11 Eco-Friendly Techniques

–From paper to energy to inks—check out these sure-fire ways to green your photography business

Photography can have a relatively expensive toll on the environment, especially when you consider the paper, chemicals, and hard drive space required for your business. If you want to become a greener photographer, check out these 11 eco-friendly techniques to make your studio for environmentally-conscious.

1. Use Eco-Friendly Paper And Inks

( photo by Tambako )

Today, there are many options for greener paper, including cotton rag fine art paper, FSC-certified paper, and recycled content paper. These can all be purchased acid-free and provide vivid reproductions and brilliant blacks.

2. Choose Green Picture Frames And Photo Albums

( photo by eriwst )

Whether you present finished images in picture frames or photo albums, you can choose greener products. Look for FSC-certified woods or frames made from bamboo. Or check out recycled options, like recycled aluminum, plastic, or reclaimed wood.

And when looking for albums, choose those that are leather-free, made from sustainable paper and wood products, and finished with low VOC stains and inks.

3. Join A Green Photography Group

( photo by Greener Photography )

Find inspiration and ideas by joining a green photography group like Greener Photography. In the company of other photographers looking for ways to go green, you’ll discover new and interesting ways to bring environmental responsibility into your business.

4. Sustainable Landscaping

( photo by BONGURI )

If you maintain an outdoor oasis in which to take pictures at your studio, then consider cultivating a sustainable landscape. Use techniques like xeriscaping, water collection (through rain barrels), and drip irrigation to reduce your water consumption.

Eliminate synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides in favor of organic gardening techniques. Mow your lawns and trim bushes with non-powered devices like push mowers.

And be sure to plant native species of plants so that you cultivate a landscape that requires less maintenance, water, and chemical infusions.

5. Energy-Efficient Lighting

( photo by RichieC )

Lighting is pivotal for a successful photography studio. You need to have just the right color and temperature for your lighting so that you can achieve results that are luminous and beautiful.

Thankfully, efficient light bulbs like compact fluorescents (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have come a long way, not only in the minimal amounts of energy they consume, but also in how wonderfully they illuminate. You’ll find a variety of colors and temperatures as well as shapes and sizes to meet your photography needs.

6. Purchase Carbon Offsets Or Green Power

( photo by Yodel Anecdotal )

Running a photography studio can be an energy-intensive endeavor. You need power to run lighting, power portable electronic equipment and computers, as well as product printed photographs and more.

Choosing to purchase carbon offsets or renewable energy certificates (RECs) to reduce your photography studio’s footprint is a great way to become carbon neutral.

You can purchase offsets equivalent to your monthly electricity consumption as well as any fuel you burn to travel to your photography sites.

7. Run Your Vehicles On Bio-Diesel Or Choose Hybrid Cars And Trucks

( photo by Muffet )

On-location shoots and special events will often mean driving to far distant places for you to conduct your work. While making your travels as efficient as possible by reducing the number of miles you drive is important, some travel is inevitable.

Cut your carbon dioxide emissions by choosing to run your vehicles on bio-diesel. Alternatively, replace old cars and trucks with hybrid models that consume fewer fossil fuels.

8. Encourage Digital Photography And Proofs

( photo by 1suisse )

Make the switch from print photography to digital photography. You’ll find that this uses less paper, less ink, and results in less waste. Then consider sending your clients home with digital proofs.

You can either upload proofs to an FTP site or send them home with a digital picture frame through which they can review their images.

9. Reduce Packaging

( photo by Mr. T in DC )

When you do have to send things home with your clients, use useful canvas bags printed with your logo as well as reusable boxes and tins. You may also choose to reuse original packaging in which prints arrive to send them home with clients.

10. Choose Low-Toxicity Photography Chemicals

( photo by Pylon757 )

The chemicals you use to process your images can be highly toxic. Choose companies that supply eco-friendly chemicals like Silvergrain. This company produces low-toxin chemicals that are environmentally-friendly and easy to use.

11. Recycle Waste In Your Photography Studio

( photo by Robert S. Donovan )

And of course, always recycle as much of your waste as you can, whether it be paper, packaging waste like cardboard and plastic, or glass, cans, and plastics that you use in your lunch rooms, etc.

More Resources:

33 Inspiring Photos From Jan Von Holleben



  1. Digital uses less paper for proofing, but it uses more power than traditional printing. It also means they can only
    View the image digitally or must then print it themselves, possibly several times to get it right. I think proofing digital, finalizing as a traditional print is ‘greenest’

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