My code of conduct when out doing photography boils down to being respectful of nature, animals, people, and property, as well as being honest and truthful in my photographic practice, representations and dealings with people.
In particular :
I will inform myself about all rules and regulations relating to photography when visiting a natural area or public attraction.
I will not knowingly photograph on private property without permission even if the property appears abandoned. The absence of a keep-out sign or fence or other identifiable boundary or obstruction does not grant permission to trespass.
I will stay on designated paths and trails, and help to protect the environment by picking up trash I find when in the field. I will maintain a safe and respectful distance from wildlife, and remove myself from their area if they are being stressed by my presence.
I will work to improve my photographic skills by using all my tools when making a composition. I will adjust my position or wait patiently for my desired conditions rather than negatively or destructively interfere with objects or living things within the scene. I will remain aware of my position and how it may interfere with the ability of the photographers and non-photographers around me to enjoy a scene.
I will find another time or place to continue photographing if my actions or presence would otherwise be likely to start a chain reaction resulting in unsafe behaviour from others in the area.
When photographing people, I will do so consistent with expectations of lawful and courteous respect for their privacy. I will portray them in a truthful manner. When it may endanger their safety or well being I will not capture their identifiable features, nor reveal their identity, or any information I may have.
If I see another person carrying out unsafe or unethical behaviour, I will consider talking with them respectfully about the possible effects of their behaviour. If conditions are personally unsafe, or their behaviour is particularly egregious, I will consider documenting the situation and reporting them to the appropriate authorities.
I will be an ambassador of ethical conduct in the industry through my own behaviour, and by sharing and discussing these principles with other photographers and the public.
I will educate myself about the weather, terrain, culture and potential hazards before visiting a new area. I will be aware of and respect 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.
If I am leading a photo group, whether commercially or not, I will ensure that the group members are informed about these ethical concerns, potential hazards and other safety concerns, and that the group size is appropriate given the sensitivity of the place we are visiting.
The code of conduct above was distilled from the following source materials, and may be updated from time to time :
Photography Code of Conduct / Ethics Blog postings
Photography organizations codes of conduct
- League of Landscape Photographers
* I have no affiliation with the indicated organizations, and only borrowed some of their conduct/ethics code themes.