30 Jan How to Pixel Peep Responsibly

Source: Thomas Fitzgerald Photography

The term “pixel peeping” is one of those loaded terms in photography. Like “chimping” it has become an insult used by photographers to cast shade on others. Also, like chimping, the “evils” of pixel peeping have been blown out of proportion. The actual act of viewing an image at 100% on a screen actually has some valuable merits; however, it’s also essential to understand its value and limitations.

I hate the term “pixel peeping” and seldom usually use it. It actually refers to viewing your image at 100% or pixel for pixel. This is also called 1:1 in some applications. The term “pixel peeping” was coined almost as a slur using deliberately provocative language, to convey a sense that this is something wrong and of which you should be ashamed.

But viewing your image at 1:1 wasn’t all ways something that was shunned. In fact, quite the opposite: it was once considered a good thing.

When I first started dabbling in the professional side of photography, I began by submitting to stock photography agencies. Up to this point, it had never even occurred to me to check my photos at 100%, but I kept getting images rejected for technical reasons. The notes I would get from the editors would always begin by telling me that it was essential to check pictures at 1:1 for various technical problems. In fact, the handbook for several of those agencies also pointed out the need to do this. They considered this a mandatory part of the

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