The following explains what differentiates each PSA Division. Those wishing to run PSA recognized exhibitions can use this information for planning purposes.
Statement on Subject Matter applicable to all sections
The fundamental rule that must be observed at all times and applies to all sections offered in exhibitions with FIAP patronage or PSA recognition is that the welfare of living creatures is more important than any photograph. This means that practices such as baiting of subjects with a living creature and removal of birds from nests, for the purpose of obtaining a photograph, are highly unethical, and such photographs are not allowed in any exhibition with FIAP patronage or PSA recognition. Under no circumstances may a living creature be placed in a situation where it will be killed, injured or stressed for the purpose of obtaining a photograph. This rule applies regardless of whether or not the creature being killed, injured or stressed is visible in the captured image.
There are also concerns about the use of aerial photography, drones, helicopters, low flying aircraft. These should not cause any interference with other individuals or animals which causes a disturbance in their normal activity or disrupt the way any individuals or animals interact with their environment.
Entry in this exhibition is conditional on accepting these policies. The content of images must comply with these General Conditions and with the Division and Section definitions listed in these conditions. Images that - in the sole opinion of the judges or the Exhibition Organizers - do not comply, will be disqualified so the entrant may be aware of the problem when considering entry into other exhibitions with FIAP patronage/PSA recognition.
Further details on the PSA's drone policy may be found at https://psa-photo.org/index.php?psa-policies#drone
» Projected Image Division Definition:
The subject matter is unrestricted for PID images in separate color and monochrome (see below for Monochrome definition) classes. There may be a theme specified for some PSA-recognized PID exhibitions and the exhibition’s definition of the theme should be consulted. Each class has its own Star Ratings path.
An image is considered to be Monochrome only if it gives the impression of having no color (i.e. contains only shades of grey which can include pure black and pure white) OR it gives the impression of being a greyscale image that has been toned in one color across the entire image. (For example by Sepia, red, gold, etc.) A greyscale or multi-colored image modified or giving the impression of having been modified by partial toning, multi toning or by the inclusion of spot coloring does not meet the definition of monochrome and will be classified as a Color Work.
THIS DEFINITION IS EFFECTIVE FOR ALL PSA-RECOGNIZED INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITIONS UNTIL DECEMBER 31, 2021
Nature photography is restricted to the use of the photographic process to depict all branches of natural history, except anthropology and archeology, 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.
Color images can be converted to greyscale monochrome.
Infrared images, either direct-captures or derivations, are not allowed.
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 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 mammals, 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.
Attention is drawn to the PSA Statement on Subject Matter which applies to all sections
THIS DEFINITION IS EFFECTIVE FOR INTERNAL NATURE DIVISION ACTIVITIES WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT AND ALL PSA RECOGNIZED INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITIONS BEGINNING JANUARY 1, 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, to be eligible for any Wildlife award images must meet the following conditions:
(a) Zoological organisms must be living free and unrestrained in a natural or adopted habitat of their own choosing.
(b) 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.
(c) Botanical organisms may not be removed from their natural environment for the purpose of photography.
(d) Images that have been staged for the purpose of photography are not allowed.
Attention is drawn to the PSA Statement on Subject Matter which applies to all sections
NOTE: Examples of images that satisfy this definition and examples of images that should be rejected or scored low by judges are provided in the Photographic Society of America Guide for Nature Judges. [This guide will be updated when the revised version of the Nature definition is agreed to by PSA and FIAP. The new title of the Guide will be “A Guide for Nature Photographers and Judges”.]
THIS DEFINITION IS EFFECTIVE FOR ALL PSA-RECOGNIZED INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITIONS UNTIL DECEMBER 31, 2021:
THIS DEFINITION IS EFFECTIVE FOR INTERNAL PHOTOJOURNALISM ACTIVITIES WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT AND ALL PSA RECOGNIZED INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITIONS BEGINNING JANUARY 1, 2022:
Techniques that add, relocate, replace or remove any element of the original image, except by cropping, are not permitted. The only allowable adjustments are removal of dust or digital noise, restoration of the appearance of the original scene and complete conversion to greyscale monochrome. Other derivations, including infrared, are not permitted. All images must look natural.
The Photo Travel Division has produced a Guide for Chairs and Judges. It is vital that these guides are issued to judges, and that Chairs of Exhibitions/Competitions ensure that all judges have read the guides and understand them. The guides (translated into several languages) can be found below or on the home page of the Photo Travel Division. https://psa-photo.org/index.php?divisions-photo-travel
The prints may be in color or monochrome (see above for Monochrome definition). Digital capture, film photography, desktop and darkroom processing, and commercial prints are all included in the division's activities. The content or subject matter of an image submitted to a PPD program or activity is unrestricted. There may be a theme specified for some PSA-recognized PPD exhibitions and the exhibition's definition of the theme should be consulted. The prints are divided into four classes, large color, large monochrome, small color, and small monochrome. There are two Star paths - Color and Monochrome.
The content or subject matter of an image submitted to a 3DD program or activity is unrestricted. There may be a theme specified for some PSA-recognized 3DD exhibitions and the exhibition's definition of the theme should be consulted.