As an outdoors enthusiast, I’ve done a lot of traveling, hiking, camping, and exploring in the many beautiful national parks, bureau of land management properties, state parks, local parks, preserves and privately owned flower fields across our wondrous country.
In the outdoor world there are 7 Leave No Trace Principles that help to protect and save our environment for the animals, trees, and nature that live there and to protect it for others to enjoy now and in the future. A few similar and a few new ethics and etiquette can be easily applied to photography when shooting at outside nature locations to help us preserve our world and protect the environment for the future. Here and there, I’ve included a cautionary tale, just things I’ve seen over time so we are aware of how our actions impacts our world.
1. Plan ahead and prepare
Be prepared for changes in weather – rain, snow, hail, thunderstorms, mud, wet grass, etc., to protect yourself, your gear and your clients.
Some parks, preserves, and privately owned properties require a fee to be paid in advance of your shoot. Do research ahead of time and remember that these fees and can be deducted from your business taxes.
2. Respect other’s property
Always ask permission first to shoot on private property. If you don’t know who owns it , find out and ask for their permission, or shoot somewhere else.. Just the name Preserve indicates that organization is working to preserve something in nature – be respectful.
If anything were to happen to you or your client while on their property, that property owner may be deemed responsible. You must ask for permission, or you are putting yourself, your client and your business at risk.
There are also spots that do not charge fees – let’s keep it that way by taking care of all these spaces as it if were your own backyard.
If a private tulip field does not charge an entry fee, yet you are shooting on their property, be respectful and buy some tulips. This allows te owner to continue inviting photographers to their property without charging a fee.
3. You pack it in, you pack it out
This means whatever you bring to the shoot with you, you bring home with you. Everything – even that snack wrapper, Starbucks coffee cup, or balloon. Don’t ever set a helium balloon free to in the environment . What goes up, must come down. And, when the balloon comes down it can endanger the lives of wildlife or pollute the local watershed. Instead, the balloon give it to your client’s child and make their day!
If you hold a cake smash session on an old porch in a town heritage center. Please be sure to bring wipes, water, and plastic bags along so you can clean up after yourself and discard any trash in a trash can.
It seems more and more these days every place that photographers desire to shoot at want to charge a fee. It is their property, and they are entitled to. I do feel if they knew we photographers would respect and care for their space as if it were our own, they may welcome us more openly.