Hi there! Let’s talk eco-friendly photography.
If you’ve been following me for the past year or longer, you know that I’m trying to implement my sustainable lifestyle into my photography business. I do this by planting a tree for every wedding, using second hand gear, traveling consciously etc. I want to leave this world a better place and inspire others with this wonderful lifestyle. Step by step I try to figure out what I can do better.
Today I would love to share with you my transition to eco-friendly photo albums!
Why a photo album?
Personally I’m a huge fan of printing photos. Being able to touch and physically hold memories is the best way to relive them. Browsing through your very own photo album makes all the moments come alive again.
Besides, what will ever happen to all those digital photos after 10 years? They’ll disappear on some hard drive, ready to be lost if you’re not careful. A high quality album will be there forever.
Why eco-friendly? The problem of cheap photo products
As a photographer, you’re offering a service and delivering mainly digital products, so at first sight it might not seem such a harmful profession for the environment. If you look closer though, you must’ve noticed the excessive amount of cheap photo products on the market.
Every possible object is customisable nowadays, materials often contain plastics and are printed with chemicals. Cheap photo products are often of poor quality, not very durable and the print will fade over the years. There’s a good chance they end up in landfill after a few years because they won’t suffice anymore. On top of that, whenever cheap materials are used, it’s very likely these materials are not produced in an ethical way. Like with fast fashion, something is cheap because someone else is paying the price.
Something is cheap because someone else is paying the price.
Not only consumers tend to pick the cheapest option, professionals often do the same. It’s all about selling something and making profit. I think we can do better. A few months ago I had some extra time because of all the Covid cancellations, so I decided to spend this time finding out everything there is to know about eco-friendly photo albums.
There is still a lot I don’t know. However, I’ve done so much digging and I learned a lot. And above all: I do know that I can offer my clients a much better product now.
I can finally offer my clients:
Eco-friendly photo albums
Just to be clear: a photo album is by definition not eco-friendly. Every new ‘thing’ we purchase requires a certain amount of resources, which obviously has an impact on the planet. However. a book with memories is the most precious book you will ever have. Especially if you value experiences over things, you’ll find yourself in need of a way to save the memories. So despite the impact on the environment, there are enough reasons to still get one. And if you do, there are plenty of options to make it as eco-friendly as possible.
There are many aspects that you can take into consideration to reduce the impact of a photo album, for example: natural materials, local (European) production, fair pricing and non-toxic printing. It’s quite a lot and you might feel overwhelmed by this. But no worries, I have already done the digging for you!
My wooden albums
Extremely durable & mostly eco
My wooden albums come from a Portugese supplier. They use wood from a local renewable forest owned by a family business. They assemble everything by hand in Portugal and they use solvent free glue. The leather is vegan (better than animal leather, but it does consist synthetic materials) and there are also linen options. Wooden albums are sturdy and durable.
My linen albums
100% local, fair and sustainable
My linen albums come from a Dutch supplier that invests in high quality and sustainable materials. The production takes place in The Netherlands. They use acid and lignin free fine-art paper and the covers are FSC and REACH certified. There are cover options with special coating (UN Global Compact certified) to extend the lifespan of the album.
More cover options
I’ve only decided to work with the most transparent suppliers I could find. Many suppliers are not able to tell where their materials come from or what they’re currently doing to improve their production process. Transparency is so important, it’s the first step towards a more eco-friendly and fair market.
The most important thing: a durable product
The things to take into account when choosing a photo album might seem overwhelming. That’s why I tried showing you all the amazing options that are still possible, while making sure my albums have the lowest environmental impact possible.
Last but not least: remember that the most sustainable option is a durable album that will survive another 50 years. I made sure these albums are high quality products that will not be worn out after only a few years.
1 album = 1 new tree
To compensate the carbon footprint and to make sure you don’t have to worry about the environmental impact of your album, I’m planting a tree for every album order. I do this by supporting the Dutch organisation Trees For All.
My albums are starting from €450 for a 30x30cm album with 25 spreads. I see it as a long term investment. The value of the memories will only increase over the years, so it’s important to keep them safe. The exact same thing applies to the environmental impact: a healthy planet – our actual future – is not something you want to save money on.
I think we need to change our connection with ‘stuff’ and the way we use resources from the planet. This is why I don’t want you to lure you into buying something you don’t need. If you rather keep your photos digitally, that’s 100% cool! It’s a personal preference. And if you don’t feel like spending this amount of money on a good quality product, I’d recommend not spending it at all.
Ask me anything
My suppliers are only available for photographers with a valid VAT ID. If you’re not a photographer, I would love to design the album for you. Even if your photos were not taken by me.
You can always order an album with me! Even years after the photos were taken or if you have never done a photo session with me.