What it Means to be a Leave No Trace Photographer

7 Principles of Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace Overview:

🗺 Plan Ahead & Prepare

⛺️ Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces

💩 Dispose of Waste Properly

🌼 Leave What You Find

🔥 Minimize Campfire Impacts

🐻 Respect Wildlife

🤎 Be Considerate of Other Visitors

It is extremely important that every single one of us recognizes the impact that we can have on plants & animals. Whether that be a good impact or bad impact is up to us. As a photographer, this is even more important because we are adventuring with couples often.

The 7 principles of Leave No Trace were established by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics to focus on protecting our outdoor spaces. When we are recreating, we are responsible for ensuring these principles.

We are not only ensuring that these beautiful outdoors spaces remain accessible to our generation but the next generation, as well. I don’t know about you but I want my children to be able to enjoy these spaces, just like I have.

Leave No Trace

Plan Ahead & Prepare

  • Check the weather and be ready for any and all conditions.
  • Be prepared for emergencies: first aid kit, basic survival tools, exc.
  • Schedule recreating around high volume visitor times.
  • Have some form of navigation: map, GPS, compass

Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces

  • Stay on the trail to avoid trampling vegetation.
  • Camp at least 200 ft away from water sources: lakes, streams, exc.
  • When in popular locations, use existing campsites.
  • When in backcountry locations, disperse and avoid locations where impacts are just beginning.

Dispose of Waste Properly

  • If you pack it in then you pack it out: trash, toilet paper, hygiene products, left over food, exc.
  • Utilize toilet facilities whenever possible
  • Dig 6-8 in hole for depositing human waste and then fill it in; at least 200 ft from water, camp, and trails.
  • Use biodegradable soap at least 200 ft away from water to wash yourself and/or dishes; scatter dishwater.

Leave What You Find

  • Photograph historic structures but do NOT touch or move.
  • Leave rocks and plants as you find them.
  • Avoid introducing non-native plants.
  • Do not build structures or dig trenches.

Minimize Campfire Impacts

  • Use lightweight stoves & lanterns instead.
  • Use fire rings where campfires are permitted.
  • Keep fires small and only use dead wood from the ground.
  • Put out campfires completely!

Respect Wildlife

  • Do not approach wildlife, only observe from a distance, especially during mating season.
  • NEVER feed animals!
  • Store food securely at all times.
  • Keep pets under control at all times.

Be Considerate of Others

  • Be courteous and respect other visitors experience.
  • Yield to others on the trail by allowing the uphill hikers to have the right away.
  • Avoid loud noises and voices.
  • Step on the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.

I don’t know about you but I want to recreate and enjoy the outdoors in peace and without having to obtain a ton of permits. So when you are trying to “get the shot”, think twice about where you are walking and what you are doing. Let’s do our part in making sure we make sure these outdoor spaces stay open for everyone!



I'm a micro-wedding and elopement photographer in Upstate, South Carolina. My style is documentary—I love capturing the in-between, unposed moments between you and your love. I strive to know you and capture you at your most authentic.