Pixel Peeping Is Not a Four Letter Word

20151126 215340 iphone5s_DCE.jpg

Ever double-check the photo you just took:

  • For good focus?
  • For blinking?
  • For someone moving in the photo (motion blur)?
  • For enough details so you can get a good crop later?
  • Too see if the camera picked up the details you see?

Congratulations! You were pixel peeping!

…maybe not down to the pixel, but for some of the same reasons why many people check the details. (The devil is in the details (or lack of details in some cases).)

For example: This shot looks fine if reduced to fit 600×600

20151118 191938 DSCF9987 X-T1_DCE_censored

But if you zoom in, you would discover that it is very badly out of focus.

20151118 191938 DSCF9987 X-T1_Crop_DCE.jpg

So why all the hate around pixel peeping? Why is pixel peeping such a derogatory term?

Anyone can post an out-of-focus, over-filtered, wide shot in Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc, to be seen on a tiny screen.

And many will be very blissfully happy for years doing this and feeling like they are successful photographers.

But if you:

  • Care about the shot (does it meet your quality as a photographer?)
  • or want to be prepared for how your photos will be displayed in the future (digital wallpaper on an entire wall anyone?)
  • or care for you work to stand the test of time
  • or care about preserving a piece of history for your family (see that blurry face? That was your aunt Gilda… I think.)

…you might actually use that zoom-in button on your camera.

Congratulations! You care to take a good photo!

Own the fact that you care for the craft.

Take away the hater’s power and proudly say, you pixel peeped.

And if the hater gets defensive about you asking to see their photos… maybe they have something to be ashamed about.



For those of you interested in how I got the intro shot, it is an AGFA loupe (about 28-year-old), a printout in 6pt type, shot at my kitchen counter, propped with an iPad (in an angled case) to reduce the shadows from the dining room lights, and shot with an iPhone 5S. I tried using a Canon G15, but didn’t get the look that I wanted. The line across the word “control” is a highlight off my iPhone. I could Photoshop it out or retake it, but… no.

20151126 215422 iphone5s_DCE.jpg


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