How Green Photography can Reduce your Environmental Impact

Here are a few tips on how you can reduce your photography’s environmental impact, and how you can enjoy overall more green photography.

green photography

Photography is a fantastic way of capturing the beauty of the world around us. If you enjoy snapping images of your environment, chances are you’ll want to do all that you can to protect it too. Here are a few tips on how you can reduce your photography’s environmental impact, and how you can enjoy overall more green photography.

Switch to digital

It may have been over a decade ago that digital cameras first exploded onto the scene, shaking up the world of photography forever, but its easy to forget that their benefits extend far beyond being a convenient and easy to operate piece of equipment. Digital photography is a far more environmentally friendly way of taking photographs, reducing the use of paper and removing the need for the cocktail of chemicals used in developing film. While traditional, film photography has its own appeal and can deliver some stunning results, try sticking to digital for your “everyday” shots to reduce your photography’s environmental impact.

Use efficient batteries

While most modern cameras contain rechargable batteries, some older models run on disposable AA batteries, or other disposable varieties. If your favourite camera is powered by conventional AA batteries or similar, consider buying a set of rechargable batteries. This will remove your need to throw away used batteries, whilst also ensuring you’re never stuck without a fresh set of working batteries, and of course, rechargable batteries are far more economical in the long run.

Donate old equipment

If you’ve recently upgraded your camera or other pieces of photography kit, try donating them to a local school or collage, or a charity shop. Selling old equipment can also be a good way of keeping your hobby economical, and websites such as Ebay and Gumtree are a great place to sell your old kit. Passing on old cameras and equipment is a great way of keeping it out of the waste stream, where it can so easily end up on landfill sites where it can stay for thousands of years.


If your old camera or equipment is beyond reuse, try recycling it. Most photography shops have a recycling programme where they will accept old cameras or pieces of equipment, as well as ink cartridges and film canisters, all made predominantly of plastic which crucially needs to be prevented from building up on landfill sites. Recycling old photography equipment also helps to reduce the demand on new resources when producing new cameras.

Buy second hand

Just as you can be a more environmentally friendly photographer by selling on your unwanted cameras and equipment, you can also reduce your environmental impact by buying second hand. Second hand cameras can often be of a very high quality but at a much more affordable price. By buying second hand, you are helping to prevent perfectly good equipment from being thrown away, as well as reducing the use of brand new materials, resources and energy in the manufacture of new products. Buying second hand often means buying more locally, helping you to reduce your reliance on overseas transport for your new item to arrive. Websites such as Ebay and Gumtree are a great place to find a bargain, and you can usually see where your item is being delivered from, helping you to reduce the carbon emissions generated by your purchase.

Print sparingly

The great thing about digital photography is being able to view your images on a computer before committing to having a physical print out. Not only does this take a lot of the guess work out of taking photographs, it also plays a huge part in reducing your paper consumption. Green photography involves being more aware of the resources you consume, and by printing only the photos you wish to keep and frame, you can dramatically cut how much paper your hobby consumes. Many photographers, both professional and amateur now have their own website or photo blog which allows them to share their work. This makes it far easier for people to view and comment on your work without the need to sacrifice excess paper.

Recycled photo paper

Keeping the majority of your photographs digital is a great way of reducing your consumption of paper and practicing green photography. But sometimes, nothing beats printing out a few of your favourite shots. Recycled photo paper is a great way of ensuring that your prints haven’t contributed to deforestation, and that the paper has undergone a number of uses. You can help to complete the cycle by reusing the paper or taking it to be recycled if or when you no longer need the copy of the photograph.

Image sourced: Rodrigo Senna

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