Landscape Photography Ethics Code
The code below is based on that provided by the League of landscape Photographers. I have modified to reflect UK situations and my own practice which does not involve making photographs of people or animals.
Cause no deliberate damage to any aspect of the environment
Take every possible precaution to reduce any possibility of accidental damage
Take every available measure to minimise access damage (such as erosion due to footfall) and consider avoiding the most popular sites.
- I inform myself as far as possible about any 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 where present. If there is no path, I follow proper etiquette by educating myself on the principles of ‘Leave No Trace’. (http://www.leavenotrace.ca/principles)
- I inform myself about the plants and animals I intend to photograph. If I discover there are local agreements in place to protect vulnerable flora or fauna, I leave the area immediately.
- I help to protect the environment by picking up litter I find when in the field.
- I use my photographic skills when making a composition. I do not move objects, pull or break plants or otherwise ‘tidy’ a scene in any way that causes damage.
- 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 non-photographers 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 to them if I feel a positive outcome is possible. 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 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.