How do I Keep my Sessions Environmentally-Friendly?

models featured: makbabs, thiefves, brigitfiddle, strawberryteapotshop, purrblind

With today being Earth Day, I'm mindful of my environmental impact and I've learned throughout my career that those thoughts don't have to stop at photography sessions. Whether you're a client, seasoned model, or photographer of any skill level, there are always steps you can take to reduce your environmental impact during sessions and respect the land you're using, especially for those who make use of public locations.

If you're ready to learn a few tips -- keep on reading! The best thing about the bulk of these tips is most of them have some great, built-in money-saving features! Who doesn't love that?

Buy Local or Thrift

If you're a photographer populating your client closet, a client looking for the perfect outfit, seeking out props and set-pieces, or anything in between, try shopping locally! Shopping locally versus buying from large retailers or online ordering via fast-fashion websites does wonders to stimulate the economy and cuts down on things like carbon emissions from shipping vehicles. Multiple studies have proven that shopping local is beneficial!

Thrifting, or buying from your neighbours through places such as Facebook Marketplace or Kijiji gives a second life to old, unwanted items that would otherwise go into the trash. Not to mention all the great deals you can find and money that can be saved by buying used. I am a member of several Facebook groups in my neighbourhood and always look for deals on props. Sometimes, you can even barter or trade and keep your cash in your pocket!

Sell your unused gear, or dispose of it properly (including batteries)!

So you bought a lens that you don't really use, and a camera bag that no longer fits your expanding kit. If it all still works, don't throw it out! Take tip number one and reverse it-- go on and throw all your unused gear and equipment up on Facebook marketplace, or neighbourhood selling groups. For my Torontonian (and all-around Canadian) clients and friends, Kijiji is also a great option. If you don't want to deal with the hassle of managing your own sales, local camera shops like Downtown Camera will almost-always buy your used gear.

But what if your gear is broken beyond repair, or your batteries are completely dead?

Don't throw it in the garbage!

Keep electronics out of landfills by disposing of them properly. Most electronic stores, even Best Buy have electronics and battery recycling programs. Toronto-residents can go local and recycle their electronics at Evergreen Brickworks, and while you're there, you can spend some time on the beautiful trails and enjoy some of the city's finest green-spaces.

Mack (top) thrifted this beautiful gown and James (bottom) created her headpiece out of a broken earring instead of thro

Mack (top) thrifted this beautiful gown and James (bottom) created her headpiece out of a broken earring instead of throwing it out! His toga is made from a bedsheet we thrifted!

Poison Ivy cosplay portrait

Poison Ivy would have something to say about those who don't respect nature!

Respect the space!

Pick up after yourself, especially if you're photographing or modelling on public property. Respect the land you're photographing on. If you're working in-studio, respect their rules on recycling and waste disposal!

Don't use harmful props

It might be tempting to throw a bunch of glitter in the air if you're photographing a magical forest-fairy session, but glitter is plastic and essentially litter. Once it's on the ground, it can't be cleaned up. Try looking for alternatives, or adding some magic during your editing process with a sparkling overlay.

Balloons can also be harmful, their biggest offense being that when they float away and eventually pop, they usually end up in oceans and other bodies of water where animals ingest them and choke. Helium is also an extremely limited resource! Biodegradable balloons exist, but they don't appear to be that much better for the planet. A great alternative to using balloons are streamers, kites, or even blowing bubbles. If you absolutely must use a balloon, and deflate it indoors and dispose of it in your trash can.

This clown doesn't need balloons.

This clown doesn't need balloons.

Consider your Travel Options & Share Spaces

This option is always the most difficult, as sometimes it's impossible to make it to a photography session without a vehicle, especially when you have a lot of gear to bring. However, whenever possible, I always try to walk, bike, or take transit to my photo sessions.

Carpooling is also a great option if you absolutely need a vehicle! I often team up with LXE.PHOTO when there's an opportunity to work together. We go as far to share studio spaces in order to reduce our travelling back and forth, and split costs on gas, transport, and the space rental itself!

I rode my bike to meet Mel for this photo session in the park. Who knew it would make such a great prop?

I rode my bike to meet Mel for this photo session in the park. Who knew it would make such a great prop?

Go forth and be eco-friendly!

In the end, no one can completely erase their carbon footprint, but we can all do our part as creators to research and educate ourselves on ways we can reduce, and be mindful of the way we create and how it effects the planet. Small steps can lead to big changes! Happy Earth Day! 🌱🌻🌎

cosplay photography - legend of zelda - link

Thanks for Reading!

Thanks for Reading!