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All the exciting tools and initiatives I’ve found to help make my wedding photography business as green and eco friendly as possible

 

Over the past few years I’ve made a much greater conscious effort to reduce my impact on the environment. From giving up meat to switching to products that use less or no plastic at all. From using public transport as much as possible to off setting my carbon emissions on flights (more on this below).

I’ve also instilled these values and efforts in my wedding photography business, to make it as eco friendly and green as possible.

This article is both for 1) couples wanting to hire eco conscious wedding suppliers and for 2) others trying to become eco friendly wedding photographers. If you have any questions or additional ideas for making my business greener please pop them in the comments below.

TRAVEL

Flights

Every time I fly I use a carbon calculator to measure the carbon footprint of my flight. I then donate money to environment friendly initiatives to offset this impact relative to its size. These initiatives include planting trees, clean energy projects, compliance projects and education initiatives.

This is actually super easy to do thanks to a bunch of great organisations like MyClimate.org, Clevel.co.uk and ClimateCare.org. As well as telling you the size of your flight’s carbon footprint, they tell you the monetary amount to offset this amount which you can pay to them directly.

If you have a larger team you can check out Offset Earth which is a really cool initiative that looks off setting the wider impact of your business. They’ve made it really easy and convenient to use.

Update: I’ve just read the exciting news that the airline Easyjet is now offsetting the carbon from all their flights. This is a big set within in industry and I really hope that other airlines will follow.

Public Transport

A recent study by the Energy Saving Trust found that a car creates on average 4x more CO2 emissions than a train going the same distance. I use public transport when traveling for work as often as possible. If I have a wedding or engagement shoot in London or the centre of another UK city I always use public transport instead of driving. An added bonus is that I can use this time to relax or work and don’t have to worry about getting stuck in traffic.

Cars

For weddings located away from good transport links I do drive. When choosing our car, we picked one that had a smaller impact on the environment. If you’re interesting in getting a greener car (and you can’t afford a full electric one), it’s best to buy new instead of 2nd hand and check the car’s fuel use (MPG) and CO2 emissions. The Energy Saving Trust offers a useful calculator for viewing the fuel efficiency and emissions of different cars.

Video Calls for Client Meetings and Mentoring

I’ve also reduced my travel by no longer doing client meetings or mentoring sessions in person. Instead we jump on a video call, where we can still enjoy the personal connection and even a glass of wine.

Make Ecosia Your Preferred Search Engine

Ecosia is an exciting new search engine that donates 80% of their ad profits to eco friendly charities. They claim that on average for every 45 searches they will plant a tree (source). Ecosia raises money through Ad revenue like other search engines. They started in 2019 and at the time of writing this article they’ve planted over 75 million trees!!  You can read more about their projects and how they work here.

For keen Chrome users like myself, you can add Ecosia as a Chrome Extension so you don’t have to give up on any other extensions you currently have set up.

From a business standpoint, their search engine is powered by Bing so you don’t have to re-optimize your website’s content to be found.

Ecosia Ads

If a part of marketing your wedding photography business includes pay per click (eg Insta, FB or Google Ads), why not spend some of that budget on Ecosia? Yes you won’t get the size of audiences you will with Google Ads (1.7 billion Google users vs 8 million Ecosia) but this is reflected in the price you pay with Ecosia. Plus Ecosia is growing at an ever increasing rate.

Image of the eco friendly search engine website Ecosia

GOING PAPERLESS

Going paperless with your business reduces trees being cut down for paper and the CO2 emissions created in transportation of the paper and documents. Thanks to the digital world it’s easy today to go paperless. As a bonus I’ve found digital options to be more convenient, create a better experience for my couples and offer peace of mind with cloud backups.

Contracts, Invoices, Forms, Banking

For contracts and invoices I currently use Dubsado (a fantastic CRM) and for online forms Wufoo (named after the creator’s 2 favourite bands – the Wu Tang Clan and Foo Fighters – brilliant). The bank I use and my accountants both offer digital integrations with my businesses to avoid paper.

Deliverables

When I first started my business I used to deliver my couples their photos on a USB Stick via post. I then began delivering their photos on a USB Stick and in an Online Gallery (easier access, acts as backup and easier to share with their guests).

After having my couples complete feedback forms I discovered that the USB sticks were rarely used as my couples already had access to their photos via their Online Gallery. So I decided to stop doing USB sticks and instead invested their cost into a better Online Gallery experience (I currently use Pixieset and love it).

