Ethics

© Jennifer Leigh Warner

Position Statements

As a leader in the field of nature photography and environmental issues, NANPA occasionally issues statements describing the organization’s position on critical issues. These statements are approved by the Board of Directors and published to major media outlets and field locations. The board recognizes that an individual’s concept of ethical behavior and feelings about the environment are very personal. Consequently, NANPA may issue guidelines and suggestions in these two areas but will in no way attempt to dictate policies either to members or nonmembers.

Available Statements:

Ethics Committee

Charge: Gather, disseminate and promote information on ethical issues involving nature photography.

The NANPA Ethics Committee is proactive in addressing possible ethical issues involving nature photography. The committee helps to promote information on ethical field practices and truth in captioning and also works with the NANPA Board to respond to ethical issues related to NANPA and nature photography.

If you are interested in joining the Ethics Committee, please contact Jennifer Leigh Warner at info@nanpa.org.

Meet the Ethics Committee

Jennifer Leigh Warner — Committee Chair

“As a conservation photographer I feel it is my responsibility to protect and preserve the creatures and places that I photograph. In order to do this, I practice ethical behavior when photographing wildlife. This means always putting the welfare of my subject before me and my photograph.”

Jennifer Leigh Warner is a fine art and conservation wildlife photographer living in California. She has served as the Ethics Committee Chair for NANPA since 2018. Jennifer is a speaker and educator and frequently uses these means to educate about the importance of ethics within nature photography. Jennifer is passionate about shinning a light on issues involving human-wildlife conflict. Jennifer specializes in photographing animals in their natural habitat and feels strongly that the images that she captures can be used as a powerful tool to share the stories of the natural world. Jennifer hopes her images can be used to inspire those around her to protect the environment that these animals live in.


Joshua Asel

“In the same way water gets mixed into dry cement to make it concrete, ethics need to be mixed into nature photography to make it metaphorically concrete. Ethics are now an essential part of the modern-day nature photographer’s toolkit. Following good standards makes us better photographers, better lovers of nature, and increases the quality of life in our photos and especially for our furry, feathered, or scaly subjects. The unyielding pressures of human expansion on wildlife is horrific enough without nature photographers making bad decisions that will directly, negatively affect the lives of wild individuals. Artists are responsible for their creations. With that being said, we need to stay up-to-date on ethical practices to show respect to a big, beautiful, magical world full of wonder to which the fate of humans is tied.”

A self-taught photographer and tracker, Josh has had the honor of working with incredible biologists in the field while photographing stories ranging from the recovery of critically endangered California Condors to spending a year with endangered salmon. Josh’s commitment to saving wildlife and growing ethical practices stems from a need to fulfill his duty to God and a natural love of all things wild. Josh has transitioned into an award-winning photographer, large carnivore tracker, author, and instructor. He founded Wild Expectations, is represented by Wildscreen, and has appeared on multiple judging panels. Josh’s publications include Defenders of Wildlife, Improve Photography, National Geographic Education, Alaska Airlines (Alaska Beyond: Horizon Edition Magazine), Outdoors California, and The Press Democrat, among others.


AprilBencze_HeadshotApril Bencze

“Nature is full of inextricably, beautifully tangled stories. As nature and wildlife photographers, above all we aim to tell these stories in the most authentic way possible. Ethics are not simply a factor to be considered in wildlife photography, but exist at the core of documenting living beings. Without ethics, wildlife photography is at risk of being another way we exploit nature, potentially harming the very animals and landscapes we celebrate in our images. The welfare of the animal and landscape must always come before the photograph. This principle is inextricably, beautifully ingrained in what it means to photograph wildlife.”

As a young wildlife photographer, April’s ethics have evolved from the subconscious gut feeling of what feels right or wrong into the conscious foundation of her work. April’s photography centers around exploring the importance of the relationship between humans and wilderness, both underwater and above. For the past few years she has a focused on sharing the stories of coastal wolves living on rainforest islands on the west coast of Canada, where ethics principles in wildlife photography have been a guiding light in doing so.


