The photography industry has taken great steps in the past decade towards environmental responsibility. Film photography has declined drastically, which has resulted in the reduction of the numerous chemicals that are used in the development of photos. The existence of high quality digital photography options is to thank for the move away from traditional film. Digital photography greatly reduces the number of photos printed in general, as the photographer can view the photos before deciding to develop them and choose to develop only those photos they wish to keep, and the printing of digital photography involves far fewer chemicals than the development of film.
The next big step the photography industry can take towards becoming more “green” is to use digital photo proofing for clients. The traditional method of proofing photographs with clients is to print a set of photos in a sample size or format such as a proof book, to be viewed by the client as they make their purchase selections. These proofs are generally discarded when a client places an order for prints of their own, and the photographer then has high quality prints created for their client. The paper proof method results in wasted photo paper, ink, and energy. Often proofs are printed on a home printer, which is generally an inefficient model, and the ink cartridges are more likely end up in the trash, instead of being properly recycled.
The photography industry should be able to take another great step towards reducing their impact on the environment; the uprising of online photo proofing is helping to reduce the need for wasted print samples. More photographers are becoming comfortable with the idea of showing clients a digital copy of their work, and truly only printing the photos which a client wishes to purchase. While some photographers are still resistant to moving to an on-screen proofing model, online proofing is the way the industry is leaning, and hopefully in the years to come, it will become the standard, helping photographers to take that next step towards environmental responsibility.
After online photo proofing becomes the industry standard, the next steps will certainly evolve as well. Green printing may be next on the horizon for the reduction of waste and environmental hazard, though at the moment the options are not of a comparable quality as traditional printing methods. Green initiatives such as online photo proofing and reduced printing can be great marketing points to make with potential clients.