This decision was based on both improving the experience my couples had with me (something that’s always been super important to me) and reducing the impact on the environment.

ENERGY

As a wedding photographer my main use of energy comes in two forms: 1) the use of my home as my office, and 2) batteries that power my camera bodies and flashes. To reduce the environmental impact we use a renewable energy supplier for our home gas and electricity. There’s a number of great renewable energy options available in the UK which all use a range of solar, wind and hydro power. We’re currently using Bulb which we’re very happy with.

Want to help the environment but don’t think you can afford the bills? Great news; you don’t have too. Since switching over to Bulb from British Gas, we’ve actually seen a small drop in our energy bills. You can use Bulb’s 30 second quote tool to see if bills in your area would be cheaper.

A quick tip to reduce your energy costs – unplug your charging devices when they’re not being used.

ALBUMS & PRINTS

As a big believer that photos in physical form bring the most value, I do offer prints and albums to my couples as a paid extra. Below is how I reduce the environmental impact these physical products will have. As well as being eco friendly, my suppliers offer incredibly high quality products that my couples can enjoy.

UK Sourced

Both my print suppliers (Loxley Colour) and Album suppliers (Folio) are UK based which reduces the transport distances involved in delivery and therefore CO2 emissions created.

Eco Friendly Suppliers

As well as using local Suppliers I wanted to use/support suppliers who shared my values and who took actions to reduce their impact on the environment. I’ve been very impressed with both Folio and Loxley Colour’ green credentials.

Folio are powered by green electrify from Ecotricity, 95% of their office waste is recycled, their PAS 2060 servers are carbon neutral, everything used in their printing process is FSC approved and their workshop is heavily insulated and climate controlled. They also use shipping partners with a carbon neutral approach. (Find out more here).

Loxley Colour are part of the Carbon Capture Scheme (they donate to the Woodland Trust that plants trees to offset the amount of Carbon they create), all products used in printing are FSC approved and they use couriers DPD that vow to provide carbon-neutral shipping for all deliveries.

GEAR

When it comes to photography gear, these are the steps I take to reduce my impact on the environment.

Rechargeable Batteries

Since starting my business I’ve always used rechargeable batteries. As a bonus the investment also saves me on the cost of batteries over time.

New Gear

It’s easy to get excited about buying new gear, especially when you can claim it against tax. But every time we buy gear there’s an environment impact created by shipping, the packaging thrown away and the product itself. I rarely buy new gear unless something needs replacing and when upgrading I always rent first (or borrow off a photographer friend) to ensure I’m investing in gear I’ll get full use out of. If you’re London based I highly recommend Fixation for gear rentals and repairs/maintenance.

Group Your Orders

Buying online has never been easier and a lot of online shops offer free delivery. While these deliveries may not have an impact on our bank accounts they do have an impact on the environment. To reduce the impact of your deliveries, try and group them together when possible (eg with Amazon you can use their ‘Wish List’ feature).

BONUS

This year I’ve started doing something special for all my couples that book me to photograph their wedding. After they’ve booked me I have an Oak tree planted and dedicated in their name in the National Forest (an amazing initiative which you can read about here). The National Forest provides you with a digital certificate with your couples names and a personal message from you which is a lovely touch.

It only costs me £15 per tree and 5 minutes of my time and the response from my couples so far has been really amazing.

AND THAT’S A WRAP ON BECOMING AN ECO FRIENDLY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

I hope you’ve found this article helpful and a great source of new ideas and inspiration. To wrap up, here are my three key take aways from trying to make my wedding photography business more eco friendly:

1. It’s been surprisingly easy to make my business more green and the steps I’ve taken have often saved me money.
2. I’ve been inspired to learn of all the businesses out there making a positive impact. It’s a nice change from the negative stories shared in the news.
3. I haven’t had to sacrifice the quality of the experience I offer my couples (something that is so important to me) in my effort to be more green. Actually, often the opposite has occurred. A lot of the solutions I’ve found have improved customer service and my couples have also gotten really excited about initiatives like the dedication of an Oak tree in the National Forest.

Are you planning an Eco Friendly wedding and are looking for a photographer who shares your values? I’d love to have a chat about your awesome plans.

Arrange a time for a Video Chat

YOU TELL ME

Do you have any ideas of how I can make my business even more green and eco friendly? I’d love to hear them. Please pop them in the comments below.