My Code of Ethics and the League of Landscape Photographers
I've always had a strong code of ethics with regard to my photographic and environmental activities. I've always been conscience about not leaving a trace when I'm photographing or enjoying the outdoors. It's becoming too common to hear about photographers causing damage to sensitive areas and animals by neglecting common sense and ethics. When I found out about the League of Landscape Photographers, I immediately wanted to join the movement when I read what it was about. Our code of industry ethics, goals and visions are aligned. The League of Landscape Photographers does not require payment to join, and every nature photographer is allowed to join as long as they publicly state and adhere to a strong code of ethics. The code of ethics can be generalized into three sections, Environment, Social and Self.
My Environment code relates to physical aspects of the outdoor world. Some of these ethical points include informing myself about all photographic rules and regulations when photographing an area, not knowingly stepping onto private property without permission, staying on designated paths and trails, aiming to photograph plants and animals in their natural habitat and engaging in their normal behaviors, not photographing animals if they are exhibiting signs of stress / physical strain, picking up trash I find in the field, not destroying a scene by removing trees or plants, and not baiting or placing attractants to entice wildlife.
My Social code relates to the aspects of dealing with people. Some of these ethical points include asking permission before photographing an identifiable person, treating all people with respect, treating models with courtesy and providing appropriate payment, not reimbursing people if it would take advantage of their social or economic position, being patient and courteous to non-photographers visiting a scene, being aware of my own position in a scene and trying not to interfere with others trying to enjoy the experience, and consider talking to someone who is violating the Code of Ethics if there is no perceived threat to my personal safety, or documenting and reporting them to the appropriate authorities if their behavior is particularly egregious.
My Self code relates to aspects of my personal self. Some of these ethical points include adopting this Code of Ethics and striving to adhere to these important principles, being an ambassador of ethical conduct in the industry through my own behavior and sharing these principles with other photographers and the public, knowing and respecting my physical limitations and keep myself out of harm's way by avoiding situations where my health and safety or the health and safety of others could be put at risk by my actions, educating myself about the weather / terrain / culture and potential hazards before visiting a new area, ensuring all members of a photo group I may be leading are familiar with the Code of Ethics and potential hazards and other safety concerns and that the group size is appropriate for the place being visited, and always being forthcoming about my post-processing and refrain from representing my photographs as something they are not.