My Code of Ethics
I inform myself about all rules and regulations relating to photography when visiting a natural area or public attraction and respect private property. I stay on designated paths and trails. If there is no trail, I follow the principles and etiquette of Leave No Trace. I help to protect the environment by picking up trash I find when in the field. I do not move objects, pull plants or otherwise ‘tidy’ a scene. I move my position or wait patiently rather than attempt to influence an animal’s behavior or posture.
I inform myself about the plants and animals I intend to photograph and aim for authenticity by photographing plants and animals in their natural habitat engaging in their normal behaviours. I treat wild animals living in an urban environment with the same respect that I accord to those living in the wild. I avoid photographing them if they exhibit distress signals and during times of physical strain. If my presence is causing stress, I leave the area immediately. I refrain from baiting (including sound baiting), or placing attractants to entice wildlife or influence their behavior. I keep rare species safe and intact by not broadcasting the specific location of a fragile area, plant or animal. I remove GPS data from my images before sharing them with others. No photo is worth sacrificing the welfare of an animal or the natural environment.
I avoid stopping to photograph if it is likely to start a chain reaction resulting in other visitors crowding the area. I find another time or place to continue photographing. I continually search for unique and lesser known places to photograph to add value to my work.
I am aware of my location when photographing 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 in a kind manner about the possible effects of their behavior, and use the opportunity to educate and mentor less experienced photographers. 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 ask permission before photographing an identifiable person and treat all people with respect. I do not pay people to pose for photographs that would create and unrealistic representation of the situation or take advantage of a persons social or economic position. I offer to send anyone willing to be part of the photograph an electronic copy of the photograph for their personal use as a thank you for being part of the composition.
When people are in need or require assistance in an emergency situation, I help first, take pictures later.
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.
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.