I am a macro photographer.
Macro Photography is an extreme close-up photography, usually of very small subjects.
On most occasions, insects/spiders are my subjects. The wild greens and the dry forests as well, are a safe haven for the multitude of such insects, each of whom is a mystery on their own. Depending on many factors including their habitats, they differ in their habits and behaviors. Watching them in their natural surrounding is a challenge and capturing them through my lenses a bigger challenge as it raises lot of ethical obligations. I believe knowledge of ethics is very important while working with such gifts of nature and exercising rational judgment about ethical and responsible behavior is of utmost importance in the field work. Based on my personal field experiences, I have learnt a few MUST FOLLOW ethical rules that I would love to share with the Nature Macro Photographers or anyone interested in my work for the sake of sustaining the Nature. The list is not limited to and will increase over the time as I grow up the learning curve.
Love your subjects more than your gear - Insects/spiders while mating, molting, laying egg, eating etc. should not be touched; not even the branch, twig or leaf where they rest. Especially while they eat, one most important point to remember is that insects only eat once in many days. Any unwanted movement may lead them to drop their precious prey in the form of food and may leave them starving and hungry for many weeks. A highly unfortunate incident if it happens!! Be careful…
Never touch your subjects with bare hands - Forcefully holding a subject by hand may lead to permanent injuries and impairment to the subject. Nothing could be more dangerous than this as it would leave the insect/spider in the hands of death and it would easily become prey to other predators.
Leave the subjects in their natural habitat - Just for the sake of photography, one should refrain oneself from collecting subjects for home or carry then away from their habitat. Most of them rely only on their host plants for survival and displacing them would mean a premature death. Often students, researchers and scientists use the photographs for their work. Hence, photographs showing subjects at displaced location would confuse them.
Adding elements for photography - One should never create artificial postures/paralyze the subjects/ glue or pin them on board or add any artificial element to make the photo look unique. This is highly unethical and should never be encouraged or appreciated.
Learn to appreciate Life - Treat each life form with equal importance and love. One should always remember that once gone, they may never return to Mother Earth and rather become extinct. If you ever get an inner call that the subject is stressed by your presence and not allowing for a perfect shot, it’s always better to leave the spot and return later. It may often happen that the subject may be a new undiscovered species and a wrong shot taken may not really help the scientists or biologists to make a right conclusion.
Revealing exact location and publicizing photos of rare species - I personally do not support revealing the exact location while I publish the photos in public as they may result in over- crowding of the location and spoil the natural habitat of the subject. Revealing remote locations is also a reason to be worried for my personal security as I work with expensive gears. Sometimes the species are rare and yet to be unidentified. Unethical and business minded people may hunt for rare species to make a sales profit.
Careful work on Internet - I prefer referring to entomologist or biologist for a correct ID while publishing a photo on sites like Facebook, Flickr, Instagram etc. Unless one is sure of the species, naming a subject is not appreciated as this might lead to confusion among the viewers. I also share the name of the person if I am using help from anyone for identification. This helps to share correct knowledge amongst all.
I look forward to your suggestions and opinions, as it is valuable for developing myself. I understand that the above mentioned ethical values may not be supported by many macro photographers. However, these are my own choices and preferences to have peace while I handle Mother Nature in my own way.