Produced by The Nature Group of The Royal Photographic Society.
Revised in 1997 and 2007 in consultation with the RSPB and the three Statutory Nature Conservation Councils.
"The welfare of the subject is more important than the photograph.”
- Photography should not be undertaken if it puts the subject at risk. Risk to the subject, in this context, means risk of disturbance, physical damage, causing anxiety, consequential predation, and lessened reproductive success.
- Photography may be seen as a criminal offence with relation to some species, since disturbance will be occasioned.
- Many species are afforded special legal protection. The Law as it affects nature photography must be observed. For Great Britain the main legislation is listed at the end of this leaflet. In other countries one should find out in advance any restrictions that apply.
- Apparent lax or absence of local legislation should not lead any photographer to relax his/her own high standard.
- The photographer should be familiar with the natural history of the subject; the more complex the life-form and the rarer the species, the greater his/ her knowledge must be. He/ she should also be sufficiently familiar with other natural history subjects to be able to avoid damaging their interests accidentally. Photography of uncommon creatures and plants by people who know nothing of the hazards to species and habitat is to be deplored.
- With reference to Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs): anyone who intentionally or recklessly destroys or damages any of the flora, fauna, geological or physio-graphical features by reason of which a site is of special interest, or intentionally or recklessly disturbs any of those fauna, is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine.
- It is important for the good name of nature photography that its practitioners observe normal social courtesies. Permission should be obtained before working on private land and other naturalists should not be incommoded. Work at sites and colonies which are subjects of special study should be coordinated with the people concerned.
- Photographs of dead, stuffed, homebred, captive, cultivated, or otherwise controlled specimens may be of genuine value but should never be passed off as wild and free. Users of such photographs (irrespective of the purpose for which it is thought they will be used) should always be informed, regardless of how little they may seem to care.