Nature photography depicts living, untamed animals, uncultivated plants in a natural habitat, geology, and the wide diversity of natural phenomena. Images of animals that are domesticated, caged or under any form of restraint, as well as cultivated plants, are ineligible.
The subject of the image must be in its natural environment and may include animals and birds living freely within conservation or nature reserves. Naturalised subjects are allowable, providing they are photographed under natural, not domestic conditions. Examples of naturalised subjects are deer, black swan, monarch butterfly, and briar (not cultivated) roses. Minimal evidence of human influence is acceptable for some nature subjects where they have adapted to an environment modified by humans. Examples include shags, harrier hawks, and welcome swallows. The presence of scientific bands on wild animals is acceptable. The accurate record of the subject and the natural environment are the prime factors.
All images must maintain a faithful representation of a natural form, behaviour or phenomenon as captured in the original image. No elements within the original image may be moved, cloned, introduced, deleted, rearranged or combined. No artificial, false or substitute backgrounds are to be used. Any manipulation or modification to the original image is limited to minor retouching of blemishes and must not alter the content of the original scene. Resizing, cropping, selective lightening or darkening and restoration of the original colour of the scene are also acceptable. Digital techniques that extend the capability of the camera may be used as long as they honestly and accurately represent the original nature story or event at the time of capture. Images in New Zealand Nature must have been taken in the natural environment of New Zealand or its offshore islands. For all Nature images, scientific or common names must be included in the titles.