Tom Carlisle

“Societal, organizational and personal ethics are established and applied in different ways. Sometimes societal (and religious) ethics become law. But often they are nebulous and lead to the oft-cited ‘gray areas.’ Ask 100 people to express their ethics on a general topic and you get 10 or 15 nuanced answers.

Organizational and personal ethics should not have gray areas. Neither an organization nor a person should be negotiating and re-negotiating their ethics with themselves based on whatever might suit them at the time. My goal is to help NANPA establish clear organizational ethics for NANPA’s activities and to make it clear to members what is expected when interacting with NANPA. My goal with respect to personal ethics is to help our members and the broader nature photography community to establish their personal ethics. That is best done by providing them the facts, existing industry standards and underlying justifications for addressing the many ethical issues that arise in nature photography.”

Tom is a retired environmental regulator, consultant and environmental construction contractor, having spent more than $300 million of his customers’ money to clean up their hazardous, toxic and radioactive waste sites. He has been a NANPA member almost continuously since late 1999. He served as the Environment (now Conservation) Committee Chair for many years, sat on the Summit Planning Committee for several years, and served on three ad hoc committees of the NANPA Board. He has also spent a lot of time as a National Wildlife Refuge System volunteer.


Daniel Dietrich

“The manner in which I capture my images is far more important than the images themselves. Nature photography is capturing the world as it unfolds in front of you without influence. The use of bait, lures, calls or other disruptive techniques for photographic purposes only lessens the images captured. Holding ourselves to the highest ethical standards while in the field not only strengthens our images, but protects the very subjects we love.”

Daniel Dietrich is the owner of Point Reyes Safaris, a wildlife viewing and photographic safari company operating in Point Reyes National Seashore in Northern California. Daniel sits on the Board of Directors for the Environmental Action Committee, an organization dedicated to protecting West Marin County’s wild lands, wildlife, and watersheds. Daniel is also on the ethics committee for NANPA.


Melissa Groo

Melissa served as Chair of the Ethics Committee from 2014-2018. She remains on the committee and is also on the Conservation Committee. Melissa is a wildlife photographer, writer, speaker, and educator. She’s an Associate Fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers, a contributing editor to Audubon magazine, and a regular columnist on wildlife photography for Outdoor Photographer magazine. She speaks and writes extensively on issues of ethics and conservation in wildlife photography, and leads workshops in the U.S. and abroad. Melissa has received awards and honorable mentions in photography competitions including NANPA Showcase, Audubon (Grand Prize winner, 2015), Nature’s Best, Festival de L’Oiseau, and Birds as Art. Her work has been published in numerous books and magazines, including Smithsonian, Audubon, National Wildlife, and Living Bird.  In 2017, she was awarded the Katie O’Brien Lifetime Achievement Award by Audubon Connecticut for demonstrating exceptional leadership and commitment to the conservation of birds, other wildlife, and their habitats. That same year she received NANPA’s Vision Award given to a photographer every 2 years in recognition of early career excellence, vision and inspiration to others in nature photography, conservation and education. Melissa is represented by National Geographic Image Collection and has a long-term gallery at Audubon Greenwich in Connecticut.


Mark Hendricks

“There’s a lot of pressure on wildlife and wild lands and everyone with a smart phone is suddenly a photographer. Unfortunately the technological zeitgeist has become one where the photograph is more paramount than the subject in the photograph. As I tell my students, the beauty of acting ethically in nature is that it is actually quite easy to do! Learn about your subject, care about your subject, do not damage plants or harass animals, and do not break the law. By being an ethical nature photographer you will become a much better photographer and a greater steward of the environment. You’ll also become a much more emphatic person (and cooler to hang out with!).”

