Interpreting the Nature definition

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One of the most significant aspects of the Nature definition is that the Nature sections of exhibitions may now have two classes – Nature and Wildlife. Wildlife images must satisfy the basic criteria for Nature images and also satisfy several additional criteria.


The documents that you can download below are an attempt to clarify the meaning of the Nature definition and provide guidelines to help photographers capture and edit images that meet the requirements of that definition. The views expressed in those documents are my own and they are not necessarily endorsed by any photographic organisation. Other people may put slightly different interpretations on parts of the definition.


It is important to acknowledge that there will be many circumstances in which a judge will not be able to tell whether or not a particular image complies with the Nature or Wildlife definition; for example, it may be impossible to tell whether or not an animal was in captivity when photographed, or whether some small element was cloned in or out. I believe that it is the photographer’s responsibility to be honest and not to deliberately try to deceive the judge or stretch the rules. If there is any doubt about whether or not an image meets the Nature or Wildlife definition it should be entered in an open competition.


Note: Any reference in these notes to “animals” can be taken to include all zoological specimens (birds, insects, fish, etc) unless otherwise noted.


In June 2020 the Nature Division of the Photographic Society of America (PSA) approved a set of Guidelines for Nature Judges. The guide is designed to assist judges to interpret the PSA/FIAP Nature definition in a consistent way and it provides examples of the types of images that should and should not be given high scores by judges.