This blog is one of my very much “in progress” projects, but I figured I would share what I’ve been up to, even though there is a lot more that I need to do.
You see, behind the scenes I’ve been trying to make Lotus Photography a little bit greener. I’ve always loved being outside, running around, enjoying the world, so it seems only right that I should run a business that tries to support the environment. I’ve been making subtle changes not only with the aim of providing a great service, keeping prices down, and celebrating you, but also to not generate as much waste.
Here are a few green things I’ve been up to and a few bits I need to get better at.
Using Less Paper
Instead of sending out letters, invoices, and pages and pages of contracts, I’ve changed it all to being paperless. For the last 2 years, as well as emailing you all, I have been using online invoicing and contracts, you can even sign them online rather than having to print them out.
Because I’m always learning new techniques and ways to improve my photography skills I read a lot of textbooks. Rather than buy these new, I try to get second-hand ones or do a book swap with a fellow photographer.
Things I need to improve
I’ll be honest, I hate Google Calendar, I don’t know why, I just don’t seem to get along with it and that’s why I still use a paper Filofax. Next time I need a refill of pages, I’m going to try and track down someone who offers recycled refills.
Digital Images & Online Galleries
As you know, I offer online galleries with all of my photography packages, this is for tonnes of reasons; I can send high res images, it gives you loads of choices, you can share images easily and no trips to the post office to send USB sticks.
Don’t get me wrong, USB sticks are really useful, but to get good quality ones I found there’s a lot of packaging when they’re sent me and then I have to wrap them up in MORE packaging to send them to you. Whilst with an online gallery, no packaging is needed! Plus you can just email the link to your friends and family to share your images, rather than you having to package up another stack of USB sticks.
Things I need to improve
I use a photo lab called Loxley for my prints, the quality is AMAZING, but currently, they don’t offer any prints or albums that come from recycled materials, so I’m currently trying to source some that still have the beautiful quality finish.
If you’ve seen my camera bag (which by the way, is a recycled suitcase) you’ll have spotted I carry around a lot of equipment. Where possible I’ll try and get refurbished equipment from a quality supplier such as Castle Cameras or WEX, or if it’s something I’ll only use on that one photoshoot, I’ll rent it from them instead of buying new.
Things I need to improve
Lens wipes, I use so many of them, but each wipe comes individually wrapped! That’s a lot of waste, so I need to find a good swap.
I’ve tried, but truthfully, with the hours I work and the locations I shoot at, I can’t avoid driving. With that in mind, I’ve tried a few things to make it more efficient.
Looking after my car: I read that if your car is looked after it runs more efficiently and produces less waste. I don’t know if this is 100% true, but I can see the logic.
Combing Trips: Rather than one trip to a photoshoot and one trip to the supermarket, I’ll always try and combine my journeys. It’s not unusual for me to do the weekly shop after a shoot. Luckily, although I shoot all over the country, my family are dotted around everywhere. My parents live in Devon, my sister in Sussex, my Aunt and Uncles live up north, I have friends in Ireland, and that’s just the start of it. Thanks to photoshoots and weddings that are a little bit further away, I’ve been able to tie them in with seeing people I don’t get to see as often as I would like.
I am giving full credit for this idea to Mags & Louis, who in the middle of their Engagement Photoshoot on the beach, started picking up litter that had washed up. Because of them, I now always carry some biodegradable bin bags with me, that way if I spot some litter, I can pick it up and bin it. When you shoot in as many beautiful locations as I do, you want to do your bit to keep them clean.
Using A Shared Space
This decision was mostly made out of financial sense, but the more I thought about it, it didn’t make any environmental sense either. You’ll notice that I either shoot outside, at an event or wedding, or in a shared studio and when I’m editing or doing admin, I’m at home or in a coffee shop. The reason I don’t have a private studio or private office was not just the cost, but also because of the waste factor. I didn’t want to have a private space that would be empty a lot of the time during wedding season. This doesn’t mean, I’ll never have a studio, but at the moment, I love sharing a space that is in constant use and doesn’t go to waste.
Snacks & Coffee
Spend 5 minutes with me, you’ll know I drink a LOT of coffee and if I’m shooting the whole day, I will no longer buy snacks and single-use cups, all that plastic packaging drives me nuts. Instead, I’ll usually have a flask of coffee, a reusable bottle of water and some Tupperware (I love the collapsible kind) with a snack in.
Random Things I Still Need To Improve
I’ve mentioned a few bits already, but then there are some truly random items I do want to make changes to.
Tissues! I cry at weddings, you’d think I’d be over this, but nope, I still cry. Before Covid I was thinking about getting cotton handkerchiefs as I was using so many tissues, but since the pandemic, I’ve decided to hold off this one just for the moment. It’s still very much on my list, but safety first.
Batteries. For my cameras and one of my flashes, they already use rechargeable batteries. However, my other flash and my triggers still use AA batteries. I’ll be honest, I bulk bought single-use batteries a while ago and I’m still using them up. Once they are used, I’m planning on swapping to rechargeable AA batteries.
Parking Tickets. No, I don’t mean I park illegally. However, I do tend to use the machine paper tickets rather than paying for my parking through apps. If you saw how many paper parking tickets I have floating around my car, you’d see why this isn’t the greenest habit and why I really need to start using those apps.
I’m very honest about how I’m not perfect, this is a journey and I still have a lot to learn. If you do have suggestions about how I can make Lotus Photography that little bit greener, please drop me an email.