FAQ / Guidelines

This topic will contain a table of contents

Copyright Notice

All content, including photography and text on this site, is copyright of the respective photographers/authors. Any use or reproduction of the content without the written permission of the photographer and/or author is strictly forbidden. Please read our Terms and Conditions before using this site.

You may not post any images that belong to someone else without permission. The only exception to this is noted below.

By posting in a critique forum you grant limited rights to other members to download your photo for the explicit purpose of demonstrating post-processing techniques such as color adjustments, contrast, cropping, etc. Any other use is prohibited! The re-worked photo remains Copyright of the original photographer.

If you are concerned about posting your images online please read this article: Advice on protecting your work.

Rules of Conduct

NPN is strictly dedicated to the art and technique of nature photography and all conversation should pertain directly to this. While on-topic spirited debate is welcome, please keep all conversation congenial, professional and non-judgemental of others’ abilities and integrity. Discussion of religion, politics/political activism or any other controversial subject that has little or nothing to do with the art and technique of nature photography is subject to deletion without notice. If you have any issues or concerns with any aspect of forum activity, please contact the forum moderator(s) by sending them a message from their profile. You may also contact NPN administration directly by messaging @NPN_Editor or by emailing editor@naturephotographers.network.

We strongly recommend that all nature photographers review the Nature Photographers Code of Conduct and make it a practice to observe the suggested guidelines when in the field.

Photo Critique

The NPN site includes photo critique categories where members can post their photos for constructive feedback. The primary purpose is to provide a venue for members to (1) improve their photography through constructive feedback and (2) help others improve their work by offering constructive critique.

Though there are no strict guidelines for the photo critique process, there are a few recommended practices that can help make the process as constructive as possible. Please adhere to these recommendations:

  1. Start off friendly with a “Hello John…”
  2. Find something, anything, positive to say about the image
  3. Offer suggestions for improvement. Try to use “I-statements” rather than “you-statements”. For example, rather than saying “you need to make this change to improve your image”, try “I think the image could be improved by doing this”.
  4. End the critique on a positive note if possible; “with a few changes this will be a great image”, “I hope you find this useful”, “let me know if I can clarify”, etc.

Take yourself off a pedestal when giving feedback. Remember that you are offering opinions and suggestions, everyone has their own unique perspective and you should not put yourself in a superior position no matter your experience.

We invite you to post your comments on photos! Even if you do not feel “qualified” to critique an image, telling the photographer what it is that you like or dislike about an image in your own words is helpful and an important part of the image critique process! Learn more about The Art of Image Critique.

NPN Staff Suggestion - When you post an image for critique, please give consider giving back to the community by critiquing others’ images. Remember that you do not need to be an experienced photographer to give critique. It is important that everyone shares what it is they like or do not like about an image, how it makes you feel, what emotional response it gives you, what aesthetics do you like, etc.

Reworking a Photo

By posting in a critique forum you grant limited rights to other members to download your photo for the explicit purpose of demonstrating post-processing techniques such as color adjustments, contrast, cropping, etc. Any other use is prohibited! The re-worked photo remains Copyright of the original photographer.

  1. Open the lightboxed version of the image, in the lower right corner you will see a download button. Right-click on the download button and click Save Link as…, save to your hard drive.
  2. After you have reworked the photo, reply in the same thread with the photo and detailed notes on what you did to adjust the photo.
  3. Delete the photo from your hard drive.

Note: The download button is only visible to other paying members in the critique forum. The download button is otherwise hidden from the public.

Tips on Posting Photos for Critique

The process of photo critique is a two-way street. It all starts with you, the person posting the photo.

To get the most out of this process, providing information about your photo is crucial. For every photo you post, consider including the following information;

  • Tell us what the image is about, what it means to you, and what motivated you to make it.
  • Equipment information. By telling us what kind of equipment was used, we will have a better feel for what we can suggest. Try to include information about the camera and lens used, if a speedlight (flash) and/or tripod was used, or any filters.
  • Camera settings, including shutter speed, aperture setting, and exposure compensation can also be useful to those offering their comments.
  • Tell us if it is a photo of a captive animal (zoo, game farm, etc.), be sure to include that information.
  • Last but not least, be sure to ask for any specific feedback that you wish to receive on your photo!

Additional reading - The Art of Image Critique.

The NPN Categories

There are eight main photo critique categories to choose from. Please review the following category theme descriptions and place your photo in the single, most appropriate category;

