We have a responsibility to treat our locations well.

This is something I've been wanting to talk about for a while now.

But with the closure of now two of my favorite photo locations to photographers in the Dayton area, I feel like it needs to be discussed. Let's talk about what it means to be a Leave No Trace Photographer.

When beautiful locations are banning professional photographers, that means something is up. And while we both know that not every photographer is to blame, and that some of us take great care to not trample the flowers, to pick up trash, to discourage certain types of props, and to leave the space looking the same as when we arrived, the same can't be said for everyone. I wish every photographer felt the same... and we're now dealing with some of the fall-out and consequences of years of disrespectful behavior.

So while we can't control what other photographers might do, we CAN control our own actions. What does that look like in your business?

1. Leave it how you found it. We get to experience some of the most beautiful places in our state, so it's our responsibility to leave it beautiful for others to experience too. This means not trampling flower beds or fields. Stay on designated paths.

2. Be cautious with your colors. When using smoke bombs, make sure they don't stain surrounding surfaces, or that the are embers left behind.

3. Can't clean it? Don't bring it! Avoid all props that can't be cleaned up. This includes glitter, food waste, confetti, plastic wrappers, and trash in general.

4. Remember that you're not the only person there. Be considerate of other visitors. Just because you're there for work doesn't make your visit to the park more important than someone there on a walk! Don't hog trails or paths. Everyone should be able to enjoy their visit.

If you want to learn more about Leave No Trace, visit lnt.org. Let's keep our city, our parks, our state looking beautiful, and be responsible as we do what we love in nature.