Eco friendly photography: Treading lightly

It’s easier than ever to reduce your carbon footprint. Tracy Calder talks to four photographers who have done just that, Recent have triggered our survival instincts, encouraging us to focus on basics such as obtaining food, seeking shelter, and protecting our finances. But while we have been concentrating on our primitive needs, nature has been enjoying a break from human interference. Staying indoors indefinitely is not the solution to climate change. A lack of tourism can have a negative impact on the planet – many national parks and reserves use eco tourism to fund vital conservation efforts, for example. What’s more, when we become less globally mobile there is a human cost in the form of job losses and lack of diversity. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but if we use this time to reflect on our habits, we may find that small changes make a lasting.

With this in mind, we asked four photographers what they are doing to reduce their carbon footprint, and how we can all adopt eco-friendlier approaches to image making.

Morag and Ted’s eco friendly photography tips

1 Consider if your journey is necessary. All of us travel to some extent, so finding an authentic, sustainable way to offset carbon emissions is important.

2 Reduce your consumption. If you have to buy equipment, consider the second-hand market. I would love to see the photographic industry marketing their goods based on longevity rather than drip-feeding us upgrades year on year.

3 Be efficient with digital. Every email or picture you send, and every browsing enquiry you make, has a carbon footprint. To find out more see the infographic.

Favouring a natural, documentary-style approach, Andy Rapkins has captured hundreds of weddings across the UK and Europe. He’s based in Dorset and has a great affinity with the sea, finding it a source of calm, inspiration and fun. In a world with depleting resources, Andy feels obliged to look for ways that he can reduce his carbon footprint.

When Andy Rapkins became a full-time professional photographer, he was how quickly his mileage began to mount up. Around the same time, he and his family had been looking at ways to minimise their impact on the planet, so it made sense to apply what he had learnt to his business.

‘I decided to look at every aspect of my company to make sure I was adopting eco-friendly approaches,’ he recalls. ‘As well as the steps I was taking myself – carbon offsetting, green energy etc – I was able to find suppliers and businesses who had similar ideas.’

Being an eco-friendly wedding photographer is not without its challenges. The biggest, according to Andy, concerns travel. ‘Couples don’t just search locally any more; they look for a photographer whose style they love on a national or even international basis,’ he reveals. This trend has been fuelled by wedding blogs and inspiration as well as the fact that couples often choose to get married outside of their own locality. ‘Wedding photographers sometimes work quite a distance from their home base, which makes getting to venues on time, and in an organised way, challenging,’ admits Andy. To add to the tricky logistics, many weddings are held in rural locations, which makes using public transport near impossible.

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