The Nature Category is for AUTHENTIC EDIT images (see page 12).

Nature photographs may depict wildlife and/or wilderness, both on land and under water. This category is for single capture images and is intended to reward technical and creative excellence in photographing and presenting an authentic representation of a scene, without the use of corrective or creative compositing techniques.


In addition to the general rules stipulated on pages 11-13:

  • The rules for Authentic Edit apply to this category – see page 12.
  • As an exception to the Authentic Edit rules for this category, focus-stacking is permitted, but only if applied to macro-photography.
  • Entries into this category may be commissioned or self-commissioned.
  • All images must be the result of a single exposure of light to either film or digital sensor and must have been observed, but not fabricated or directed in any way, by the photographer.
  • Polyptychs (diptychs, triptychs, etc.) are permitted, up to a maximum of six images per matted print.
  • Images containing man-made objects, or depicting the interaction of wildlife with humans, are prohibited and should be entered into another category.
  • This is not a category for domestic animals, zoo animals, farm animals, captive wild animals or cultivated plants.
  • Entrants must not handle the depicted wildlife or do anything to injure or distress any animal or to destroy its habitat, in an attempt to secure an image.
  • If the organisers or judges suspect that an image has been achieved through the use of cruel or unethical practices, including the use of live bait, the entry may be disqualified. The AIPP reserves the right to report the entrant to the applicable authorities.
  • Entrants are responsible for ensuring full compliance with any applicable national or international legislation, and for securing any relevant permits that may be required and which must be made available on request.
  • Captioning is OPTIONAL, unless focus-stacking has been used, in which case the entrant must provide a caption noting the use of this technique. In all other cases, to assist the judges, entries may be accompanied by a caption of no more than 50 words but entrants must not attempt to mislead the judges through false or inaccurate captioning. (See caption guidelines below)
  • In order to win The 2020 AIPP Epson State Nature Photographer of the Year, an entrant must have entered the maximum of four prints into the category.


A caption should provide the basic information needed to understand a photograph and its context. It should primarily cover the Who-What-Where-When and sometimes Why (‘the five Ws’) of the picture’s content. Captions should consist of one or two short factual sentences covering the five Ws as succinctly as possible. Entrants are advised to go easy on the use of adjectives and adverbs as they can influence the way judges assess an image, and not always in a good way. There is no need to state what can clearly be seen, but if needed a sentence that provides pertinent context may be added to fully explain the image. For the Nature Category, caption information for wildlife must be accurate and may include location, species description, relevant behavioural observations and other information of interest such as whether the species is critically endangered, vulnerable or threatened per the IUCN Red List ( Captions may also include technical information such as specialist equipment or techniques used.