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Advice from Nature Judge

Photo by Mike Milicia

Our judge for the upcoming Nature Competition, Mike Milicia, has provided us with some words of advice about selecting images for the competition.

Mike Milicia

This competition will be guided by the Photographic Society of America (PSA) Definition of Nature found here :

Please review the PSA Definition, paying particular attention to allowable subjects, hand of man restrictions, post-processing restrictions, and emphasis on story telling.

Given the PSA guidelines, I plan to use the following weighting when evaluating images:

Technical Excellence : Exposure, color, sharpness, depth of field, etc. : 20%

Creativity: Originality, uniqueness : 20%

Artistic Elements : Composition, visual impact : 20%

Story: Animal behavior/interaction/expression, conservation value, emotional impact : 40%

When it comes to Nature images, I interpret “story telling” as telling a nature story.  Even though the PSA Nature definition imposes no prohibition on submitting images of captive wildlife, baiting your subjects, or using perch setups, keep in mind that these images rarely have much of a “nature” story to tell compared to images captured in wild and uncontrolled situations.

I am a strong believer in ethical practices when it comes to nature and wildlife photography and perceived ethical issues may have a negative impact on judging.  In many cases, the conditions under which an image was captured are fairly obvious to an experienced viewer, but this is not foolproof.  Therefore, I would recommend caution regarding the following types of things when selecting images for the competition:

  • Drone images of wildlife

  • Nest/Den photography

  • Night time flash on wildlife

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