NEW: The Totally Green Wedding Photography Collection

posted on: December 2, 2008

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The environment has been on my mind a lot lately. Last weekend when I was in Indiana for a wedding, there were very noticeable amounts of pollutants in the air and an unusually large number of people coughing and sneezing at the wedding. You could chalk it up to the season if you want, but as the plane flew over the city, I noticed exactly how much impact various manufacturing plants had on the environment around them as they spewed their chemicals into the air and let them fall on the surrounding communities. Since moving out of Indiana, I've had fewer allergy problems, and I don't doubt that it has something to do with Indiana's lack of recycling and environmental protection policies. Same thing happened while I was driving in Manitoba for a wedding this weekend, and noticed how the emissions stemming from the manufacturing plants would just linger in the air, forming clouds of waste, which would then settle on the surrounding farmland, often causing areas of dense fog around the plant. I can't help but think these emissions could somehow be harnessed into creating more energy in a way that doesn't dump them into the environment. Call me crazy, but I think we need to demand more from our policy makers.



So, after thinking about how much waste there is in the world, I decided that it was time to create a Totally Green Wedding Photography Collection that essentially eliminated all possibility of waste. What does that mean? No printing of prints that aren't absolutely going to be framed, no packaging or shipping materials which need to be discarded, and no mailing of products across many miles in a truck or plane. Some people are going to think this is outrageous, but I think it's exactly what we need right now.

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What does the Totally Green Collection include? An online gallery that allows you, your family and friends FREE High Resolution downloads of any and all wedding photos directly to your computer from anywhere in the world with internet acess (great for the recessionistas), an online slideshow album available for download in digital format, and carbon offset credits for the projected energy usage and carbon waste produced by the wedding. All images are fully color-corrected, exposure enhanced, and include creative cropping and toning- making each one its own little piece of sentimental art. Current clients are welcome to trade in their wedding album for the FREE digital downloads gallery if they'd prefer, or can simply add it onto their package for an additional fee (to cover hosting and bandwidth usage). In just a few weeks, all current and future clients will also have the ability to purchase digital downloads from their current galleries as well- WOO HOO!!

Cold World, Warm Heart

I can already see the chaos this is going to cause with some wedding photographers who still can't fathom letting their clients have any of the digital images, and to them I say: get with the program! As an artist, I definitely struggle with the idea of giving up creative control and allowing clients to reproduce my work on sub-par printers or with poor-quality album makers, but the fact is that most of my clients who have received high resolution files in the last few years really haven't done much more than kept them on their computer to look at anyway. To be honest, I can't even remember the last time I printed something for myself- but I do know that I look at my favorite images online all the time! I live such a digital lifestyle that I would be a hypocrite to tell others that they HAD to have their images in physical prints or albums. Of course I'm still offering professional prints and professionally bound albums because I really just don't think there's anything more beautiful and romantic than seeing photos in physical form away from the eye-numbing glow of the computer screen, which is why I still give photo gifts to friends and family in prints and albums even if I don't print much for myself. But for those who embrace the digital lifestyle as much as I do, now there's something for you that embraces the commissioning of the artist's work up front so that it can be freely available for everyone to enjoy later. (Please note that images are available under a creative commons license for personal use only.)

Now that I've put this idea out there, I'd love to hear your thoughts!! What do you think about The Totally Green Collection?

Bride portrait

Brides: If you'd like to calculate the total Carbon Emissions for your wedding day, check out this carbon calculator from CarbonFund.org: http://www.carbonfund.org/site/pages/individuals/category/Weddings/

54 comments, to add [click here]:

  1. Anne, what a great idea! This is fantastic, and a great way to save the environment.

    Cheers,
    the uberBrides team

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  2. great program anne. more photogs are sure to follow your path.

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  3. jamie8:21 AM

    That sounds really awesome anne. You're the coolest. I mean, greenest :-)

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  4. Hey Anne.

    That 1st photo is INCREDIBLE. It has to be one of my all time favorites. So rich and what great light. Very nicely done.

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  5. have I told you lately that I love you... (in my best Rod stewart singsong voice)

    You always figure out how to say exactly what I am thinking. I was having the same arguement with myself although not solely for green purposes but for digital file selling - so I think its a wonderful sentiment.. Keep us up on how you go more green maybe we can all work some of those ideas into our dailys and all get more green!

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  6. Anonymous9:14 AM

    I think it's a brilliant idea! And I love your work. Too bad you are not in the Chicago area. . .

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  7. Definitely a fantastic idea! (Although I have to admit I have been doing the download of files for a year now).

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  8. I LOVE this idea. Fabulous.

    I must say I'm rubbish at selling digital files but am slowly getting there and your green argument should help me along with this in 2009!!

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  9. Anne I think this is a FABULOUS idea! I love it!

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  10. Anne - I absolutely LOVE it! I have seriously been thinking about this as well and I just think it needs to happen!

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  11. I've toyed with the downloadable photos for a little bit just because I'm locate in Europe now and postage for disks, etc, is expensive AND time consuming.

    Way to go Anne!

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  12. What if the album is delivered in a Prius?

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  13. first off....that first shot is AMAZING!! love it!

    Second....YOU are AMAZING!! love you!! :)

    xoxo
    M:)

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  14. I love it...what a great concept. My only concern would be playing "tech support" to those less than web savvy clients who have problems with the downloading. I know for the most part most clients today are pretty familiar with computers, but last week alone I had to explain to three clients why their wedding images won't all burn on to one CD, that they needed to use DVDs. So make sure you have a good FAQ on the down load process...I'm working on that myself.

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  15. Kimberly, I completely agree, which is why I'm doing extra research to make sure that the online gallery I'll be using to host the images is so ridiculously easy to use that there will be no questions- just intuition working at its finest. I'll be testing a few different ones out on some of my least savvy family members over Christmas!

