Definitions of Applied Photography and its sub-categories

Applied Photography is factual, illustrative, photography providing pictures of subjects for the purpose of study and education. The aim should be sharp subjects with good detail and minimal distractions. Titles must be factual, giving subject details only: images may be rejected or marked down otherwise.

For our Club’s Nature competitions we have adopted the definition of the Nature Class contained within the definition of Nature Photography agreed by the FIAP, the RPS and the Photographic Society of America (PSA). The Club does not currently use the more restrictive Wildlife Class definition. The full definition is:


Nature Photography is restricted to the use of the photographic process to depict all branches of natural history, except anthropology and archaeology, in such a fashion that a well-informed person will be able to identify the subject material and certify its honest presentation. The story telling value of a photograph must be weighed more than the pictorial quality while maintaining high technical quality. Human elements shall not be present, except where those human elements are integral parts of the nature story such as nature subjects, like barn owls or storks, adapted to an environment modified by humans, or where those human elements are in situations depicting natural forces, like hurricanes or tidal waves. Scientific bands, scientific tags or radio collars on wild animals are permissible. Photographs of human created hybrid plants, cultivated plants, feral animals, domestic animals, or mounted specimens are ineligible, as is any form of manipulation that alters the truth of the photographic statement.

No techniques that add, relocate, replace, or remove pictorial elements except by cropping are permitted. Techniques that enhance the presentation of the photograph without changing the nature story or the pictorial content, or without altering the content of the original scene, are permitted including HDR, focus stacking and dodging/burning. Techniques that remove elements added by the camera, such as dust spots, digital noise, and film scratches, are allowed. Stitched images are not permitted. All allowed adjustments must appear natural. Colour images can be converted to greyscale monochrome. Infrared images, either direct-captures or derivations, are not allowed.

Images used in Nature Photography competitions may be divided in two classes: Nature and Wildlife.

Images entered in Nature sections meeting the Nature Photography Definition above can have landscapes, geologic formations, weather phenomena, and extant organisms as the primary subject matter. This includes images taken with the subjects in controlled conditions, such as zoos, game farms, botanical gardens, aquariums and any enclosure where the subjects are totally dependent on man for food.

Images entered in Wildlife sections meeting the Nature Photography Definition above are further defined as one or more extant zoological or botanical organisms free and unrestrained in a natural or adopted habitat. Landscapes, geologic formations, photographs of zoo or game farm animals, or of any extant zoological or botanical species taken under controlled conditions are not eligible in Wildlife sections. Wildlife is not limited to animals, birds and insects. Marine subjects and botanical subjects (including fungi and algae) taken in the wild are suitable wildlife subjects, as are carcasses of extant species. Wildlife images may be entered in Nature sections of Exhibitions.

Architecture and Record is defined as churchimages of buildings and structures or sections of them and images of objects such as artwork, archaeology, statuary, carvings, glassware, porcelain and other inanimate objects. When taking the photograph one should imagine it being used as an illustration in a text book about the specific subject or as a museum record of it, thus the need for complete and sharp detail with true horizontals and neither converging nor diverging verticals.

For Travel we have adopted the PSA definition:

A Photo Travel Machu-Picchuimage must express the feeling of a time and place; portray a land, its people, or a culture in its natural state. Photo Travel images have no geographical limitations. Ultra close-ups, which lose their identity and studio-type model shots, are unacceptable. Techniques that add to, relocate, replace or remove any element of the original image, except by cropping, are not permitted. Techniques that enhance the presentation of the image, without changing the pictorial content, are permitted. Any adjustments must appear natural.

The following Guidance on Architecture, Record and Travel Photography is not mandatory but indicates how we anticipate judges will interpret the definitions. Provided the result appears natural and remains a faithful representation of the original, you may: remove imperfections caused by the camera such as distortion, lens flare, noise and dust spots; adjust any part of the image for exposure (including HDR), sharpness (including focus stacking), or to ensure colours are accurately represented; and stitch together images of the same subject (including panorama techniques). You should not remove any object or part of it (other than by cropping), rearrange any object or part of it, nor add an object to the image. Colour images may be converted to monochrome.