More on FAQ #505

  • 1. Is it possible to make a digital photograph that hasn’t undergone any changes at all?

    It can be argued that it is impossible to make completely unaltered photos with any normal digital camera or device.

    That’s because each image is instantly “manipulated” by the image processor in the camera, before the photographer even gets to view it.

    For example, advanced photographers sometimes discuss how different brands of cameras process various colors differently, with some cameras rendering particular colors more or less attractively than other cameras do.

    After they are “out of the camera,” digital photos — including news photos — then usually undergo still more manipulations before they are put before the wider public.

    Examples of common pre-publishing manipulations that typically are not considered “doctoring” include

    • converting the format of the photo from raw to jpg or png;

    • resizing
    photos; and

    • cropping
    photos to fit into a particular layout or proportion like a square.

    (All of those manipulations are allowed in TCQ photographs, as long as the result meets Q7.)

  • 2. What about with film?

    With a film camera, in principle the only photographs that undergo “no changes at all” would be Polaroid-style “instant” films.

    All other kinds of film require out-of-camera processing, which is itself a form of “manipulation.”

    (Even a Polaroid-style photograph would need to undergo some reformatting “manipulations” to make it viewable by anyone other than those who see it “in person.”)

Either way, “having undergone no changes at all” is never a requirement of TCQ photographs.

But being “undoctored” is a requirement of TCQ photographs, as per Q2.

The definition of “undoctored” used on this website