8 tips on how to be an eco-friendly photographer

You can get eco-friendly versions of anything and everything nowadays – eco-friendly toilet paper, eco-friendly makeup, eco-friendly toothbrushes, and now eco-friendly photographers.

You’re probably thinking ‘how can a photographer be eco-friendly? This is mad!’ But, we are mad so you’ve come to the right place!

In fact, here at MAD Ideas we love being eco-friendly photographers. That’s right. Our team can capture every moment: micro to macro, people to penguins for unique business promotional photos.

So, what makes an eco-friendly photographer? Is it just photographers wearing full hemp suits, cycling around the country snapping photos of trees while sipping from their reusable bamboo cups?

Not quite – let us explain. Here are 8 simple ways to help you be more eco-friendly on your next shoot. It’s not just what you do, but it’s also what you use.

1. Use less power

Photographers are a bit like Inspector Gadget. They have an electronic device up every sleeve. And all of those devices have something in common. They use lots of power.

The simplest way to immediately reduce your impact on the planet is to save power. Turn devices off. This includes your camera, laptop, printer, scanner and whatever other gadgets you’ve got in the back of your car.

When recharging your devices, make sure you don’t leave them on for hours after they’re charged. ‘Phantom electricity’ is a significant contributor to energy waste and also hits your wallet hard.

2. Buy high-quality and durable equipment

OK, so we’re not all fancy pants photographers who can lay down £4k on a lens. But we can all shop a little smarter.

Next time you’re in the market for new equipment, do your research. Find out what are the most durable pieces of gear for your budget. All your equipment takes a toll on the environment when being produced.

The less you have to buy in the future, the greener your gear and the less money you will have to spend each time.

Another idea is to buy pre-owned gear. Take advantage of ‘all the gear, no idea’ photographers who upgrade their equipment every single year. There are bargains to be found!

3. Avoid wrecking nature

‘If I could just chop those ten trees down, I would have a perfect shot!’ Sound like you? Probably not, that’s a bit extreme.

But some photographers do have a habit of breaking branches and wrecking bushes to get the perfect shot. It’s tempting, but you should resist. Each time you do this, you leave a scar on the natural area. Be kind to nature.

Another common issue is waste. Bring your own reusable bottles of water or hot drinks when you shoot. And if not possible, don’t leave it behind you in the natural environment. Take all rubbish home to dispose of it properly or even better recycle!

4. Follow the rules

This is an important one and one that most of us are guilty of breaking if there is a shortcut.

If you’re in an area of natural beauty such as a national forest or park, please follow the rules. Try not to disturb the natural ecosystem and avoid flash photography.

Even if the rules don’t quite make sense to you, follow them anyway. There’s almost always a reason, even if it doesn’t immediately seem apparent.

5. Use rechargeable batteries

Disposable batteries are a nightmare for the environment. Once they end up in landfill, they release toxic chemicals such as mercury, lead and cadmium into the environment.

What’s excellent about rechargeable batteries is that they last for an extraordinarily long time. And they’re also easily recyclable. This means you will be sending far fewer batteries to landfill than if you continue to use disposable batteries.

At first, rechargeable batteries might seem a bit pricey. But once you consider the lifespan and the number of cheaper disposables you would need during that same period of time, rechargeables will save you a small fortune.

6. Buy eco-friendly supplies

Like we mentioned at the start, nowadays there’s an eco-friendly version of anything and the photography industry is no exception.

Printing paper, ink, lens solution, cotton camera bags, waist belts made from recycled plastic or plant based materials, camera straps made from old seat belts … the list just goes on and on.

Next time you need some new photography supplies or gear, check out what eco-friendly options are available.

7. Only print what you need

Spending that little bit of extra time choosing the best photos for print goes a long way in reducing your impact on the planet.

Try to be as conservative as possible and avoid unnecessarily printing photos, especially automatic doubles.

You can even consider using eco-friendly prints using eco-friendly, part or fully recycled paper and non-toxic plantbased inks, making your print much more environmentally friendly.

8. Take eco-friendly photos

One of our favourite ways to be environmentally friendly photographers is to take photos that reflect our values and concerns surrounding the environment.

As we all know, images are powerful tools when it comes to making a change in this world. Every great social justice movement or environmental campaign has iconic photography to back it up and raise awareness.

So, why not try to communicate your personal message about the environment through your photography? What better way to raise awareness than through the work you love? And if you do decide to take this route, please share your photos with MAD Ideas!

Final eco-friendly thoughts

Photography is a beautiful communication tool. And with the latest advancements in technology, it’s never been easier to be an eco-friendly photographer. We hope this article has inspired you to think more about the environment when you’re on your next shoot.

And if you need some eco-friendly photography for your business, do get in touch with the MAD Ideas crew today.

Image: Tiny bee in pollen paradise (A. Eaton)