Statement of Ethics - Margo Reed

Margo Reed Margo Reed

Statement of Ethics

As both a photographer and human, I have witnessed and experienced complex, telling moments that have informed a clear code of ethics I apply to my work. While my boundaries differ slightly between commercial and editorial work, the following are standards I adhere to as a part of every assignment.

Some of the ideas and language in the following has been adopted from UNC Chapel Hill's Carolina Global Photography Competition, and from The Associated Press, National Press Photographers Association and Sacramento State University. Read more of each via the above links.


- I research and reflect on an assignment before agreeing to it. If I consider emotional, psychological, racial, economic, cultural, social or physical implications of the work to be harmful to any party involved, including the environment, I refuse the work. I maintain this right during pre-production and production alike. 

- I will not accept an assignment I feel could harm an individual, myself included, or the public. 

- I must be comfortable doing the same work in my own community as I am contracted to do in another's community. 

- In order to do my job I utilize forms of consent to photograph a person that include, but are not limited to, verbal, eye-contact, and body language. If at any point a participant decides they do not want to be photographed I will stop. Consent for publication of an image must be maintained before using the image for any promotional purposes. Consent is not legally required, but personally preferred, for editorial purposes. If the story deems it necessary for me to photograph without obtaining consent, and I feel the story is important, I will find a way to tell it. In every situation, I will consider my own circumstances and how those shape my relationship to the subject. If my position as a white, cis, young, woman holding a camera, makes it uncomfortable or difficult for the subject to refuse permission for photography or makes them feel vulnerable or unable to fully consent to the work, I will refrain from photographing until we can establish a clearer understanding and trust. 

- On a commercial assignment, Images may be shared with a participant who was photographed before they are published. 

- I will not agree to work on an assignment that appropriates or mistreats a group of people, or perpetuates stereotypes or generalizations.

- I am committed to civil rights, environmental justice, and equality. If I feel a client or assignment is going against these beliefs I will refuse the work. 

Post- Production: 

- Whether it be commercial or journalistic in nature, my work will tell the truth as I witnessed it.

- I will adhere to the publication's ethical standards on post-production when contracted for an editorial assignment.

- Commercial retouching standards include:

1. Post-production may include cropping, toning (color, contrast, saturation), dodging, burning, and any other work that can be made in a darkroom.

2. Retouching may be used to remove distracting, irrelevant items from an image, but it cannot change the story. At no point will retouching be used to add or remove a person from an image. Retouching a portrait is limited to wrinkle reduction (not removal), skin smoothing, teeth whitening, flyaway hair removal. AI or Photoshop will not be used to significantly change a person's appearance unless the retouch is requested on an image made explicitly for personal use. 

3. A person can expect that they will still look like themselves in a retouched image. My goal in retouch is to enhance natural features and reduce impermanent blemishes.

4. I reserve the right to decline any retouch requests if they do not align with my values. 

Have Q's? 

Reach out with questions here. Any and all curiosities are welcome and might be published on this page. 

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