The Green Lens – Sustainable Approaches to Photography
What if every bride made a vow to make “one green” decision when planning her wedding? With 2 million weddings happening every year in the United States, an impact would certainly be felt. And yes, even photographers can operate with a green philosophy.
Wedding photographers Meg and Rafal Andronowski from One Edition Photography planned their own DIY eco-chic wedding and set up their business with a “Green Lens” philosophy – infusing sustainable practices/processes in their work. They shared with us some simple and easy considerations about incorporating eco-chic sustainability into wedding photography.
1. If planning a sustainable wedding is important to you, be sure to ask your photographer about eco-practices. They may not explicitly state they have a ‘green lens’ philosophy on their website, but in this day and age, most people are doing their part, no matter how big or small.
2. When looking at albums and guestbooks, consider the source and materials.
- Where are the albums made? Where do the album materials come from?
- Is the cover is made out of sustainable materials (ethically-sourced, naturally dyed leather, etc) There are a lot of fabrics, vegan, or ethically sourced leathers to use.
- Who is making the albums? Sustainability isn’t simply about ‘green’ products. Are the albums created by artisans, a local studio, or another company with similar sustainable practices?
“In our business, we primarily hand design and hand craft our own albums in our studio using recycled-cotton papers, environmentally-friendly leathers and other locally sourced materials. When we do partner with another company to print and bind our albums, we look for a company with like-minded values, practices, and commitments to sustainability. “
3. Consider the papers and printed product material. Although nowadays, most of us contact with clients via e-mail, there are always business cards, brochures, fine art prints, and photographs to be printed.
- Is the paper being used is recycled or tree-free?
- Are the inks vegetable-based?
- Are there chemicals added to the paper?
- Does the company use waterless printing?
- Is the printshop powered by sustainable energy?
As an example, for our fine-art prints, we use exclusively recycled cotton or bamboo based papers that have been produced in wind – powered facilities. Similarly, our business cards and brochures are printed on recycled, FSC-certified paper from a local,independently-owned printshop. We also re-use materials (e.g. I collect ribbons from people – not yet used but just ends of spools/left overs from a party etc so rather than go to waste, can be used to decorate our packages)
4. There are a number of fabulous forums and online trading sites where professionals can upgrade and trade their gear; all of which are still in great shape and in working order. Although this may not be a question to ask your photographer outright, we thought this was a great tidbit know. In a digital world, we are constantly bombarded with the latest-this and greatest-that. It’s easy to develop ‘gear envy’, and the push to upgrade every time something new comes up is hard to resist. Yet the by product of constant upgrade is a constant stream of unnecessary waste of old batteries, grips, remotes, etc.
“Early-on, we invested in a very-expensive, high-end battery charger. After 5 years of almost weekly use, the rechargeable AA batteries for his Speedlights are finally showing signs of declining power, yet
we estimate that this one device has kept approximately 6000 single-use Alkaline AAs out of the landfill!”