Question: How do I take good photographs of environmental issues?

stevie is asking a question about permit
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by stevie | June 14, 2019 18:47 | #19702

I'm looking to compile a list of do's and don'ts for photo documenting environmental issues. I'm specifically looking to capture photos that will be useful in documenting permit violations. What are things I should keep in mind?


This list is compiled from a couple of research notes and posts. Specifically from @a1ahna and her work on a monitoring guide for people in Louisiana related to oil and gas issues, and notes shared by Mary Dougherty, a photographer from Bayfield County WI.

Things to do when taking photos of environmental issues:

  • Focus on the subject of the environmental issues whether that's a pipe, a sand pile, an oil sheen or whatever it is that you need to document. Photos for documenting environmental issues are not about setting up pretty pictures, but about showing the problem to people who aren't there to see it in person, and for documentation purposes.
  • Remain on public property such as a road while documenting,
  • Include objects in your photo that help show scale such as signs or telephone poles,
  • Note where the photo was taken with GPS coordinates or an address, and the direction you're facing in taking for your photograph,
  • Have a way to verify the date, either from your photo itself through a timestamp, or from something else such as a newspaper or a phone.

Things to avoid:

  • Try to not include workers in your photos,
  • Don't trespass.

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