  • Avian - All images with birds as the main subject. Images of birds baited with seed, other non-live bait, or recordings must be disclosed as such. Photos of captive birds taken at commercial game farms or photos taken using live bait are prohibited. Photos taken of captive birds at zoos and wildlife rehabilitation centers may be posted in the Human & Fauna category - please disclose the name of the facility where the photo was taken, as well as any other information that would be of value to those interested in wildlife conservation and education.
  • Flora - Plants and flowers. Staged, set-up or studio shots must be stated as such.
  • Landscape - Landscapes, seascapes, and celestial images. Human elements are acceptable as long as they are not the main subject.
  • Macro/Close-up - Macro and close-up images of nature. Generally, the actual physical size of the area depicted by the image should be about 4-inches across or less. Staged, set-up or studio shots must be stated as such. Insects that have been frozen to photograph are not allowed. Chilling of insects to be photographed is acceptable but discouraged.
  • Human & Fauna - Intended for photos of animals that live under the care of humans (pets, domesticated animals, animals confined to zoos, games parks, etc.)
  • Nightscapes & Astro - Images of the night sky, whether that is the milky way, stars, the moon, or deep sky subjects.
  • Non-Nature - Open category for non-nature subjects that do not fit in any of the other categories. G-rated only!
  • Abstract Nature - Images of nature where the subject is not easily identifiable. This is the place for Intentional Camera Movement (ICM), Multiple Exposures, etc., whether done in camera or in post-processing. There will be some overlap with other categories, use your best judgment on whether the subject is easily identifiable by others or not.
  • Weekly Challenge - Weekly, theme-based photos. Regardless of the theme, all photos must conform to the category guidelines the photo would normally be posted in. Non-Nature images are not permitted in this category.
  • Wildlife - Wildlife other than birds. Photos of captive wildlife taken at commercial game farms or photos taken using bait of any kind (including the use of recorded sound) are prohibited. Images that include domesticated animals in a rural scene should be posted in the Non-Nature Category. Photos taken of captive wildlife at zoos and wildlife rehabilitation centers may be posted in the Human & Fauna Category - please disclose the name of the facility where the photo was taken, as well as any other information that would be of value to those interested in wildlife conservation and education.

Note - You may not post the same photo in multiple categories concurrently. Only photos posted in the critique categories are eligible for the Weekly Picks recognition.

Posting Photos

How to Post Photos

Photos can be posted by clicking the New Post button and selecting critiques or showcase and then filling out the form.

File Requirements

  1. Image size - Recommended size is a minimum of 1500px on the long edge to retain some image quality. You may choose to upload smaller files if image theft is a concern. There is no limit on how large of a photo (in pixels) you may post. We would recommend 2000px for a high-quality display.
  2. Image Quality our recommendation is to use a quality setting of 6 (in Photoshop) or 60 (in Lightroom), this will reduce the file size immensely while retaining visual acuity on-screen.
  3. Maximum file size - 10 MB, JPEG files. If you upload a file this large please keep in mind that it will be extremely slow to load for other users. Setting the image quality as mentioned above will keep it well below this, usually under 1 MB.
  4. Color Space - convert all images to sRGB. This is the web standard and if you do not convert to sRGB your colors will not display correctly in some browsers.

Photo Posting Guidelines

  1. The person posting the image must hold the copyright to the image. The posting of stolen material is strictly prohibited!
  2. Whenever possible, identify the subject using either the common name (ie , white-tailed deer) and optionally, the scientific name (Odocoileus virginianus).
  3. Select the single most appropriate category for your image. Do not post the same image in multiple categories.
  4. We recommend that a descriptive title be used - whenever possible, include the common name of the species that is the subject of the photo.
  5. If the image is from a game park, zoo or any other controlled (non-wild) situation, you must post the photo in the Human & Fauna category!
  6. If the image has been modified beyond simple adjustments to color, contrast, and sharpening, etc., please state so in your post!
  7. The posting limit is one image every day per category.
  8. You may post photos in replies as per the following strictly enforced guidelines;
  • The posting of any other photo as part of a critique or comment is prohibited
  • A member may re-post their original photo, with adjustments per viewer comments, in a reply in their own thread
  • A member giving a critique may post a rework of the original photo
  • Any member may post a non-photo illustration or photo editing software screenshot as part of their critique
  • All photos must comply with the sizing guidelines listed above
  • NPN administration and the moderators reserve the right to delete any reply that includes a photo.

General Guidelines

If You See a Problem, Flag It

Moderators have special authority; they are responsible for this forum. But so are you. With your help, moderators can be community facilitators, not just janitors or police.

When you see bad behavior, don’t reply. It encourages bad behavior by acknowledging it, consumes your energy, and wastes everyone’s time. Just flag it . If enough flags accrue, action will be taken, either automatically or by moderator intervention.

In order to maintain our community, moderators reserve the right to remove any content and any user account for any reason at any time. Moderators do not preview new posts; the moderators and site operators take no responsibility for any content posted by the community.

Though they often post comments on member photos, they are not required to provide expert critique on every photo posted.

This is a Civilized Place for Public Discussion

Please treat this discussion forum with the same respect you would a public park. We, too, are a shared community resource a place to share skills, knowledge and interests through ongoing conversation.

These are not hard and fast rules, merely guidelines to aid the human judgment of our community and keep this a clean and well-lighted place for civilized public discourse.

Improve the Discussion

Help us make this a great place for discussion by always working to improve the discussion in some way, however small. If you are not sure your post adds to the conversation, think over what you want to say and try again later.

The topics discussed here matter to us, and we want you to act as if they matter to you, too. Be respectful of the topics and the people discussing them, even if you disagree with some of what is being said.

