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.
Attention is drawn to the PSA Statement on Subject Matter which applies to all sections and to the Editing Guidelines for Nature, Photojournalism and Photo Travel
Editing Guidelines for Nature, Photojournalism and Photo Travel
These sections require images to be truthful records, so there are limits on the amount of manipulation allowed.
Processing or editing must be limited to making the image look as close to the original scene as possible, except that conversion to grayscale monochrome is allowed.
Allowed editing techniques:
- Cropping, straightening and perspective correction.
- Removal or correction of elements added by the camera or lens, such as dust spots, noise, chromatic aberration and lens distortion.
- Global and selective adjustments such as brightness, hue, saturation and contrast to restore the appearance of the original scene.
- Complete conversion of color images to grayscale monochrome.
- Blending of multiple images of the same subject and combining them in camera or with software (exposure blending or focus stacking);
- Image stitching – combining multiple images with overlapping fields of view that are taken consecutively (panoramas);
Editing techniques that are not allowed:
- Removing, adding to, moving or changing any part of an image, except for cropping and straightening.
- Adding a vignette during processing.
- Blurring parts of the image during processing to hide elements in the original scene.
- Darkening parts of the image during processing to hide elements in the original scene.
- All conversions other than to complete grayscale monochrome.
- Conversion of parts of an image to monochrome, or partial toning, desaturation or over-saturation of color
For the purpose of this exhibition any border added to a digital file must be a single border of white or grey, no greater than 3-5 pixels in width.