#1 in a series of “how-to” guides

Making TCQ photographs

Click or tap each tab to open and close:

  • It is super easy:
    most smartphones and cameras
    can make TCQ photos by default
    once any added effects are turned off.

    Just take a normal photograph — adding no effects and leaving it as is — and that photo will usually qualify for the “Guaranteed TCQ” label.

    Most of the impressive photos you see have had effects added and have not been left “as is.”


  • 1. Take a picture with the away-facing camera

    • The self-facing camera on some phones cannot produce TCQ-qualified photos

    Use the “Photo” or “Square” setting on your device, turning off all special effects (not Pano, Portrait, Video, Slo-mo, or Time-Lapse, and no different lighting effects)

  • 2. Undo any effects that were added

    If “bokeh” blur was added, push the slider to the highest aperture number to maximize what is in focus

    If objects in the photo were reshaped to achieve “perspective correction,” it needs to be undone

    If “lighting effects” were added, they need to be undone

  • 3. After doing #2, leave the photo as is

    You can perform any of TCQ’s Allowable Changes — in the device*, on a computer, or otherwise — but you cannot make any other changes

    *Most smartphones make it easy to do these four Allowable Changes directly on the device:

    #5 (reverting)
    #6 (cropping)
    #7 (rotating)
    #10 (tonal/color adjustments)**

    **The tones and colors have to be fixed if they’re so far off that they misrepresent the scene depicted (as per Q7)

  • 4. Attach your name and “Guaranteed TCQ”

    Any name you want to use works fine, or even the URL of your personal website

    See #14 in the Summary for more details

  • 5. Alert viewers to “inapparent circumstances” (if there are any)

    . . . that are potentially deceptive (see #18 here).

    This is easily done by adding an “IC” to the “Guaranteed TCQ” label

    Most of the time an “IC” alert won’t be necessary (but when an alert is necessary, your photo cannot meet Q8 — and cannot qualify as TCQ — without an “IC” alert).

That’s it!