More on FAQ #1209

1209. Why does TCQ disqualify a smartphone’s blurring of various areas of a photograph if it is done instantly after the photograph is taken?

Because no matter how quickly it happens, the blurring is still done after the photograph is taken.

How quickly — or how easily — a manipulation can be performed is never a factor in determining the trustworthiness of the result.

A central tenet of reportage photography — on which standard TCQ is based — is that the image presented to viewers cannot show less in focus than the camera recorded.

Any other policy would open the floodgates for deceptive manipulations, because there is no meaningful way to set any limits (see #1208).

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For trust-related reasons, TCQ makes a clear distinction between visual effects caused by things that happened before the exposure ended vs. things that happened after the exposure ended.

Further reading:

On “before” vs. “after”

def/pen: applying “before-after” in the real world

Why are non-“light”-related manipulations (like the blurring of objects) treated differently than “light”-related manipulations (like contrast and color adjustments)?