Professional Photographer Magazine Web Exclusives

What's Your Shade of Green?

Bring your environmentalism into your business

By Rebecca Wilkowski and Dawn Tacker

Americans’ interest in things environmentally friendly is booming: from “green weddings” and BPA-free water bottles to solar electric panels and hybrid cars. The photographic industry, long cited for the overuse of packaging, paper and toxic chemicals, is growing a little greener thanks to the nonprofit Greener Photography initiative. By participating in the organization’s certification program, photographers can exhibit their concern for the environment in their marketing and branding.

A member-supported organization, Greener Photography strives to mitigate the environmental impact of the photographic industry by educating photographers, suppliers and the general public about the benefits of going green. In the United States, there are over 155,000 professional photographers and 14,000 photo-related companies generating revenues over $7 billion annually. In just 10 years, annual online photo imaging revenues have grown from $10 million to $7.8 billion. These statistics translate into the largest ecological footprint in photography’s 200-year history, and the opportunity for Greener Photography to make a real difference.

pastedGraphic.jpg

Greener Photography provides photographers well researched information and a roadmap for green success. Through the organization’s certification program, member professional photographers are publicly recognized for their efforts in lessening their impact on the environment. To achieve certification, the photographer must meet strict standards of green business practices. There are three tiers of certification available to accommodate photographers at different stages of greening their business.

Basic level members must demonstrate a sincere effort to integrate a minimum number of greener business practices.

Premiere level members must demonstrate that they’ve integrated greener business practices, as well as greening their product lines.

Leadership Circle members must demonstrate an advanced commitment to greener business practices and products, and be leaders of change in their community as well as the photographic industry.

Greener Photography certification is open to all professional photographers. Branding your business as eco-friendly not only reflects your own environmentalism, but allows photographers to reach an increasing market of like-minded consumers. Supporting Greener Photography helps to advocate for change in our industry. Find more information on Greener Photography's certification program.

Greener Photography aims to be the single most up-to-date and reliable resource for eco-conscious photographers, vendors and photo-enthusiasts. Plans for 2010 include the launch of a new interactive website, expanding relationships with manufacturers, reaching a national audience through education and advocacy, and growing the organization's international network of members and supporters. Learn  more about GP's accomplishments and future goals.

Rebecca Wilkowski is a San Francisco-based photojournalist and wedding photographer. She is a Communications Officer and Board of Directors member for Greener Photography.

Dawn Tacker is a San Diego-based portrait photographer (Eos Photography) and co-founder of Greener Photography.