A picture’s worth a thousand words, and one of them is “eco-friendly”
March 29, 2009
Okay, so that’s a compound word. Whatever, it still only counts as one.
But pictures! Who doesn’t want a way to bring back all the wonderful memories? I personally take pictures of EVERYTHING, including food. So while Jason and I briefly considered skipping the wedding photographer to save some money, we realized that we did really want a professional to help us capture the day.
And we completely lucked out.
I suppose I’m saying that a little preemptively, because we haven’t spoken with Natalie Franke face to face, or had her actually photograph us yet, but go check out her website, her blog, and her flickr pictures, and you’ll see why we’re excited. And that doesn’t get into our wonderful e-mail exchanges where Natalie completely understood why we needed to cut costs by skipping the engagement session, and her enthusiasm for and support of our green wedding. And not only is she talented and professional and wonderfully nice and responsive, but she’s a local college student. We found out about her from one of her professors, who happens to be a friend of ours from Grinnell College (Grinnell connections have helped both of us so much). And there’s something to be said for supporting local artists: I think it strengthens communities, you know exactly where your money is going, you get beautiful artifacts with a story not only of content, but of creation, and you get to work with someone who has an investment in you and your setting. That all translates maybe not explicitly into a lower carbon footprint, but at least a sense of pride and awareness of the world that I think is the first step to realizing something needs to be done.
But back to wedding photography. Here’s what we’re doing to try to take the saying “take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints” to the next level:
- Hire a local photograher. Did I mention how awesome Natalie is? But if you’re not lucky enough to be in the Baltimore area, it might be possible to find someone (even highly likely, although I still think we win) from an art school. Here’s an idea: go check out your favorite coffee house/art gallery (there’s at least one of those in every city, right?) and ask who the photographer is. Talk to your friends who got married in the area and see if they have suggestions. Talk to your friends who are professors who may know of a student. Talk to your friends who are photographers. Word of mouth is great!
- DON’T USE DISPOSABLE CAMERAS ON THE TABLES. Unless you’re absolutely set on it. But disposable is the absolute other end of reusable, which is what eco-weddings should strive for. There’s a ton of packaging for each camera, the development chemicals aren’t a good thing, and all the transportation associated with them isn’t great, either. Other cons: you have to pay for the development of the pictures, many of which are bad or blurry or offensive and are thrown out anyway (more waste!), and more often than not, people just walk away with them and you never see the results anyway. From what I could find on the intertubes in a brief search, disposables can be somewhat efficiently recycled (but a lot of those articles seemed to come from the industry), so if you do decide to use them (don’t!), make sure your guests know the rules and do your best to really get what you want from them.
- DO promote digital camera use! Obviously, digital cameras aren’t zero impact either (make sure to recycle them properly at the end of their lives!), but one camera that can be used again and again, with rechargable batteries and a format that doesn’t require harsh chemicals to bring into view seems like a definite step in the right direction. Jason and I are planning on setting up a Flickr pool, like this one: the Mason wedding, where both we and our guests can share our snapshots with the world (sorry, world!). No need to print! We’ll request DVDs of pictures through our registry (stay tuned, that post is coming up), too, for people who don’t want to go through the hassle of setting up a flickr account, and we’ll add them to the group ourselves.
- Okay, I’m going to end with Natalie again. Because she’s great. And she’s giving us a data DVD of the high-resolution images to do what we like with. We want an album, and we’ll do that somehow (looking for well-managed forest/recycled paper, keeping it small), but this way we don’t get tons of printed proofs and things that would probably end up in a box somewhere and while treasured, maybe not worth green or lack thereof (bad pun, i’m sorry). There will be an online galley. These options are often available from photographers; just ask!
As always, I guess the message here is to just spend a moment or two thinking about how your decision about wedding photography will impact the environment and your community. In the end, you may just end up with someone amazing (final shoutout to Natalie), and hopefully lots of wonderful memories you can look at again and again.
At 891 words, this entry is worth just a little less than a picture, so I’ll share one of my not-so-great ones: