The Photographers Guide to Ethical Wildlife Photography
What Is Ethical Wildlife Photography?
The ethical wildlife photographer is the person who will use their photography skills to help raise awareness for a cause or issue and inspire others into action that benefits animals. They are someone with an eye on conservation, as well as capturing stunning wildlife photos, but also making sure it’s done in such a way as to protect wild animals from poachers while raising public interest in these endangered species.
Ethical Wildlife Photography is the practice of photographing wildlife while being sensitive to the animals’ needs and not compromising their natural habitats.”
Wildlife Photography Ethics and Your Responsibility
Wildlife and natural never ceases to amaze me, and once you have seen what it has in store, the urge for exploration becomes unbearable. With a camera by your side and a love for wildlife and nature’s beauty pulsing through every fibre of your being; how can life get any better? Wildlife photography is no exception when one takes into account all that they are able to witness first hand. The opportunity to share moments taken from afar brings an awareness as well as peace unlike anything else on Earth!
As photographers, we should know and respect the natural habitat of the wildlife, we are photographing and should set out to not harm any living thing.
We should do everything possible to observe and photograph wildlife in their natural habitat, which could include blinds, or other camouflage to avoid scaring the animals away, etc.
It’s an issue that can be difficult for some photographers who are drawn to wildlife, but not to the ethical concerns of capturing it.
I have found the most ethical way to photograph wildlife is by using long range lenses and taking photos from a distance. It’s up to you to determine what makes your work ethical and comfortable for yourself.
Many photographers have ethical concerns about shooting wildlife, but they do not address the consequences of their work. It’s up to you to determine what makes your work ethical and comfortable for yourself.
Put Wildlife and Nature First.
A wildlife photographer should put the animals and natural environment first, with photography second, no exception. Photographers of all kinds are constantly capturing the world around them. However, wildlife photographers must tread carefully with their subjects and not disrupt natural phenomena that may occur in nature.
If you’re a wildlife photographer looking for great shots to take home, it is important that while exploring your environment you do so respectfully; this means avoiding disruptions like running or shouting near water sources where animals might live during breeding season or when they have offspring nearby.
Conservation, The Goal of Wildlife Photography
Conservation is the goal of ethical wildlife photography. In order to preserve our natural world for future generations, we first need to gain an understanding of where all animals are at in the wild. This helps us to understand where we can photograph animals.
Photographers who wish to educate people on the importance of conservation usually focus on the condition of animals in the wild and how they are being affected by human activities.
In order to photograph animals in the wild we need to first understand their habits and why they are as they are, which is a process of observation. We can then use this information.
Respect the Subject
You may choose to take photos of animals that you find in the wild. But if you do, follow the rules outlined below:
Never photograph an animal in a way that disturbs it.
Don’t touch the animals,
Do not interfere with the animal’s freedom of movement,
Respect the species and its habitat
Do no Harm
The kindness we show to animals in the wild is by giving them their space and not offering food. Feeding habits are a quick way for humans to compromise an animal’s natural instincts. Park Service may be forced into considering destroying these habituated animals because they become too accustomed to human contact, which can lead them straight back out onto highways where vehicle accidents can happen including those of people who love wildlife from afar and want nothing but good things for animals that share our planet with us every day!
Is Feeding Wildlife Going to Change It Behavior?
Many people are adamant with their desire to help animals in need, but the reality is that feeding wild animals may do more harm than good. For instance, if a bear resides or migrates an area where it’s hunted and fed by humans then they will become too used to having human contact which can make them easy targets for hunters.
Is It the Correct Food and Is Safely Provided.
Bird feeders are a great way to help birds, but you need to be prepared for the responsibility that comes with them. You will have to clean it regularly and place it at an appropriate distance from your windows in order avoid injury or death of small creatures. Keep cats indoors if they wander too close as well!
Feeding wild animals is not just one time thing; there are responsibilities involved such as keeping things tidy by regular cleaning and checking on security issues like placing bird feeder far enough away from where predators could reach easily so no accidents happen near people’s homes.
Does Feeding Wildlife Violate Any Laws?
Break the law and you might find yourself in some serious trouble. Feeding wildlife is a no-no at national parks, most parks have laws against feeding deer, bears, moose and other wild animals; even your local municipality may have its own ordinance to enforce this rule of nature for our safety. The penalties vary from fines to imprisonment so don’t make an illegal move if you want to stay out of jail!
Don’t Disturb The Animals
When photographing wildlife always try to minimize the disturbances that occur before shooting, during or even after. Avoid direct flash when photographing small mammals and keep artificial light sources as far away from animals as possible.
It’s important in presenting what life looks like out in the wild, in all its complexity and beauty. It’s crucial not only to respect the wildlife. The best way we can do this? They are naturally going about their daily lives without us being present at all times.
Research The Animals
As a wildlife photographer, you may need to get close and personal with your subjects. But it’s not just the animals that have to be in proximity for you to capture on camera; you should also know these creatures intimately. You want to understand what makes each of these animals special. What their habits are like. What their habitat needs are. What of they eat, do they have any interesting habits?
For migrating species, knowing their patterns can make a huge difference in your success rates. If you know when the migration is going to happen and where it’s happening, then you may have more photo opportunities.
When you’re in the field, observe how animals behave when they are around. Are their behaviors different because of your presence? Signs of stress include licking their nose or raising tails/ears? If an animal abandons its nest, stops feeding and changes behavior to any degree due to being near you – then it is time for a quiet retreat. No photograph is worth risking the animals well-being.
Animals ALWAYS Come First
While you are on a African Photo Safari, you have to take this rule seriously. It’s your job to find out what the animals are doing without upsetting them in any way.
Identify Your subjects. If you know what you’re looking for, it will be much easier to find them. Try observing the animals in their natural habitat.
Provide Animals Plenty of Space
Keep your distance from potential subjects. Stay in your vehicle stand with your back to a tree, wild animals are unpredictable. Take photos without disturbing the animals in case they are nesting or sleeping. Never use flash photography. Always use natural light.
Final Thoughts on Ethical Wildlife Photography
The thrill of photographing an animal in the wild can sometimes be overwhelming, and causes us to make decisions that override their welfare. The allure of being one with nature for a moment is often so strong, it temporarily blinds people from what’s important because they’ll know they will remember this experience forever. I’ve been there too; you’re not alone!
Most wildlife photographers seem to get close and accepted by the animals they shoot, while still respecting nature. It’s a tricky trade-off. Sometimes it’s too easy for them to frighten their photo subjects or damage fragile natural habitats even when we have the best intentions.
Taking photographs of wildlife can be difficult, but it can be rewarding. Situational awareness and knowledge are two important skills to be a successful and ethical wildlife photographer. You need to think like your subject so you know what they’re doing at all times in order to photograph them as efficiently as possible; this will help create more memorable photos that people want to keep looking at.