About TCQ

For the basics of TCQ, see TCQ Basics

  • 1. About this website (tcq.photos)

    This website (tcq.photos) is the ONLY online presence that is affiliated with TCQ.

    No other website, social media page, or email source is affliated with TCQ.

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    This is the world’s largest website that is dedicated entirely to issues of photo manipulation.

  • 2. TCQ reflects a worldwide consensus

    Ensuring that nothing about TCQ can be considered “arbitrary,” all of its core tenets embody universally agreed-upon principles.

  • 3. TCQ’s history

    TCQ was developed over the course of many years by a photographer named Micah, who in the late 1990s began identifying the characteristics of trusted photographs.

    The goal was to develop a label that could be used by any photographer anywhere, at any level, to denote photographs that had those same characteristics.

    More on the development of TCQ

    Most of the “development” of TCQ consisted of tackling numerous questions for which no definitive answers could be found. Many of those questions have been incorporated into the FAQs on this website.

    This website was launched in April 2021, almost 25 years after the initial idea had been conceived.

  • 4. TCQ’s business model

    This website is all there is to TCQ. There is no merchandise for sale, no office, no company picnic, and no corporate plane (or even bicycle).

    Since all labor to support tcq.photos is donated, there are no running expenses beyond website hosting fees and the occasional can of pop.

    There is no payroll, no budget, no income, no growth projection, and no possibility of ever “monetizing” any aspect of this website. (Venture capitalists might be wise to look elsewhere.)

    The flip side of that coin is that — just as with applying the “Nonfiction” label to books — there is never any cost, fee, registration, licensing, certification, or permission involved in using anything related to TCQ, not for anyone anywhere anytime, and there never will be.

  • 5. tcq.photos never judges photos

    This website is merely an information resource; it is never a judge.

    tcq.photos NEVER judges whether any photograph meets the Trust Checklist. Only the creator of each photograph can do that, with input from peers, editors, and viewers as warranted.

    (Requests sent here asking whether a particular photograph does or does not qualify for TCQ will be ignored; sorry.)

    This website never serves as a “seal of approval” or “police” or “watchdog” over photo-manipulation issues.

    But neither does anyone else! Photo-manipulation issues can only be sorted out between photographers, publishers, and a vigilant public (including online photo commentators such as bloggers and vloggers).

    tcq.photos NEVER serves as a “consultant” with anyone anywhere about whether a photograph is qualified for the “Guaranteed TCQ” label, and any claims to the contrary can be disregarded.

    This website (tcq.photos) plays absolutely no advisory, supervisory, acceptance/rejection, or adjudicatory role with respect to photographs submitted to any publication, website, contest sponsor, or other organization that chooses to put before the public “Guaranteed TCQ”-labeled photographs.

    To repeat: This website is merely an information resource; it is never a judge.

  • 6. No corporate ties / No advertising

    Just as with the “Nonfiction” label on books, there has never been any corporate, commercial, or for-profit affiliation with, or influence on, tcq.photos and there never will be.

    There is no advertising on this website and there never will be. Readers looking for ads will have to search elsewhere on the Internet.

  • 7. Online forums for discussing TCQ

    There is no published-comment section on this website, nor are there any online discussion forums that are hosted, sponsored, or endorsed by TCQ.

    But discussion of TCQ elsewhere is strongly encouraged. Websites that host photography forums are welcome to set up TCQ-oriented areas where photographers can ask each other questions, compare notes, and discuss specific images.

    Readers who have corrections, comments, and suggestions that would improve this website will please see the Contact page.

  • 8. Translations of this website

    With photography being a universal language (see #201-203) and with TCQ being created to serve as a worldwide standard for that language, translating this website into other languages is a natural goal.

    There will be many linguistic challenges — for example it could be difficult to find equivalents in other languages for related-but-different terms like “unmanipulated” vs. “undoctored” — but far more complex documents have been translated.

    Converting even some of the 400-plus pages of this site into even just one other language will be a daunting challenge. But it is a goal that will be pursued in the future.

  • 9. On logos, graphics, and photos on this website


    A. As with the “Nonfiction” label on books,
    there is no official “logo” for the “Guaranteed TCQ” label on photographs. (That two-word label IS the logo, because like the “Nonfiction” label, TCQ is a principle, not a product.)

    Like the “Nonfiction” label, the “Guaranteed TCQ” label can be presented in any font, color, size, and location.

    B. The little colored icons on many pages (like this one, above) represent the three primary colors and the three primary shapes.

    C. There are no photos or illustrations on this website showing the difference between TCQ and non-TCQ photos; see FAQ #101.

  • 10. No spam, no scams

    tcq.photos never sends out e-mails of any kind except as specific individual replies to specific individual inquiries.

    (That means that unless a person has written to tcq.photos, they will not be getting an email from tcq.photos.)

    Any unexpected e-mails claiming to be connected with tcq.photos may be discarded without opening.


All web development
for this site was done by
Jason Hicks.