Is this shot considered cheating?

You’ve just cap­tured the most beau­ti­ful shot of a rare duck. Every­thing is per­fect — the com­po­si­tion, the color bal­ance, and the sur­round­ings. So do you tell peo­ple that you cap­tured this shot in a bird sanctuary?

Some peo­ple may argue that this shot is not jus­ti­fied because it was cap­tured at a bird sanc­tu­ary — ‘cheat­ing’ if you will. If a pho­tog­ra­pher gets a shot like this from a refuge, it’s far less of an achieve­ment (because it’s eas­ier) than it would be get­ting that shot in the bird’s nat­ural surroundings.

On the flip side, oth­ers stand by the notion that being in a sanctuary/zoo does not guar­an­tee great pic­tures. It just means bet­ter access and more oppor­tu­nity to cap­ture the beauty you are search­ing for.‚ You cer­tainly still need to have skills and a good eye.

So who wins this argu­ment? You tell me! See what oth­ers are say­ing in our pho­tog­ra­phy forum.


  1. Michael Cortina says:

    Only if you bought this pic­ture at the bird sanc­tu­ary. Other than that it fair game.

  2. Dan says:

    I think that it does depend on the pho­tog­ra­pher and what they pho­to­graph but all in all regard­less of where the sub­ject of the image is the pho­tog­ra­pher still has to see the shot, get into the posi­tion, and get it all per­fect inorder to get a per­fect shot. So really the pho­tog­ra­pher did the work any­way it was just made eas­ier to take the photo by the ani­mal sanctuary.

  3. Stanley Bear says:

    My brother “hunts” on a game farm for buf­falo. He is given the oppor­tu­nity to take his shot. I used to har­rass him about that.
    However…he must make that shot in order to be suc­cess­ful. The same applies for pho­togs. Zoos and cen­ters are just giv­ing the chance for a good shot.The pho­tog­ra­pher still has to get it.

  4. Ryan says:

    I think, ulti­mately it will come down to what the par­tic­u­lar per­son in ques­tion val­ues about the shot. If they want a gor­geous shot of a beau­ti­ful bird, where it was taken won’t mat­ter. If they want a rare shot of an even rarer bird than, yes it will matter.

    Ulti­mately speak­ing, I sup­pose it has to come down to the pho­tog­ra­pher in ques­tion and I sup­pose also what they are try­ing to achieve.

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