FAQ Friday: How Wedding Photography Can Be "Green"

FAQ Friday is a lil' somethin-something I'm going to begin doing on a regular basis every Friday (except weeks like this one, when I happen to be shooting on Friday, so I'll blog it earlier). FAQs may be pulled from anywhere, so feel free to submit a question anytime you like, either via a blog comment, a direct message, or a private e-mail!  Today's theme is in tribute to Earth Week!Q: What should I look for to ensure that my photography is enviro-friendly?A: The funny thing about seeking "green" vendors for a wedding is that all businesses at some point in time are operating as environmentally-friendly in the same manner that they are also operating as not environmentally-friendly...meaning I don't believe there is a standard that anyone has to meet to declare themselves officially "green."  I think this is because environmental consciousness really presents itself in levels; there are plenty of "green" vendors out there, and some are "greener" than others, the same way that you may consider yourself a "green" person because you recycle, but you don't have solar panels and a rainwater basin, which would definitely take the "green" thing to a whole new level and maybe make you feel "greener" than before.Greeney greenerson green green.  Have I used the word enough yet?All joking aside, here's what I do know about eco-friendly wedding photography:• Digital is "Greener" Than FilmIn addition to the added expense of purchasing rolls of film that can only be used once, film is also developed using disposable chemicals and often requires driving several times to labs for dropoff, pickup, and enlargement.  Digital is shot on re-usable compact cards, and is "developed" from the photographer's home or office computer.• Re-Chargable BatteriesMost batteries that come with cameras are re-chargable, but it also helps to acquire re-chargeable AA batteries for flash units and any other electronics that require frequent battery changes.  A great source for affordable re-chargable AAs is Thomas Distributing.• Digital Proofing Instead of Paper ProofingMany photographers offer paper proofbooks for client review of wedding images, however a web gallery saves paper, and is also more accessible to more of your wedding guests.• Albums Instead of DiscsIt sort of defies logic, because wouldn't wedding images on a disc be better than the paper and materials used to print an album?  Perhaps if the album were low enough quality to only last a few years.  But the truth is, professional albums, even seemingly-fragile "eco-friendly" books such as those produced by the community and environment-conscious CoutureBook (Luminaire Images bookbinder of choice), will outlast discs with the proper care, not to mention coming to far better use than a disc ever will.  Of all the digital pictures you've ever taken, how many have you printed versus how many are sitting unappreciated on a disc in a drawer?  And how long before that disc becomes outdated technology?  A professional album will last generations without degrading, will be reviewed and appreciated far more often than images on a disc, and due to its sentimental value, an album will never be thrown out.• Prints Don't Actually "Waste" PaperWhen you order prints through your photographer, you are only using as much paper as you need for each photo printed, especially because the prints you order are only the images that you really want printed---as opposed to taking a disc to a lab yourself and printing up copies of every single image on it and only really cherishing a few of those prints.

Overall, obviously modern photography isn't a huge concern when planning  a green wedding because many photographers are naturally inclined to be eco-friendly (whether they realize it or not!) simply by utilizing digital technology for shooting, preview, and image preservation.If you are considering a a green wedding, check out these other cool resources:Great Green WeddingEco-Friendly Wedding PlanningThe Spiraled Stem