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8 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint as a Photographer

If we can practise the art we love while looking after the planet at the same time surely that’s a good thing?

I’ve got 8 ways to reduce your carbon footprint as a photographer that require very little effort or changes to your current lifestyle.

Creative handmade camera made from recycled cardboard, crafts and creativity concept

What is a Carbon Footprint?

A carbon footprint is effectively a measuring of the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere because of the activities of a particular individual.

Everyone has a carbon footprint, it’s very hard to avoid leaving a mark through our everyday lives. But it’s certainly possible to reduce the amount of CO2 that we release into the world through our choices and actions as a photographer.

1. Unplug Your Devices

Every time you come home after being out shooting the natural thing to do is to put all your camera batteries on charge ready for the next outing. If you pop them on charge late at night, it’s easy to forget about them and let them run overnight.

Instead, wait until morning and only keep your batteries on charge for the length of time they need to reach 100%. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to check back on them in 2 hours, which is normally enough time to reach 100% charge.

Vladivostok, Primorsky Krai / Russia - 11.29.2018: Three chargers and three batteries for the camera

2. Run a Paperless Business

If you find you’re constantly printing invoices, contracts, planning sheets and other documents for your photography business a lot of those can be found online instead and sent digitally.

There’s very little need to post paperwork these days when everything can be sent via email, even when you require a signature. Cutting down on the amount of paper you need, as well as how often you use your printer (and the inks), will significantly reduce your carbon footprint as a photographer.

Casual business man with stylus pen writing on digital notepad, touching on digital tablet screen working on laptop computer in office. Web designer working his project. Paperless business, technology
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3. Use Public Transport or Carpool

If you’re travelling to a local photography meet-ups or working with a group of photographers on a project consider carpooling together to save on fuel and the amount of CO2 that taking separate cars would release.

Alternatively, can catch a bus or train to the location. It’s a much more relaxing way to travel anyway – less stress of navigating traffic jams and battling for a car park space too. You can work on the go making you a little more productive than you normally would do, whilst reducing your carbon footprint.

The man sits at a table in a train, looking into the notebook

4. Sell Your Old Gear

If you’ve got some old camera equipment that you don’t use anymore don’t think of throwing it away. Consider passing it on to a friend or family member who might be interested in photography.

You can always look to sell your camera gear to an online buyer. Facebook Marketplace, MPB.com or eBay are great places to sell your used photography equipment. But if you’re not bothered about getting a financial return take your used camera gear to a local charity store to donate.

August 8, 2011 in Bangkok, Thailand A young man takes a photo shoot on Facebook to sell online products and to increase sales and sales channels in the future.

5. Recycled Camera Bags & Clothing

It’s respected to be seen as an environmentally-conscious business these days so it’s not hard to track down photography accessory companies that specialise in producing clothing and bags made from recycled material.

A simple Google search will bring up lots of results for waterproof gear that are just as good as any brand-new item. From jackets, camera bags and trousers, you can fully kit yourself out to look the part knowing you’ve helped the environment as well.

Zero waste travel. Backpack with stainless steel plastic free reusable water bottle, natural reusable cotton mesh grocery bag, eco-friendly bamboo toothbrush, rope natural twine hemp linen cord.

6. Buy Second Hand

As well as giving your gear away to charity stores and selling it on pre-loved platforms, how about buying from these spots too?

Used camera gear, provided it’s in good condition, is considerably cheaper than buying brand-new. While there may be the expected wear and tear marks as long as the technology inside is up to scratch you’ll save yourself a lot of money.

I’ve bought lots of cameras and lenses pre-owned before without any issues. Places like Facebook Marketplace, Wex Photographic, MPB.com and eBay are the best places to start your search.

Bangkok, Thailand : December-4-2020 : second hand camera display on shop window in camera store

7. Use Rechargeable Batteries

Camera batteries are their own type of battery and most are rechargeable anyway. But if you are using other devices, such as an off-camera flash, they require standard AA batteries.

Invest in some quality rechargeable batteries for any pieces of equipment that need normal battery sizes.

While they may cost a little more upfront you’ll save a lot of money in the long run plus you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint by not needing new batteries regularly.

8. Use Recycled Photo Paper

And finally, if you have to print documents (or even your photos) then consider choosing a recycled paper stock to print them on. Using recycled paper means fewer trees are needed to produce new reams and therefore it helps out the environment.

Many professional printing companies offer recycled paper stock as an option for printing photos, documents, flyers, brochures and books.

a sheet of paper in the printer

8 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint as a Photographer: Final Words

These 8 tips don’t require a big change to the way you take photos; it just needs you to be more conscious about your choices. If you really want to help protect the environment and reduce your carbon footprint follow these ideas to get started.

It’s great to be able to brand your own photography business as a low-carbon output business. Why not consider donating money to a tree-planting scheme to help offset any carbon footprint that you leave too?

Bookmark and save this article about reducing your carbon footprint so you can find it again in the future. If you’ve got any other questions about photography chances are you’ll find the answers in our other articles and tutorials below.

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