More on FAQ #326

326. To maximize the level of viewer trust, should a photograph depict “what the photographer saw” or “what the camera recorded”?

That’s been a long-running debate in photography (oftimes the two things are not the same), but the answer is rather simple.

TCQ photographs depict “what the camera saw,” which is a combination of the two things in question #326 (above).

• Depicting “what the camera saw” is easy to do with regard to non-light”-related aspects (forms and shapes).

For those aspects, “what the camera saw” and “what the camera recorded” are the same thing. The photographer need not make any changes to forms and shapes.

• But with “light”-related aspects (tones and colors), “what the camera recorded” is often NOT “what the camera saw.”

In order to meet Q7, the photographer may have to change some tones and colors from “what the camera recorded” in order to avoid misrepresenting “what the camera saw.”

For more on this, see the page on light.

See also the Key entry on “what the camera saw.”