Eco photography? Sustainable photography? Is that a thing?
Well, I’ve been thinking about how I can develop my business in a more environmentally friendly way for some time, and in fact what it means to be an environmentally friendly photographer.
I think it’s more or less a given now that any responsible business has to consider and be able to explain its environmental impact and I’ve been kickstarted in to doing so by a slight change of direction that I’m taking going forward.
My aim from 2021 is to do less wedding photography and to do much more commercial photography, concentrating in particular on small and medium sized local businesses. 2020 is therefore a year of transition: I’m still taking weddings this year but gearing up the commercial side of my business at the same time.
Part of the gearing up has involved my first ever serious look at having a brochure and undertaking a proper marketing campaign. This inevitably involved printing and it prompted me to think about whether I could produce an entirely sustainable marketing mailshot without any compromise on quality and without a significant impact on cost. Is that an attainable goal for a micro business?
I’m pleased to say that having researched and made a few decisions about what I would like, I can now confidently say that it is possible and I’m happy to share with you the process, and the suppliers, I have used on this project.
First, I designed the brochure myself. That may not be something everyone would feel comfortable doing but it worked for me. There are of course brochure designers out there and in fact the printing company I used would undertake that for you.
Second, I put the brochure out for a crit and edit from local editor and copywriter Julia Sandford-Cook, at Wordfire Communications, who did a fantastic job for me. The key here is the word local. It’s an often-overlooked factor in running a business in an environmentally friendly way that local is frequently best. If you love living where you live (like I do) then buying locally is a no brainer – it automatically retains money within the local economy, thus protecting, in the most sustainable way possible, the unique flavour and character of where you live (thanks Buy Local Norfolk for that sentence).
Third, I looked for an environmentally friendly printer and was pleased to find Anglia Print in Norwich. They are an accredited carbon positive printing company and, frankly, were fantastic with me. Helpful, organised and knowledgeable. Nothing to fault. And, again, local.
Then it was: how do I mail this brochure out? I wanted nice paper not just photocopier paper, and equally nice envelopes. The Green Stationery Company to the rescue. They are not local to me but online. However, their ethics and what they have available were just what I needed – recycled watermarked Croxley woven paper and fully recycled Basildon Bond C4 window envelopes. Spot on.
Last, I wanted to include with my marketing push a little giveaway for people to easily recall me. I love beer so the answer was a beer mat. Cue talking to Anglia Print again – they sorted me out beer mats which whilst not recycled (the board for beer mats doesn’t come in a recycled form) are fully FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified as coming from a sustainable forest source.
So, it is possible. I’m very happy to have worked through this small project and come out with a solution, the environmental impact of which I can feel totally confident in. And this is just the start. I’ll write another post soon about how I intend to take forward my aspirations to have as environmentally friendly a photographic practice as possible but for now I’m pleased that I’ve taken the first conscious steps to up my environmental game. 2020 is the year.