The international definition of 'Nature Photography'
The Photographic Society of America (PSA) and the International Federation of Photographic Arts (FIAP) adopted a common Nature Photography definition in 2015. That definition was revised in 2021 and will apply to international exhibition with closing dates from 1 January 2022.
Nature photography records all branches of natural history except anthropology and archaeology. This includes all aspects of the physical world, both animate and inanimate, that have not been made or modified by humans.
Nature images must convey the truth of the scene that was photographed. A well-informed person should be able to identify the subject of the image and be satisfied that it has been presented honestly and that no unethical practices have been used to control the subject or capture the image. Images that directly or indirectly show any human activity that threatens the life or welfare of a living organism are not allowed.
The most important part of a Nature image is the nature story it tells.
High technical standards are expected, and the image must look natural. Adding a vignette or blurring the background during processing is not allowed.
Objects created by humans, and evidence of human activity, are allowed in Nature images only when they are a necessary part of the Nature story.
Photographs of human-created hybrid plants, cultivated plants, feral animals, domesticated animals, human-created hybrid animals and mounted or preserved zoological specimens are not allowed.
Images taken with subjects under controlled conditions, such as zoos, are allowed.
Controlling live subjects by chilling, anaesthetic or any other method of restricting natural movement for the purpose of a photograph is not allowed.
No modification that changes the truth of a Nature image is allowed. Images may be cropped but no other technique that removes, adds or moves any part of the image is allowed.
Techniques that remove elements added by the camera, such as dust spots, digital noise and lens flare are allowed.
Complete conversion of colour images to greyscale monochrome is allowed. Partial conversion, toning and infrared captures or conversions are not allowed.
Images of the same subject that are combined in camera or with software by focus stacking or exposure blending are allowed. Multiple images with overlapping fields of view that are taken consecutively and combined in camera or with software (image stitching) are allowed.
In addition to the restrictions on Nature photography, images in Wildlife sections of exhibitions must meet the following conditions:
Zoological organisms must be living free and unrestrained in a natural or adopted habitat of their own choosing.
Images of zoological organisms that have been removed from their natural habitat, are in any form of captivity or are being controlled by humans for the purpose of photography are not allowed.
Botanical organisms may not be removed from their natural environment for the purpose of photography.
Images that have been staged for the purpose of photography are not allowed.