This page is an entry in the Key.

On the desirability of
A “TCQ button”
on smartphone cameras

  • 1. What would the button do?

    It would essentially be a “Revert” button modified to save in the background (i.e., without opening it) an unaltered original of the image a TCQ-qualified copy of the photo.

    The modified version of the photo that is open on the device’s screen (and continues to be tweaked) would not be affected by the copy of the unaltered original that is being saved 0ff-screen.

    The button would also be a quick way to dig up the most-unaltered originals available when submitting photos to third-party content providers, including news organizations.

    (If you understand the value of a button that does that, there’s no reason to read further on this page. Otherwise, read on.)


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    The button would be electronic an icon appearing on the screen and not a physical button.

    Note that this proposed button would only recover (and save a copy of) the originally recorded, unaltered photo.

    There is never any special “button” needed to record photographs that qualify for the “Guaranteed TCQ” label.

    Almost all of the billions of digital cameras and devices in the world create TCQ-qualified images by default; it is usually only things that are done to photos after they are recorded that disqualify them from TCQ.

  • 2. Why would a button be needed to save a TCQ-qualified version of photos if “almost all of the billions of cameras and devices in the world create TCQ-qualified images by default”?

    Because it is now easy to set up a smartphone camera to instantly doctor photos right after the photo is recorded, before the photo even appears on the phone’s screen (see #2 here).

    In most cases the only way to obtain a TCQ-eligible version of a doctored image is to go back to the initially recorded, unaltered version and make any TCQ-Allowable Changes on that version not the doctored version — before holding it up to the Trust Checklist.

    • Fortunately, “going back to the undoctored original” is easy with the “Revert” option available on most smartphone cameras.

    • Unfortunately, “Reverting” can require choosing between the doctored and the reverted photos (or manually making a copy of one them).

    That’s why a button would be useful that instantly recovered and saved (without opening it) a copy of the unaltered original while the photographer continues to make modifications to the version of the photo visible on screen.

  • 3. How exactly would the button operate?

    All that matters is that the button would let the photographer effortlessly recover and save an unaltered copy of the original photo.

    Other details would be up to those who design and offer such a button:

    • Although it is TCQ photographers who would benefit most from such a button, the implementation of the button need not contain any mention of TCQ (after all, it’s really just a modified “Revert” button).

    • The button could be positioned and named in whatever way is deemed helpful

    Some optional features:


    • The button could be turned on and off to a setting that saves two copies of every photo (one undoctored, one doctored)

    • The unaltered copies of the original photo could have a different naming protocol to distinguish them from the altered versions of the same photos or could be stored in a separate folder

    • The button could trigger an alert that pops up when the photographer attempts to doctor or delete the unaltered original