Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Choosing an Eco-Friendly Photographer

Special treat today! In addition to sharing some of her lovely photographs, Erica Velasco of Vision Photographs has been kind enough to give us the scoop on what to look for when choosing a greener photographer!

Couples spend about seven to 10 percent of their wedding budget on a photographer. Because it is a significant investment, it is wise for a couple to do their homework before making a decision. If being green is a priority, there are a few questions you can ask your potential wedding photographer to ensure their practices align with your goals for your wedding.

1. Does the photographer offer digital images on a disk or on a portable drive? Or do they offer printed proofs? The better choice is definitely digital images on a portable drive. Why a portable drive? It can be re-used many times over. There are even bamboo portable drives available; bamboo is a renewable resource.

2. If you do want prints, there are a few things to ask your potential wedding photographer. Do they use an inkjet printer and fiber paper or silver-based printing on RC paper? The best option is inkjet printing on natural fiber papers like cotton or fiber paper, because they are renewable resources. Fiber papers include tree and bamboo papers.

3. Albums are one of the best ways to preserve prints and memories. You can still use environmentally-friendly components that will make albums more eco-friendly. Ask what albums the photographer offers. Do they use companies located in the United States? Are all the components made domestically? Also, do they offer animal-free album covers or natural fiber covers? Natural fabrics include linen, hemp or lotka paper. Also, synthetic cover materials made from petro-chemicals are great choices. Refer to point number two regarding printing of album pages.

These are just a few things you can ask your photographer to ensure they are using more eco-friendly practices and products.

Erica Velasco is a lifestyle wedding and portrait photographer based in Phoenix, Ariz. She specializes in eco-chic custom photography services, using eco-friendly photographic practices and products. You can view more of Erica’s work at visionphotographs.com and visionphotographs.com/blog.


William Bay said...

I'd like to offer another point of view to these suggestions.

In response to using a hardrive, I fail to see how using a device that costs upwards of $100 and was shipped from Taiwan is any more environmentally responsible than providing a DVD in a nice slip case, and can double as a viewable DVD on your TV.
Harddrives may be re-usable, but is it necessary? A separate hard drive that serves no immediate purpose perpetuates blind consumerism.

In response to RC vs Fiber Base papers, RC papers are traditionally regular pulp papers with a Resin Coating on the back to prevent the paper from getting wet.
Yes, there are plastic "papers" on the market, but they are just as prevalent as plastic papers in the ink jet market.
And then there is the excessive waste caused by inkjet cartridges when not recycled.
I for one would never print on a bamboo paper, because the amount of energy required to destroy the bamboo into pulp would be excessive, and the bleach needed to whiten the paper would be environmentally harmful.
And unless the source of bamboo is local, the amount of energy required to transport it, defeats the benefits of it. In any application.

As far as albums, most album manufacturers do not accept Fiber Based prints because of warping and mounting issues.
Fiber Based papers are best used in fine art applications, where they are either dry mounted and framed behind glass.

Sorry to throw a wrench in your article, but I feel that you should be providing accurate information to people.
My qualifications are:
Photographer for 18 year.
Wedding Photographer for 5 years.
Architect utilizing green technologies and sustainability for ten years.

Jennifer said...

Thanks for the opposing viewpoint William!

Unknown said...

Perhaps you misunderstood what kind of drive I meant. Not a full fledged external hard drive, but a small thumb drive that costs maybe $10. There aren't many DVD cases that are environmentally friendly...or DVDs for that matter. And of course look for drives made in the USA. There are many promotional companies out there and a few that are eco-friendly and maybe even local.

You can find ways to recycle cartridges...Recycle ink cartridges, CDs and DVDs....check out cdrecyclingcenter.org.

As for albums, I was referring to the cover material. Not the paper itself. I would not suggested using fiber based paper for hand mounted albums. However there is an album company that has a line of eco-friendly albums called Couture Book. You should check them out as an option. They are local here for me so it saves on shipping. The books are hand made and really are like pieces of art.

I believe my information is accurate. However, there are many ways to be eco-conscious. The industry hasn't completely caught up with being green. So there are many options out there that are not 100% green. But maybe aspects are. So I meant the above to be questions to ask. Not the end all and be all of eco-friendly options.

But to say I am not accurate, I believe is not accurate either.

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