ND DIVISION INFO


PSA's Nature Division Definition of Nature Photography

For use in PSA-recognized exhibitions and PSA competitions:

Read PSA's new policy on the Legal and Ethical use of Aerial Photography, including Drone Photography


» Guide for Nature Division Judges - pdf (August 2020) | in German - pdf (June 2020) | in Chinese - pdf (August 2020) | in Arabic - pdf | in French - pdf
This guide also provides information for members entering Nature competitions.


All images used in PSA Nature Division competitions and PSA-recognized Exhibitions must meet the PSA Nature Definition of Nature Photography as follows:

» PSA / FIAP Nature Definition:
   

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.

WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY

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”.]