Tips for Greener Photography: 7 Ways to Pool Resources

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By Megan Just

One of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint is by pooling resources and combining efforts. Teaming up with other local photographers and businesses is not just good ecological sense, it's good business sense. Pooling resources will reduce your overhead costs and increase your profits. Here are seven tips to help you begin combining efforts:

1. Exchange Information

Develop a directory of green-minded photographers and photography-related businesses in your area. Networking can lead to more local shoots and helps build a stronger local economy. Approach related businesses and establish a referral program for their clients and yours. Make it a point to share information with other nearby photographers about your locale, like new shooting locations or shops that give discounts to locals. With the combined knowledge of your group, everyone can be a local expert.   

2. Go Halfsies

Buying in bulk is better for the environment because it reduces packaging and transportation (and cost!). Team up with other photographers to buy high-count packages of stock items you all use, such as print bags and print boxes.

3. Cooperative Studios

Why pay for a studio space that you only use a few times a week? Organize a cooperative studio space with other photographers. You can share more than just the cost of the space and utilities; in a cooperative space, you can share common tools like studio lights, tripods, backdrops, etc.

4. Make It a Date

Chances are, when there is a great photography exhibit, conference, or workshop in your region, your local peers will plan to attend. Carpool! You can also go as a group to the farmer’s market or to your area’s Green Drinks events.

5. Trade Services

Take advantage of the untapped resources in your area. Expand the concept to non-photography business. Trade headshots for bookkeeping services; trade canvases for catering services.   

6. Long Range Errands

If the nearest professional photography supply store is an hour away, avoid driving every time you need to purchase a single item. Get a list going for long-range errands and wait until you have a long list to make the trip. Announce your intentions to your cohorts and be gracious about picking up items for them as well. Do the same thing when you are placing orders online. It doesn’t make sense to waste a huge amount of carbon to ship a single accessory.

7. Trash or Treasure?

Before you let your Canon 30D moulder in a box, consider that some of your buddies might still be using a Canon 20D. Or they may be mentoring a student who doesn’t have a camera at all.  E-mail your local photographer buddies and see if anyone is interested first. Unwanted belongings have a better chance of actually being re-used if you place them into the right hands.

Megan Just holds a B.S. in Natural Resource from Oregon State University. She is a member of the Jessica Riehl Photography team and can be contacted at www.meganjust.com.

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