Trust Checklist

It is easy to make photos that meet all 9 qualifications and thus qualify for the “Guaranteed TCQ” label

  • Q1. The use of visible light


    In order to meet Qualification #1, the photo must portray things as they are seen using the portion of the light spectrum that is visible to humans.

    FAQ on Q1

  • to create

  • Q2. one undoctored record


    In order to meet Qualification #2. . .

    After all of the components of the photograph have been recorded and processed by the camera, except for the effects of TCQ’s Allowable Changes NOTHING within the photograph — no matter how small or trivial — can be added, deleted, replaced, resized, moved, modified, blurred, or reshaped.

    Any disqualifying manipulations, whether performed in the device or later, must be undone or the photograph will not meet Q2 (examples include instantly added bokeh-blur in “portrait” mode or the post-exposure reshaping of buildings to accomplish “perspective correction”).

    FAQ on Q2

  • of

  • Q3. one view


    Meeting Q3’s “one view” requirement is automatic with a single-exposure photograph (panning is allowed).

    But to meet Q3’s “one view” requirement when multiple exposures are combined:

    1. The camera or lens(es) cannot be re-aimed during the recording of multiple exposures to stitch multiple successive “views” into one image, not even for smartphone panorama creation.

    2. All elements of the photograph must be recorded on one device.

    3. All components of the subject must be depicted at the same scale regardless of how they were recorded.

    4. The combined result of the multiple exposures must be focus maximized and optically plausible.

    FAQ on Q3

  • of

  • Q4. one scene


    A “scene” refers to the arrangement of everything visible in the frame at any point in time. Each time that arrangement changes, it is considered a new “scene.”

    Meeting Q4’s “one scene” requirement is automatic when the subject undergoes no change or motion during the exposure.

    When the subject does undergo change or motion
    during the exposure, panning and motion blur are allowed

    but to meet Q4’s “one scene” requirement, the satode and motarri principles both apply and the photo cannot show any ghost objects or SMP effects.

    What does Q4 mean in practical terms?

    FAQ on Q4

  • during

  • Q5. one moment,


    Photographs can meet Q5’s “one moment” requirement using either of two common definitions of a “moment.”

    1. When it’s a single-exposure photo:

    Meeting Q5 is automatic with any uninterrupted exposure of any length if the scene has no change or movement in it during the exposure.

    The requirements in the last paragraph of Q4 (above) may limit the maximum exposure length when the scene has change or movement in it.

    2. When combining multiple exposures:

    All exposures being combined to make the photograph must be started and finished within the same single minute. No pictorial information may be added from exposures not recorded within the same single minute.

    The requirements in the last paragraph of Q4 (above) apply to the result of any combined exposures.

    See also the guide to combining exposures

    FAQ on Q5

  • culminating in

  • Q6. one fixed image


    In order to meet Qualification #6, the image being held up to the Trust Checklist must be a single, fixed, “still” photograph that looks the same to all viewers, capable of being printed such that the result could be viewed without electricity, without a device, at any angle, and in any light.

    Note that no photograph ever has to BE printed to qualify as TCQ.

    Videos, movies, .gifs, “Live” photos, etc. cannot meet Q6, but individual frames of these motion-picture formats can meet Q6 and be eligible to qualify as TCQ.

    FAQ on Q6

  • that is presented

  • Q7. without misrepresentation


    No photograph can qualify for TCQ that misrepresents the appearance of the scene depicted.

    If a photograph is to meet Qualification #7, the photograph cannot misrepresent the appearance of the scene as the camera saw it during the exposure(s)

    — as judged by respected international news agencies’ information-reportage standards.

    (Those standards are the arbiter for every one of TCQ’s Allowable Changes.)

    FAQ on Q7

  • and

  • Q8. without deception


    No photograph can qualify for TCQ that deceives the viewer about the circumstances under which the photograph was made.

    To meet Qualification #8, through the photograph and its presentation the photographer must make viewers aware of the circumstances of the making of the photograph

    to the same degree that respected international news agencies would make viewers aware if the photo were used in an information-reportage context.

    When a separate “viewer alert” is needed to avoid deception regarding “inapparent circumstances,” an “IC” is the minimum acceptable alert, so that the label would say “Guaranteed TCQ/IC” (additional explanation, if warranted, can be provided elsewhere and noted with a * after the IC).

    Photographs in which a non-TCQ photograph is a primary subject can never meet Q8 no matter how thoroughly they are labeled and explained.

    FAQ on Q8 | More on “IC” alerts

    Q8 reflects the importance of the “human” element

  • from

  • Q9. a source viewers don’t mistrust.


    In order for the photograph to meet Qualification #9, viewers must be able to quickly find the real identity of the photographer who is personally guaranteeing the eight qualifications above.

    Viewers are told not to trust the “Guaranteed TCQ” label unless the photographer’s name (or personal URL) is readily evident to anyone who sees the label.

    FAQ on Q9

It is rare to find photographs
in trusted news settings
that do not fully meet
all 9 qualifications
as spelled out above.