Media Release:

Common definition for nature and wildlife photography agreed


1 June 2O14 — Three of the world’s largest international photography organisations have defined a common definition for nature and wildlife photography. The Photographic Society of America (PSA) which represents 6,500 members and 470 camera clubs, the Federation lnternationale de I’Art Photographique (FIAP) which represents more than 85 national associations and The Royal Photographic society (RPS) with over 11,000 UK and international members will all use the same definition for nature and wildlife categories for their respective competitions and exhibitions. The new definition will come in to effect from 1 January 2015.

The introduction of a common definition is primarily intended to provide clarity to competition entrants. In addition, it will support efforts by all three bodies and their affiliated organisations to clamp down on those entering ineligible images or who set out to abuse the rules.

Commenting on the new definition John Davis, President of PSA, Riccardo Busi, President of FIAP and Derek Birch, President of The RPS said: “The development of a common definition for nature and wildlife photography will be an important step in helping photographers, many of whom enter competitions internationally, know what the rules are. It will also provide organisers with a very clear definition when they need to deal with the problem of ineligible images. We would encourage other competition organisers to adopt the definition.”

The new definition is below:

Nature Photography Definition

Nature photography is restricted to the use of the photographic process to depict all branches of natural history, except anthropology and archaeology, in such a fashion that a well-informed person will be able to identify the subject material and certify its honest presentation. The story telling value of a photograph must be weighed more than the pictorial quality while maintaining high technical quality. Human elements shall not be present, except where those human elements are integral parts of the nature story such as nature subjects, like barn owls or storks, adapted to an environment modified by humans, or where those human elements are in situations depicting natural forces, like hurricanes or tidal waves. Scientific bands, scientific tags or radio collars on wild animals are permissible. Photographs of human created hybrid plants, cultivated plants, feral animals, domestic animals, or mounted specimens are ineligible, as is any form of manipulation that alters the truth of the photographic statement.

No techniques that add, relocate, replace, or remove pictorial elements except by cropping are permitted. Techniques that enhance the presentation of the photograph without changing the nature story or the pictorial content, or without altering the content of the original scene, are permitted including HDR, focus stacking and dodging/burning. Techniques that remove elements added by the camera, such as dust spots, digital noise, and film scratches, are allowed. Stitched images are not permitted. All allowed adjustments must appear natural. Colour images can be converted to greyscale monochrome. Infrared images, either direct-captures or derivations, are not allowed.

Images used in Nature Photography competitions may be divided in two classes: Nature and Wildlife.

Images entered in Nature sections meeting the Nature Photography Definition above can have landscapes, geologic formations, weather phenomena, and extant organisms as the primary subject matter. This includes images taken with the subjects in controlled conditions, such as zoos, game farms, botanical gardens, aquariums and any enclosure where the subjects are totally dependent on man for food.

Images entered in Wildlife sections meeting the Nature Photography Definition above are further defined as one or more extant zoological or botanical organisms free and unrestrained in a natural or adopted habitat. Landscapes, geologic formations, photographs of zoo or game farm animals, or of any extant zoological or botanical species taken under controlled conditions are not eligible in Wildlife sections. Wildlife is not limited to animals, birds and insects. Marine subjects and botanical subjects (including fungi and algae) taken in the wild are suitable wildlife subjects, as are carcasses of extant species. Wildlife images may be entered in Nature sections of Exhibitions.


The Photographic Society of America (PSA) is an educational non-profit organization founded in 1934, dedicated to the promotion of the art and science of photography. It is an international organization comprised of individual, club, federation and society members from around the world. The Society publishes the PSA Journal, provides recognition to international exhibitions, publishes an annual Who’s Who in photography list, provides online education courses for photographers, offers study groups and other member services, conducts an annual Conference and offers events year-around through its Chapters, member Councils and Clubs, and provides honours, distinctions and other recognitions to photographers. http://www.psajrhoto.orE. Contact: Daniel Charbonnet, e:

The International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP), is an educational non-profit organization recognized by UNESCO, founded in 1950, which affiliates as operational members, the national associations of photography. FIAP counts more than 85 national associations in the five continents and represents the benefits of nearly one million individual photographers. Since September 2004, camera-clubs and regional groups of clubs can join FIAP, under some conditions. The official languages of FIAP are French and English. The official texts are also translated in German and Spanish. Its purpose is the promotion of photographic art in all its aspects and through all kinds of photographic events. FIAP holds over 500 events around the world every year and provides honours, distinctions and other recognitions to photographers.!. Contact: Pierluigi Rizzalo e:

The Royal Photographic Society is an educational charity founded in 1853 ‘to promote the Art and Science of photography’. With a membership open to everyone The Society is the UK’s largest organisation representing photographers with over 11,000 members in the UK and abroad. The Society publishes the RPS Journal and Imaging Science Journal and it holds over 300 events around the UK and overseas. For more information see: Contact: Dr Michael Pritchard, Director-General, e:

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