Mark Hendricks is a freelance conservation photographer, writer, and author working on environmental issues. A former marine mammal biologist, aquarist, and marine animal rescuer, he turned to using his camera as a storytelling tool for conservation purposes. Much of his current work focuses on the diverse habitats of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. His images and articles have been featured numerous publications and books including: Nature Photographer, Outdoor Life, Audubon, Earth Island Journal, and Africa Geographic. His photographs have graced the walls of numerous exhibitions including the famed G2 Gallery of Venice, California. His first book, Natural Wonders of Assateague Island, was released in June 2017. Mark is a adjunct faculty member at Towson University where he teaches courses in ethology and research methodology.


Nick Kanakis

“Having worked in conservation, I have seen worthy efforts fall short and research go unrecognized without community appreciation for wildlife. Wildlife photography changes this by engaging the public and creating a climate that values protecting wildlife and its habitat. It can quickly inspire admiration from those who once feared often misunderstood animals and give people a new respect for more familiar feathered inhabitants.”

Nick is a Dallas, Texas, based wildlife and conservation photographer, ecologist, and birder. His work aims to bring a wide audience into the lives of birds, insects, and reptiles through ethical photography. Outside of photography, he is a birding guide and conservationist for Audubon Texas whose bird list will hopefully hit 4,000 species soon.


johnemarriott5John E. Marriott

John E. Marriott is one of Canada’s premier professional wildlife and nature photographers, with images published worldwide by National Geographic, BBC Wildlife, Canadian Geographic, McLean’s, and Reader’s Digest. He is a contributing editor in Outdoor Photography Canada magazine and the host of the popular web series EXPOSED with John E. Marriott.

John has produced five coffee table books and one guidebook, including three Canadian bestsellers: Banff and Lake Louise: Images of Banff National Park (2007), Wildlife of the Canadian Rockies: A Glimpse at Life on the Wild Side (2008), and The Canadian Rockies: Banff, Jasper, and Beyond (2009). He just recently released The Pipestones: The Rise and Fall of a Wolf Family.

John is the owner/operator of Canadian Wildlife Photography Tours, featuring wildlife photo adventures, workshops, and expeditions to out-of-the-way Canadian locales.

John prides himself on being a conservation photographer known for photographing wilderness scenes and wild, free-roaming animals in their natural habitats.


Diana McPherson

Diana is a wildlife and conservation photographer based in Richland, Washington. Her images have appeared in Nature Photographer and New Mexico magazines, and Sierra Club’s Day Hikes in the Santa Fe Area guide book. She and her daughter produced a poetry and photography book for all ages, Poetry from Nature’s Wonders. They are currently working on the second volume.

Diana has a strong research background with marine mammals, shorebirds, abalone, sharks, elk and raptors. She has worked with all ages as an environmental educator, traveled through the Caribbean as a SCUBA instructor, and worked on reef fish research in Belize. Her passion for wildlife photography stems from a love of animals at a young age. “I still have the first shark book I bought at the book fair in elementary school.”


Mike Milicia Portraits Great Meadows - 18Nov13Michael Milicia

Mike is a Massachusetts-based wildlife photographer, instructor, and workshop leader. He began his professional photography career in 2005 after working 27 years as a Software Engineer and quickly gravitated toward birds as his main subject.  He strives to create images that include an artistic element and have an aesthetic appeal that transcends their role as natural history documentation.

Mike’s work has been featured in numerous juried art fairs and exhibits throughout New England and has garnered awards from the North American Nature Photography Association, National Audubon Society, St. Augustine Alligator Farm, Birdphotographers.net, and Naturescapes.net.  His images are represented by Birdimagency and publication credits include National Geographic Magazine, Audubon, Nature’s Best, National Wildlife Federation, Science et Vie Junior, Palm Press, and Woodmansterne Publications.

Mike is passionate about the welfare of his subjects and prefers to work with wild birds in their natural habitat with as little disruption to their normal routine as possible.  He is equally passionate about teaching photography and helping clients take their imagery to the next level.  His engineering background makes him especially adept at communicating complex subjects in a well organized, step by step manner that proves to be very effective for beginners and more experienced photographers alike.


