Ethics in photography, an unavoidable commitment

Ethics in photography, an unavoidable commitment

On the one hand, the photographer facing his values and moral norms, his attitude and aptitude, his experience and knowledge, his convictions, his individual conscience, his point of view and his personal way of seeing. On the other hand, the popularization of photographic activity, the immediacy of information in the media, new technologies, social networks and the need to stand out among the massification.

We face the risks on reality, manipulation, legitimacy, partial truths, premeditated deception, the photographer and the photography reliability…. Our own values as a person will mark the degree of our photographic ethics.

The ethics of photography, like the ethics of life, is based on respect. Determining a behavior based on values, is part of the philosophy of commitment of IRCC, where we defend the need to maintain the highest ethical models in the various areas of our actions, with the aim of being an example of integrity and behavior. Transparency and honesty are fundamental to the credibility of photography, but this will not be possible without the responsible attitude of the photographer.

The ethical conduct of a photographer is part of his ethical conduct as a person. The rules of behavior must be exemplary in any general context or environment and particularly in the performance of the photographic activity. And therefore, it is an obligation to be informed and know in detail the particularities of our profession or hobby as photographers, to learn to differentiate the right way from that which is not. For a nature photographer, or a photojournalist, it is essential to know the different ethical codes inherent in photographic activity.


The raison d'être of an ethical code is to spread respectful and sustainable behavior that avoids negative impacts on wildlife and its environment. One way to achieve a better behavior during our activity as observers and photographers is to be aware of the problems we can cause, even with just our presence.


In the field of nature photography, wildlife faces unprecedented dangers for its survival. In recent decades, habitat loss, climate change, wildlife trafficking, or pollution among other factors, have caused catastrophic decline in populations of birds, insects, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Nature photography has the capacity to foster people's amazement and respect for it, as well as being a fundamental tool to inspire the desire to protect the natural environment. And although a large majority capture nature in an honest and careful way, there are on the contrary those who, without hardly scruples, take shortcuts no matter the condition of the target to be photographed, with the intention of getting an image at any price.

The photojournalist has the responsibility of documenting society and preserving its history with images, acting as a witness for the public and having as its main goal to visually record whatever events of social interest, in an honest way and with the prudence of observing that the photographs can cause great damage if they are taken without sensitivity or respect, or in manipulated conditions.

From IRCC, it is considered essential to deepen the description of principles and values, promote reasons and feelings, and guide procedures, actions and behaviors, aimed at shaping an ethic that has an impact on the construction of a society that respects its surroundings.


The proposal of certification of images that IRCC leaves at service of the photographic community, allows to objectively measure the legitimacy and ethics ex post linked to the digital image. And facing the impossibility of objective measurement of ex ante ethics, which underlies the acts and behavior that precede the achievement of the image, or that the photographer applies during the achievement of the image, IRCC suggests an ethical statement by which the photographer subscribes his compromise with the ethical standards promulgated by recognized institutions and associations.

By virtue of which, it´s unavoidable that the photographer declares his agreement with the commitment, values and conduct rules expressed in this statement, as well as having read all or those sections linked below, that are relevant or applicable to every image.


Annex 1 – Annex 2 – Annex 3 – Annex 4 – Annex 5