As a responsible landscape photographer I choose to follow an ethical code and would expect my clients to also. The code below is based on that provided by the League of Landscape Photographers and has been modified to reflect my own personal practice which involves photographing in the UK landscape. I am also a member of Nature First, which is the alliance for responsible nature photography. I choose to follow their seven principles which are set out below, plus help my clients to be responsible outdoor photographers through these principles.
The League of Landscape Photographers Adapted Code:
- I inform myself about all rules and regulations relating to photography when visiting a natural area.
- I do not knowingly step onto private property without permission even if the property appears abandoned.
- I stay on designated paths and trails. If there is no trail, I follow proper etiquette by educating myself on the principles of Leave No Trace.
- I aim for authenticity by photographing any plants and animals in their natural habitat and I will respect all protections that are in place for these.
- I inform myself about the plants and animals within the area I am in, and I will not photograph if any animals are exhibiting distress. If my presence is causing stress, I will leave the area immediately.
- I help to protect the environment by picking up rubbish I find when in the field.
- I use my photographic skills by using all my tools when making a composition. I do not move objects, pull plants or otherwise ‘tidy’ a scene.
- I will ensure that aspects of my location visits do not compromise others – I will park vehicles in a responsible manner ensuring that I do not restrict access for others visiting, going about their business or emergency services.
- I am patient and courteous with photographers and non-photographers alike visiting a scene. I am creative and can adjust my expectations of the images I planned to make. I am open to new ideas as they present themselves to me.
- I am aware of my position and how it may interfere with the ability of the photographers and non-photographers around me to enjoy a scene.
- If someone wanders into my scene, I am courteous and will wait for them to move. I will consider adjusting my own position, or kindly asking them to move when they are ready.
- If I see someone violating the Code of Ethics, I will consider talking with them about the possible effects of their behaviour. I will only do so if I do not perceive any threat to my personal safety. As an alternative, and if their behaviour is particularly egregious, I will consider documenting the situation and reporting them to the appropriate authorities.
- I adopt this Code of Ethics and strive to adhere to these important principles.
- I am an ambassador of ethical conduct in the photography industry through my own behaviour, and by sharing these principles with other photographers and the public.
- I know and respect my physical limitations and keep myself out of harm’s way by avoiding situations where my health and safety, or the health and safety of others, could be put at risk by my actions.
- I educate myself about the weather, terrain, culture and potential hazards before visiting a new area.
- If I am leading a photo group, whether commercially or not, I ensure that the group members are informed about the Code of Ethics, potential hazards and other safety concerns, and that the group size is appropriate given the sensitivity of the place we are visiting.
- I am always forthcoming about my post-processing and refrain from representing my photographs as something they are not.
The Nature First Principles:
- Prioritise the well-being of nature over photography.
- Educate yourself about the places you photograph.
- Reflect on the possible impact of your actions.
- Use discretion if sharing locations.
- Know and follow rules and regulations.
- Always follow Leave No Trace principles and strive to leave places better than you found them.
- Actively promote and educate others about these principles
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