Roberta Olenick _6BC1562Roberta Olenick

Roberta Olenick is a freelance wildlife photographer based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her images have appeared in a variety of publications including BBC Wildlife, National Geographic, and Canadian Geographic. She has a Master’s degree in Zoology (Animal Ecology) and has worked as a park interpreter, a natural history writer, and an environmental activist for a variety of organizations including Earth Island Institute and Ecojustice Canada.

As a photographer, she is constantly learning how best to further minimize her impact on the creatures who give themselves to her camera. Her ultimate goal is to never spook the animals.


Natalie Robertson

“In this digital age of social media and the instant sharing of information, ethics in nature photography is becoming increasingly more important. As human encroachment continues its ugly and transformative march, shrinking our wild lands and making the wild residents within them more accessible and exposed than ever, we as nature photographers have a duty to tell the truth about these places and creatures. We as documentarians also have the responsibility of keeping them wild, and should always strive to minimize our impact on our subjects when out in the field. Unlike other observers, we come away with more than just a memory — we come away with a glimpse into the secret life of an animal, plant, or place which has the powerful ability to provoke emotion and move others to care about what we witnessed, even though they have never seen it themselves. Because of this we are held to a higher standard of responsibility in the way we conduct ourselves and should always put the welfare of our subjects ahead of our own desire to document them.

My hope is that ethical practices become the norm in this passionate and important craft of nature and wildlife photography, and that it brings us as a photographic community together to help inspire and foster a healthy relationship between the human and natural world. There has never been a more critical need for it as there is now.”

Natalie Robertson is an emerging freelance wildlife photographer based out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She has had a deep love for nature and animals as long as she can remember, and grew up using art and writing to express her passion for wildlife and conservation issues. Her lifelong obsession with birds led to her picking up a DSLR to enjoy the challenge of capturing birds and other wildlife in their natural habitats. It quickly became apparent to her that photography was the perfect marriage of art and science, and that it could carry her voice to join the chorus of those speaking up for conservation issues. Natalie strives to use her art to not only encourage people to pay attention to the beauty in the natural world around them, but to inspire them to want to save it.


Andy Smith

Andy has had a passion for photography for many years, developing a large portfolio of slides from around the world during travels for the church. In 2004 he established Andy Smith Photography to pursue his interest in bringing people in touch with the natural world through nature photography. He is a juried Master Artisan of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen and has been a NANPA member since 2006. He regularly exhibits at numerous fine art and craft shows in the Mid-Atlantic region, does educational photography presentations, and judges at local camera clubs.His images are presently available in galleries and shops in Pennsylvania and at Shop.AndySmithPhotography.com.

Andy has recently moved  to Newton, New Jersey, living previously in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area for 39 years. After completing a 35-year career as a campus minister and then Director of Social Responsibility in Investments for the American Baptist Churches USA, he consulted with corporations on building a sustainable society, taught ethics and philosophy at Neumann College, and later taught sustainability and business ethics in the leadership and MBA programs at Penn State Great Valley for ten years. Andy’s formal education includes an AB in history from Duke University, an STB from Harvard University and a PHD in Religion and Society from Drew University.


IngridTaylarProfileIngrid Taylar

“I was fortunate to embrace nature photography in conjunction with my volunteer work at a wildlife hospital. It brought me into an ethical framework that demanded respect and care for individual animals. That paradigm helped guide my field practice, and formed my relationship to the wildlife I photograph. At its most fundamental, ethical wildlife photography holds the welfare of the animal above any photographic capture. At its most expansive, it promotes increased consideration and compassion for wild animals through practice, education, conversation, and advocacy. The choices we make form the collective ethos of our community as photographers, and also contribute to the overarching issues of animal welfare and species conservation. The stories we tell through imagery can be transformative with this message at the heart of our work.”

Ingrid is a freelance writer, photographer, and book researcher. In the context of her wildlife rehabilitation experience, she completed Hazwoper certification for oil spill response, and trained in wildlife emergency field rescue. Her photographs appear in a variety of publications, and she regularly volunteers her time and work for environmental and animal advocacy groups.