Photography guidelines

General guidelines for taking and submitting photos to us

We are very excited about your involvement in our project and it’s important to understand a few things before engaging.

It is our goal that photographers involved in the project take their photos in the most non-invasive way possible. This not only protects the integrity of nesting/breeding sites for the birds but for other wildlife that might be utilizing the coastline as well. In addition, maintaining safe distances provides you, the photographer, with the safest field conditions as well.

The following are some general technical considerations and ethical guidelines for taking and submitting photographs to us.


  • Submission of photos in a .jpeg format is ideal. We will accept .png format as well.
  • It is not necessary to send us large image sizes, if your photos are large please resize them before you send them (between 3-7mb per photo is fine).
  • Photos taken with mobile phones or touchpad devices must be exceptional clear in order to be submitted. Some pictures using a digiscope mobile phone adapter are acceptable.
  • The best way to ensure photos can be used is to make sure that the focus is on the bird’s bill/talons and fish.
  • If you’ve taken more than one photo of the same bird with fish, please choose the clearest and easiest to identify image and send that along. Sending multiple images of the same bird with fish will lead to extra data points for us.
  • Be mindful of any modifications you make to the images before sending them in. Lightening or darkening images, cropping and sharpening are all fine so long as the quality of the image doesn’t suffer and the appearance of the bird or fish doesn’t change with modification.
  • Keep in mind that capturing photographs of birds in flight while carrying fish is a technically challenging task. Using a zoom lens and timing your photography with things like the tidal schedule can help.
  • However, we emphasize that keeping a distance from nests and colonies is of the utmost importance as even a single disturbance can have substantial ramifications on nest success.
  • Only submit photos that are in color.
  • The most ideal photographs are those from the head-on perspective in which your picture is the front of the bird’s beak. This allows for visual inspection of both the head and tail of the fish in their bills.

Ethical wildlife photography guidelines

It is important that a certain level of care is taken when capturing wildlife photography. It should be a priority to minimize disturbance of both the birds you are capturing and any other wildlife that might be using the shoreline, estuary, etc.

In fact, if it’s in question, don’t take the photo! We’d rather that you maintain a safe distance from the animals than accidentally cause a disturbance event.


  • Be aware of the habitat you are photographing – how far is a disturbance free distance?
  • The well being of other wildlife – that you are not photographing – should not be sacrificed in order to capture pictures.
  • Most bird colonies/nesting sites along the Oregon coast are on dangerous terrain and climbing or entering that terrain should be avoided all together. On that note, be aware of state or federal land guidelines when photographing at national wildlife refuges or state parks.

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