One way to improve the discussion is by discovering ones that are already happening. Spend time browsing the topics here before replying or starting your own, and you’ll have a better chance of meeting others who share your interests.

Be Agreeable, Even When You Disagree

You may wish to respond to something by disagreeing with it. That’s fine. But remember to criticize ideas, not people . Please avoid:

  • Name-calling
  • Ad hominem attacks
  • Responding to a post’s tone instead of its actual content
  • Knee-jerk contradiction

Instead, provide reasoned counter-arguments that improve the conversation.

Your Participation Counts

The conversations we have here set the tone for every new arrival. Help us influence the future of this community by choosing to engage in discussions that make this forum an interesting place to be and avoiding those that do not.

The forum software provides tools that enable the community to collectively identify the best (and worst) contributions: bookmarks, likes, flags, replies, edits, and so forth. Use these tools to improve your own experience, and everyone else’s, too.

Let’s leave our community better than we found it.

Always Be Civil

Nothing sabotages a healthy conversation like rudeness:

  • Be civil. Don’t post anything that a reasonable person would consider offensive, abusive, or hate speech.
  • Keep it clean. Don’t post anything obscene or sexually explicit.
  • Respect each other. Don’t harass or grief anyone, impersonate people, or expose their private information.
  • Respect our forum. Don’t post spam or otherwise vandalize the forum.

These are not concrete terms with precise definitions avoid even the appearance of any of these things. If you’re unsure, ask yourself how you would feel if your post was featured on the front page of the New York Times.

This is a public forum, and search engines index these discussions. Keep the language, links, and images safe for family and friends.

Keep It Tidy

Make the effort to put things in the right place, so that we can spend more time discussing and less cleaning up. So:

  • Don’t start a topic in the wrong category.
  • Don’t cross-post the same thing in multiple topics.
  • Don’t post no-content replies.
  • Don’t divert a topic by changing it midstream.
  • Don’t sign your posts every post has your profile information attached to it.
  • Rather than posting “nice photo”, “I love this”, etc., use the Like button.
  • Rather than taking an existing topic in a radically different direction, use Reply as a Linked Topic.
  • Rather than replying with ‘follow’ or ‘F’ to follow a topic, turn on notifications by selecting ‘Watching’ in the drop-down found in the lower-right corner of a post.

Powered by You

This site is operated by your friendly local staff and you , the community. If you have any further questions about how things should work here, open a new topic in the site feedback category and let’s discuss! If there’s a critical or urgent issue that can’t be handled by a topic or flag, please message @NPN_Editor

Commercial Advertisement

In our efforts to keep the NPN website free of excess commercialism, please use the following guidelines;

  1. You may include links in your profile to a page on your website that offers your products and/or services.
  2. You may submit your workshops to the Workshops category.
  3. All other unauthorized commercial advertisement is subject to deletion!

Editors Picks

The Weekly Editors Picks are selected using the following criteria:

  • Members who are actively participating by implementing critique suggestions and are working to grow their creative vision.
  • Technical execution (sharp focus, proper exposure, clean processing, etc.)
  • Aesthetic quality (composition, use of light, visual impact, etc.).
  • Originality.
  • Favor may be given to a member who has not been picked before so one person does not dominate the choices week to week.
  • Recently taken or processed images will be favored over those taken/processed many years ago in order to encourage members to create new work and continue their growth.
  • Amount of likes, views, and replies are not considered.
  • Iconic locations will be given less favor unless it is a unique, creative take on the scene (this does not mean unique weather conditions or special processing).

Editors Pick Rules

  • All weekly picks and annual EPA winners must be current NPN members.
  • All full members are eligible, this includes moderators and contributors.
  • All images must be initially posted in the image critique categories in order to be considered for the weekly picks.
  • No multiple selections for the yearly picks - a different photographer will be selected for each of the 3 places in each of the 10 categories.
  • Winners grant the right to the Nature Photographers Network to use the image (with accompanying photo credit) for promotional purposes only.
  • All rights remain entirely with the photographer.

Note: The Editors Picks are not a competition against other members in any way. The EP should be treated as a competition against yourself to grow and become a better photographer. Your first priority when posting an image in the critique section should be to receive feedback and improve your photography, not in an attempt to be selected for the EP.

If you have any questions regarding the weekly picks or the yearly Editors Pick Awards, please contact us editor@naturephotographers.network.

Important Notice

These forums are intended solely for the promotion of the art and technique of nature photography . The use of these forums for any other purpose is strictly forbidden. The NPN administration reserves the right to edit, delete or close any thread, post or commercial listing deemed inappropriate and/or outside the intended scope of this site. All images appearing in these forums are the property of the respective photographers. All images are protected by U.S. copyright laws and are not to be downloaded or reproduced in any way without the written permission of the photographer.

Terms of Service

Yes, legalese is boring, but we must protect ourselves - and by extension, you and your data against unfriendly folks. We have a Terms of Service describing your (and our) behavior and rights related to content, privacy, and laws. To use this service, you must agree to abide by our TOS.

More Tips

For more information on how to use the forum, please see the Site Tips category

1 Like