Images in the special Nature competitions must follow the same rules for Digital Projection category of the PSRI competition. Nature and Wildlife image must comply with the subject and post capture processing limitations described in the PSA Nature Photography Judges Guide.
An image can be entered only once in a category in any competition year. For example, an image entered in the Nature competition cannot be entered into the Open competition within the same competition season. Any image earning a 1st, 2nd or 3rd place in any competition is retired from that category forever.
All images used in PSRI Nature competitions must meet the Photographic Society of America Nature Division Definition of Nature Photography as follows:
PSA/FIAP Nature Definition
- Nature photography records all branches of natural history except anthropology and archaeology. This includes all aspects of the physical world, both animate and inanimate, that have not been made or modified by humans.
- Nature images must convey the truth of the scene that was photographed. A well-informed person should be able to identify the subject of the image and be satisfied that it has been presented honestly and that no unethical practices have been used to control the subject or capture the image. Images that directly or indirectly show any human activity that threatens the life or welfare of a living organism are not allowed.
- The most important part of a Nature image is the nature story it tells. High technical standards are expected and the image must look natural.
- Objects created by humans, and evidence of human activity, are allowed in Nature images only when they are a necessary part of the Nature story.
- Photographs of human-created hybrid plants, cultivated plants, feral animals, domesticated animals, human-created hybrid animals and mounted or preserved zoological specimens are not allowed.
- Images taken with subjects under controlled conditions, such as zoos, are allowed.
- Controlling live subjects by chilling, anaesthetic or any other method of restricting natural movement for the purpose of a photograph is not allowed.
Processing or editing must be limited to making the image look as close to the original scene as possible, except that conversion to grayscale monochrome is allowed.
Allowed editing techniques:
- Cropping, straightening and perspective correction.
- Removal or correction of elements added by the camera or lens, such as dust spots, noise, chromatic aberration and lens distortion.
- Global and selective adjustments such as brightness, hue, saturation and contrast to restore the appearance of the original scene.
- Complete conversion of color images to grayscale monochrome.
- Blending of multiple images of the same subject and combining them in camera or with software (exposure blending or focus stacking);
- Image stitching – combining multiple images with overlapping fields of view that are taken consecutively (panoramas).
Editing techniques that are not allowed:
- Removing, adding to, moving or changing any part of an image, except for cropping and straightening.
- Adding a vignette during processing.
- Blurring parts of the image during processing to hide elements in the original scene.
- Darkening parts of the image during processing to hide elements in the original scene.
- All conversions other than to complete grayscale monochrome.
- Conversion of parts of an image to monochrome, or partial toning, desaturation or over-saturation of color.
In addition to the restrictions on Nature photography, to be eligible for any Wildlife award images must meet the following conditions:
- Zoological organisms must be living free and unrestrained in a natural or adopted habitat of their own choosing.
- Images of zoological organisms that have been removed from their natural habitat, are in any form of captivity or are being controlled by humans for the purpose of photography are not allowed.
- Botanical organisms may not be removed from their natural environment for the purpose of photography.
- Images that have been staged for the purpose of photography are not allowed.