When you think of steps you can take to make your wedding more eco-friendly, photography doesn’t often come up as an obvious choice. And it’s true, choosing sustainable options in jewelry, food, flowers and fashion is extremely important. But if you want to go the extra mile to make sure your wedding is a celebration of your values, give some thought to greening your wedding photography.
These days, it’s not uncommon for a wedding album to pass from friend to friend without ever touching paper. It’s true that digital photos take energy to transfer and view through electronic media. However, the lack of paper and harsh chemicals needed to develop and print traditional photos is already a point in digital photography’s favor. While there’s something sentimental about holding a wedding album in your hands, it’s important to weigh how much time you’ll actually spend flipping through a photo book versus how much enjoyment you’ll get from sharing the photos with friends and family online. (Sometimes the comment threads alone imbue the digital versions with more meaningful memories in the long run!)
If you want to print out a few photos for framing, just pick your favorites. To give the other shots their much-deserved attention, you might want to use a rotating set as your computer desktop background. If you’re like many people these days, you spend more time looking at your computer screen than at your walls, anyway.
When you hire local wedding vendors, you immediately reduce your wedding’s carbon footprint by cutting down on the number of road trips made in the name of wedding planning. Look for local photographers first (unless you’re planning a destination wedding, that is) so you don’t have to endure long car rides to attend planning meetings. This is also great news for your wedding budget: if you hire all local vendors, you’ve just saved a bundle on gas money that can now go to adding wedding flourishes!
Your wedding vendors won’t know what’s important to you until you tell them, so don’t be shy about communicating your values. Hire a wedding photographer who uses (or is willing to use) rechargeable batteries and energy efficient bulbs (like LEDs and CFLs), and who recycles material and old equipment whenever possible. If enough customers are willing to request that their vendors use green practices, the entire wedding industry will eventually shift to a more sustainable model. It all starts with speaking up as you plan your wedding.
Incorporate Your Values
Since eco-friendliness is important to your lifestyle, don’t forget to incorporate it into your photography style. After all, your engagement and wedding photos should tell the story of who you are as a couple. Talk with your wedding photographer about ways to feature your favorite sustainable lifestyle choices in your shots.
Maybe you’d like to plan an engagement shoot in your backyard garden (possibly holding a pitchfork between you like the famous couple in ”American Gothic”). Maybe you want to be photographed holding hands while lying in a meadow of wildflowers. Or maybe you’d like your photographer to snap photos while you get married in a tree.
Since you’re probably also considering eco-friendly choices as you plan your venue, decorations, and other wedding vendors, use your wedding photos as a way of highlighting them so you can remember each one–and yes, you can also use them to inspire other people. After all, it only takes one photo of a great, eco-friendly idea to spark a meme that circles the globe. Your wedding could be the beginning of a green trend that revolutionizes the entire wedding industry. It all starts with planning a wedding you believe in, and making sure to photograph it well.