid, Surprisingly, Created the First Auto-Focus SLR
The best photography fact on this photography facts list is that Polaroid actually created the first auto-focus SLR, despite being known (almost exclusively) for instant cameras.
It was created in 1979, a whole 120 years after the first SLR.
52. The First Consumer Digital Camera Was Released by Apple in 1994
But, it was designed by Kodak.
And it also sold extremely poorly. You could only take 8 photos on it at full-resolution and you couldn’t preview any of them.
The photos were fine looking if they were about the size of a stamp, but when you enlarged them past that point they were so blurry it’s no wonder Apple quit the photography game.