Macro Photography Ethics

It is after a long time that I am writing, I have been busy with a lot of things...leaving school life behind and getting into a college on the opposite side of the country...and believe me India is a vast country. Away from family, away from familiar people, the months are adventurous.

Excited about the photographer of the year contest, I want to see where I rank, please drop me an honest vote if you would like to. :)

Anyway, getting back to the topic... recently, I was out shooting some macro photographs with a few other people who like photography. To my disappointment, some of them kept poking anthills with sticks to make the ants panic and leave with their larvae, giving them opportunities for getting some good photos. Which is exactly what happened, followed by a flock of mynah birds who devoured most of the ants. And after a week, I went there hoping to find some shots but found the anthill abandoned. The lizards that lived around the anthills weren't there either with no food and fresh mud around.

In exchange for a few images - Destruction of a little bio hotspot.

Is this acceptable? It certainly isn't. We simply have no right to destroy an entire community of living creatures just because we may get some images. And believe me, those little insects live in a different world of their own. Your cutting off a few leaves of cover to get proper natural light might actually leave a wasp's nest exposed to heat or predators.

Your trampling flowers robs them of sources of food.

Some people also use perfumes on flowers to attract bees. But it affects their food intake levels and harms their natural food intake and activity.

Other common ways of abusing insects include throwing twigs or pieces of paper on spider nets to attract their attention or spraying water droplets on the web just to make the shot look attractive...these are simply unethical practices and improper, irresponsible behavior. A web sprayed with droplets becomes exposed to birds that hunt spiders and the insects that the spiders live on...usually killing the spider or destroying its habitat.

While your "ideas" may get you a perfect shot, they more or less mean certain death for your subjects.

The same applies when you are shooting wildlife. Clearing branches and pushing your way into a bird's nest for a photo of the chicks is another common way of abusing birds.

Remember, if you did pick up some insect or any creature from somewhere, it is your responsibility to leave it exactly where you found it. When some creature lives the way it does, the reason is always one - to survive and live. You must think of that and take extreme care not to disturb anything. A life, however small, is always just as precious.

Some patience and good ethics will definitely make you a good photographer, both in practice and by images. It is certainly not impossible to get good natural macro images!

All you need is lots of patience. Here is one image I got after waiting for 30 minutes in a flower patch and shooting 40-50 ruined shots:

The insects need rest too, they all have a different "personality" if you know how to feel it. While some will always ditch you, some will pose for you all day.

Just please keep in mind that you do your duty and spread the awareness on the ethical practices while photographing macro and wildlife subjects.

A Merry Christmas to everyone! :)

Photo credits: Pratik Panda.

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December 31, 2013


Forget Photographer of the year, I nominate this for Blog of the Year.

December 31, 2013


Thank you, Pratik. You are absolutely right. The goal of a nature photographer should be to capture images of nature in its natural state. The only thing I use, besides my camera, is my patience and persistence. We just need to be willing to wait for our subject.

Good luck to you in your new residence and studies. Happy New Year!

December 30, 2013


Ethics are important in all that you do, and certainly respecting other living beings are part of it.
Thank you for your words and wishing you a wonderfull new life!

December 30, 2013


Well said, and a wonderful reminder to us all about ethical photography! Happy New Year, K-

December 25, 2013


Well writen blog. Thanks for sharing and Merry Christmas to you !

December 23, 2013


Hi Robin! Ethics is nothing else than reverence life and education is the art of making man ethical. Human behavior is known....unfortunately man is the worst animal on earth....Thank you for this blog! Happy holiday and Happy New Year!

December 22, 2013


I really enjoy this blog... Thanks for sharing, you're totally right.

December 22, 2013


very well said! and I love your new macro images as well. happy traveling

December 22, 2013


You are right Pratik, if everybody would practice those ideas this might be a better world.
Happy Holidays to you too.

December 22, 2013


Well said Pratik we should not just be photographers but also make sure that what we enjoy is left untouched as much as possible not only for others to enjoy at this moment in time but perhaps for the future as well. Happy Christmas to you.

December 21, 2013


Hello Pratik
That was a read that I enjoyed...:)
Everything you said is so true and well written.
Thank you and Merry Christmas to you!

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