A Code of Ethics for Landscape Photographers

A Code of Ethics for Landscape Photographers

Towards an Ethical Lens

Len’s Code of Conduct for the ethical production and dissemination of landscape photographs.  Use this as a starting point to add too or to develop your own. This is what I do, think and behave. I consider my impact. What will you do?

Leave no Trace

  • Walk on hard surfaces, stick to existing foot pads

  • Stay on formed tracks and boardwalks as designated by the local land managers

  • Stay on the appropriate side of the fence

  • Avoid walking on newly forming tracks by other photographers to ‘honey pot’ shots, alternatively speak to the land managers seeking their advice

  • Clean up after others and take your rubbish home with you. This includes biodegradable litter such as apple cores, banana peels etc

  • Consider and eradicate visual pollution and damage

  • Walk through muddy tracks to avoid widening the track

  • Seek out and follow local environmental best practices

  • Consider the impact of your tripod

  • Leave rocks, plants, and other natural objects as you find them

Do no harm

  • Consider the consequences when labeling photographs (this includes the impact of geotagging, labeling locations and creative manipulations)

  • Photograph birds and animals in their native environments without baits or calls

  • Consider the impact on the environment

  • Photograph without hurting or disturbing the animals

  • Never feed the animals

  • Consider your toileting practices, learn how to properly ‘shit in the wilderness’ without polluting the environment. Remove toilet paper and sanitary items and take them home.

  • Wash your boots or shoes before entering sensitive areas. Remove seeds in footwear and clothing

  • Consider and be sensitive to the local indigenous communities requests

  • Do not touch rock art, nor disturb middens and other sacred sites

Create with a conscience

  • Consider where and how your photographs will be used

  • Consider the impact to society and the environment

  • Photograph where you are encouraged to

  • Create your own individual art

  • Promote environmentalism

  • Plan ahead for that unexpected viral photograph

Be considerate and sensitive to others

  • Be courteous, respect other visitors and protect the quality of their visit

  • Use honest and sensitive labeling

  • Own your post processing and creativity

  • Consider the feelings of those you photograph

  • Consider other photographers as you can become their visual pollution

  • Talk to other photographers and help create a healthy photographic community

  • Consider your tripods impact on other users of the location and track

  • Do not mislead others by presenting your work as truth

Adopt a positive attitude

  • Photograph with the best intentions

  • Keep yourself and others safe

  • Look after your equipment and make it last

  • Give back to the environment that gives its beauty so freely

  • Photograph for a love of the art and nature, rather than to show off, gain followers and likes

Teach and mentor others

  • Discuss landscape photography and environmental ethics with others

  • Share your knowledge freely

  • Teach others how to find joy in their photography

  • Take responsibility for others within your care

  • Teach safe and environmentally sound practices


Pieman River, bellow Corina, Tasmania.  Photograph and Text Copyright © Len Metcalf 2018

Artist | Writer | Photographer | Educator | Adventurer