Photo ID Catalog

Help us monitor cetacean life-history traits, population trends and habitat-use patterns to better understand and conserve marine mammals.

Photo-identification of whales and dolphins is a critical aspect of Pacific Whale Foundation’s long-term research on cetacean health and threat mitigation strategies. Photo donations that meet our criteria will be logged and added to our photo-ID database for ongoing monitoring of whale and dolphin populations in Hawai‘i and other dedicated research locations.

Finders Free Program

Submit fluke and dorsal fin photos taken while aboard a PacWhale Eco-Adventures tour and receive a complimentary future ecotour if all criteria is met.

To qualify for a complimentary ecotour (1 per photographer per year):

  • The photo must be taken onboard a PacWhale vessel in Hawai‘i
  • The photo must be taken during the current whale season (October – April)
  • The photo must match an individual animal previously logged in PWF’s Humpback Whale Photo-ID catalog
  • If your photo meets these criteria, submit using the form below
  • If your photo does not meet the criteria above, consider donating it via our community science photo donation program for possible use in ongoing research. Email photo donations to [email protected].



Take lots of photos

While on the water, keep an eye out for spouts, tail flukes and dorsal fins. If you see a humpback whale, photograph the underside of the tail. If you see a dolphin, photograph the dorsal fin and sides of its body. Download our Camera Settings Guide for quick, easy tips on adjusting camera settings to capture your best photos.


Review and upload your photos

Carefully review photos from your ocean adventure and upload the images that best meet our photo-quality criteria.


Send us your photos

Fill out the form below if your photo(s) meet the Finders Free program requirements, or email your photos to [email protected] with “Photo Donation” in the subject line and include:

  1. Your full NAME for proper crediting
  2. The DATE the photo was taken
  3. GPS LOCATION or general description of where the sighting occurred

You will receive a confirmation email from the Research department that we successfully received your photo donation. If the donated photo passes our quality criteria, it will be cataloged with your name and contact information and added to our database.


Name the trip was booked under(Required)
Name of photographer(Required)
Date Picture was Taken(Required)
(ex. which harbor you departed from)
Drop files here or
Accepted file types: jpg, jpeg, png, pdf, Max. file size: 64 MB, Max. files: 10.

    Photo Credit: David Fleetham

    Adopt a Marine Animal

    Our Adoption program, which helps fund ocean conservation efforts, features dozens of named South and North Pacific humpback whales, dolphins and false killer whales available for adoption. You also Name a Marine Animal in preparation for future inclusion in the Adoption program.

    Photo Credit: David Fleetham

    Become a Member

    One of the best ways to stay connected with PWF’s ocean conservation work is by becoming a Member. Annual Members are part of a global community of ocean advocates working together to protect marine wildlife around the world. Learn more about your impact as a Member. Join or renew today!