The following explains what differentiates each PSA Division. Those wishing to run PSA recognized exhibitions can use this information for planning purposes.
PSA Statement on Subject Matter
There is one hard and fast rule, whose spirit must be observed at all times and applies to all sections, not just Nature sections, offered in PSA recognised exhibitions.
The welfare of the subject is more important than the 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 PSA exhibitions.
There is also a PSA policy on the use of aerial photography - aircraft, helicopters and drones. This policy can 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.
The definition below has been agreed by PSA and FIAP. However, PSA has produced a preface to this definition as below:
There is one hard and fast rule, whose spirit must be observed at all times: The welfare of the subject is more important than the 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 Nature competitions. Judges are warned not to reward them.
The PSA policy on aerial photography does not permit animals or birds in their natural habitat to be photographed from a drone.
Joint PSA FIAP definition
Nature images must convey the truth of the scene that was recorded. 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.
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 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 permitted.
Complete conversion of colour images to greyscale monochrome is allowed. Partial conversion, toning and infrared captures or derivations are not allowed.
Multiple images of the same subject that are combined in camera or with software by focus stacking, exposure blending or stitching (images taken consecutively and combined by overlapping) are allowed.
In addition to the restrictions on Nature photography, images in Wildlife sections of exhibitions 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.
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”.]
Photojournalism entries are images with informative content and emotional impact, reflecting the human presence in our world. The journalistic (story-telling) value of the image should receive priority over pictorial quality. In the interest of credibility, images that misrepresent the truth, such as those from events or activities specifically arranged for photography or of subjects directed or hired for photography, are not eligible.
Techniques that add, relocate, replace or remove or change any element in the original scene, except by cropping, are not permitted. The only allowable modifications are removal of dust, scratches or digital noise and restoration of the appearance of the existing scene, or complete conversion to full monochrome. Other derivations, including infrared, are not eligible.
Human Interest images depict a person or persons in an interactive, emotional, or unusual situation, excluding recreational or sports action.
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.