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Image Requirements

Requirements for Nature Images in
APS Approved National Nature Exhibitions

tickWhat is acceptable

xWhat is not acceptable

Images of living animals.
Images that show live animals and their dead prey provided the living animal or its behaviour is the principal subject of the image.

Images in which the principal subject is a dead animal (whether the death was from natural causes or otherwise).

Images of animals (including birds, reptiles and insects) that are living free, not under the control of humans and not dependent upon humans for food or shelter.
Images of feral animals (that is, descendants of domesticated animals that have returned to the wild).

Images of domesticated animals.
Images of normally wild animals that have been made pets.

Images of living plants.

Images in which the principal subject is dead vegetation (whether its death was from natural causes or the result of human activity).

Images of plants that have germinated and grown without any human assistance.
Plants of a variety that is normally cultivated are acceptable nature subjects if the particular plant in the image is growing wild.

Images of plants that have been cultivated (grown with human assistance).

Images of landscapes and seascapes (that show only minimal evidence of humans); natural rock structures; volcanoes, lava, boiling mud pools and geysers; minerals and naturally formed crystals.

Images of gemstones, crystals, rocks or other geological objects that have been reshaped by humans.

Images of rivers, lakes, waterfalls, snow and ice.

Images of dams and other human methods of controlling water.

Images of natural phenomena such as atmospheric and weather phenomena; extreme weather events; planets, stars and astronomical events; bubbles and other surface tension phenomena, snowflakes and raindrops.
Vegetation reclaiming an area previously occupied by humans can be considered a natural force.

Images that show the aftermath of natural phenomena on human structures (such as a village devastated by a tsunami).

Images that show some evidence of humans when the human elements are part of the environment in which the animal or plant being photographed normally lives or has adapted.  For example, it is acceptable to photograph a bird sitting on a fence post.

Images in which the non-natural elements dominate.

Images taken in natural habitats—places where the animal of plant being photographed lives or grows without being forced to do so by humans.
Regenerated forests or parks in urban areas can be considered natural environments for the animals and plants that occur in them without human intervention.

Images of animals or plants that have been relocated to an artificial environment for the purpose of being photographed.
Environments such as aquariums, traditional zoos, open-range zoos, game farms or other areas in which animals are enclosed are not considered natural environments. The exception is large national parks where animals are protected and live a natural life cycle from birth to death without human intervention.

Images of exotic plants (plants that do not normally grow in the area in which they are photographed) provided they are growing without human assistance.

Images of exotic plants that have been planted by humans.

Images of exotic animals (animals that do not normally live in the area in which they are photographed) provided they are free to come and go from the location in which they are photographed.

Images of animals in any form of captivity.
Images of animals (including insects and reptiles) whose freedom has been restricted for the purpose of photography.
Images of animals (including reptiles and insects) that have been subjected to cooling or the application of chemicals to temporarily restrict their movement.

Adjustments that optimise image quality without altering the content of the original scene. This includes, but is not limited to, adjustments such as exposure, levels, curves, contrast, saturation, sharpening and noise removal.
Editing that removes small elements that were not part of the original scene (such as spots caused by dust on a digital sensor or scratches on a scanned image) is permitted.
Cropping of images is permitted.

Any technique that removes, moves or adds pictorial elements in an image is not permitted. For example, cloning and content-aware filling or patching are not permitted.

Focus stacking as a means of increasing depth of field is permitted.
HDR processing as a means of increasing dynamic range is permitted.
Stitching as a means of increasing the subject matter covered by the image is permitted. 

Techniques that combine different images (such as replacing the sky in an image) are not permitted.

Images that result from the use of in-camera techniques (such as slow shutter speed) to enhance the creative expression of the image.


Images created with the assistance of artificial light sources.