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The Ethics of Nature Photography

Ethics in nature photography is an oft-debated topic amongst photographers.  My view is that viewers of nature photos should expect images to accurately reflect what the camera recorded when the picture was taken – no more, and no less.  To that end, all images on this site (unless prominently noted otherwise):

tree-swallow Image ID: ts01  
  • Have no post-shutter manipulation of any forms or shapes. (The lone exception being the occasional digital removal of a very minor element, such as an intruding twig, that in no way deceives the viewer.)


  • And…Would not be found deceptive in any other way by viewers if those viewers knew how the photographs were made (e.g., no animals portrayed as wild were actually photographed in captivity, no elements in the photograph underwent significant color changes, no elements were added to the image, etc.).

Note: These guidelines were adapted from those promoted by the, now non-operational, FoundView® Organization.


I am a firm believer in every artist's right to express themselves however they see fit.  However, To insure the integrity of nature photography well into the future, I feel that photographs featuring captive animals and digitally manipulated photos, if the resultant image might deceive the viewer, should be labeled as such.

Neil Donaldson

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Copyright © 2003, Neil Donaldson, Nature's Vivid Images. All Rights Reserved