NPSS Code of Ethics


  1. Habitat & Environment

  • Do not destroy or damage the environment or habitat where photographic subjects are located.
  • Stay on existing roads, trails, and paths; keep habitat disturbance to a minimum.
  • Do not litter in the field. Take nothing but photographs and videos, leave nothing but footprints.


  1. Subject Welfare

  • Learn the subject’s behaviour and know when to back off and not to interfere with subject’s life cycle.
  • Know your equipment such as the minimum focusing distance, there is no point in moving with a few centimetres of a subject when you are using longer Macro lens.
  • Avoid stressing the subject. If a subject shows stress, move out of the subject’s comfort zone and use a longer lens or move right away.
  • Do not force a subject into an unnatural environment in order to take a good photo.
  • Before publicising the presence of a rare subject, evaluate the potential disturbance to the subject and its environment.


  1. Nesting birds

  • Maintain a distance from nests, nesting colonies, roosts, display areas and feeding sites. For such sensitive site, the use of blinds, remote trigger is encouraged.
  • Do not use birdcall playback devices at nesting areas.
  • Do not post any active nesting bird images until chicks are safely fledged
  • Do not touch the nests, eggs, chicks and their surrounding. Do not remove branches for a better view, as doing so may expose the subject to predators.


  1. Photographic Accessories

  • For birding, learn the biological function of birdcalls and evaluate the potential negative effect before playing any birdcall device, limit the use of other methods of attracting birds, particularly during mating and nesting seasons.
  • Use artificial light sparingly for photography particularly when the subject is close.
  • Use diffused light for close-up images and whenever possible
  • Do be aware that clamping accessories such as Plamp may damage the fragile stems of some plants. If it does, refrain from using it on the same species.


  1. Individual Behavior

  • Practice common courtesy when in contacts with others. Ask before joining others in shooting the same subject.
  • Do not obstruct the view of other photographers who were at the site earlier.
  • Keep your voice low in order not to disturb inhabitants, other photographers and site visitors.
  • Inform others tactfully to stop them from engaging in inappropriate, harmful or dangerous behavior.
  • Report inappropriate behaviour to the relevant authorities when necessary.


In addition to the above mentioned code of ethics, NPSS also adheres to the principles of birding ethics as stated by the American Birding Association.


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