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  16. Great Idea!! Love the downloads for guests as well. Keep us posted on it's response - but looks like from the blog it's going to go over very well!

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  17. I think its a great idea and as things continue to evolve, I'm fairly certain that this will be the way to deliver files. I'm a photographer, but also was a bride last year and I wouldn't fathom not having the digital files from my wedding. Like you mentioned, most brides, including myself, want them for heirloom purposes, not necessarily to print low-quality products.

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  18. I think this is the best idea EVER! I totally would of done this when you did our wedding 2 years ago (I know I cant believe it has been that long either!)

    Thanks for keeping the earth GREEN! & using that super cute photo of ME!

    :)

    P.s Almost all items that I sell are GREEN - re-crafted from something else to something great! (link on my blog!)

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  19. Anne,

    I stumbled on your blog while I was still in school in Terre Haute. You're photography is utterly BEAUTIFUL, and to say I eagerly anticipate each post of yours is an understatement.

    As a print graphic designer, being green is super difficult. I can empathize with your need to find a green way to go! I think selling digital files just might be the way of the future. Keep brainstorming!

    I'd love to get in touch with you to talk photography (if you are ever NOT busy, that is!). Let me know!

    Thanks for sharing your talent!

    Austen

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  20. I think this is a great idea! It's good to see the concern you have for the environment and not just yourself. kudos.

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  21. That is a fantastic idea Anne! The environment really is important and every little bit that we do helps. Thanks for setting such a great example!

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  22. As a total geek myself, it is something I've considered for awhile. In the end, I think the time it would take a client to download the image files (and the electricity used while they do it) is better offset by me mailing them a DVD in the most eco-friendly packaging I can find. (Uhm, which I am still looking for...)

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  23. its totally you!

    thanks for making me more aware of shipping waste...plus it adds up..sheesh!

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  24. ps. I find that using .mac gallery (or mobile me whatever it is) is great for sharing and downloading for others! I hate keeping the files in iphoto though.

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  25. Anne! Wow. What a great take on embracing digital downloads. I could not possibly agree with this more. I'm with you, I would expect to get my files digitally, you know? That's just how the digital age works. There are still things I want as prints, but ya know...mostly I want to look at stuff on my computer. Gotta change with the (important) trends, or you're gonna put yourself out of business.

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  26. I think it's a great idea! I rarely make prints of photos. Having a digital version is so much easier to work with, and takes up so much less space!

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  27. I LOVE THIS IDEA and think that we as photographers should all jump on Anne's bandwagon and make this a movement! I would really love to hear the details!

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  28. i LOVE this!!! I had a "green" wedding....and i'm all about helping out the environment.. I chose to purchase all my images on a disc and didn't get any printed out... anyways..i LOVE this idea and think you will get alot of really good response from it..and i hope more photographers follow in your foot steps. also.. i'm 25 and was born and raised a hoosier.. and I know exactly what you mean about indiana... my allergies are terrible and always have been...and i always thought it had something to do with our terrible environment here. i hope that indiana follows in some other states footsteps and starts fixing things..otherwise eventually noone will want to live here ... if i could.. I'd love to live somewhere more "green."

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  29. I think it's a lovely idea Anne but think the couple would at least want a CD in a luxurious case. Or perhaps I'm showing my age as people are now happy to pay full bucks for sub-quality music downloaded rather than have the CD?

    There are lots of arguments for and against giving digital images. Giving a CD saves a lot of time and effort on our part having to get prints and build albums. But on the con side, we have no control over how they view the images and if they look rubbish that will reflect on us rather than the medium used to view.

    I'm thinking of making some digital packages next year to give clients the choice as several have asked this year. If people are happy with CDs and prepared to pay a suitable premium then I guess being available on-line only would be the next logical step.

    It's a wonderful idea, which is certainly much greener than producing album and prints that may require several journey's through the post before reaching the end client.

    I wish you every success and look forward to hearing how people buy into it :-)

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  30. What a terrific idea! I'm over on the West Coast but will make sure to ask our photographer to consider the same thing. Great way to blaze the (green) trail!

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  31. Christine - this solution is a greater benefit when you consider the number of guests who simply want one or two images for themselves, and would traditionally have to have those images printed and shipped to them. When you get even 20-30 guests who just want one image for their own, that's a lot of packaging and a lot of traveling for those images- which includes a lot of waste. I would still burn a disc so the couple could have a physical archive, but if they simply needed to snag one or two images for the paper or an announcement, they'd easily be able to use the digital download gallery for that.

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  32. Pat- I think the assumption that music downloads are lower quality isn't as valid anymore. There was definitely a time when there was a noticable quality difference, but the technology has finally caught up. Even so, that argument doesn't really hold up for images because the download of an image isn't any lower quality than one being offered on a DVD- and if you're able to fit all of your images on CD, than you've probably already done a bit of compression to them.

    I agree that I worry about the quality that could be reproduced, but I think/hope that my clients will care just as much about that quality, which is why professional prints will still be available to them if they'd like them.

    I don't really want it to be something that people "buy into"- that language makes it sound like a pyramid scheme or something - I'm just offering another option for people who are concerned about the environment.

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  33. I think this a brilliant idea! Thanks for sharing!

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  34. This is a great idea! I think brides are going to love it!

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  35. I think it sounds great! Let people print only if they want and what they want! You are a trendsetter Anne! I am going to calculate my carbon footprint right now ;)
    Hugs from Winnipeg!
    Jenn

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  36. It is so refreshing to hear a photographer realize that maintaining absolute control over their images is no longer a realistic goal. Yes, it is difficult to come to terms with the fact that your clients can take your photos into photoshop and butcher them and then credit you with their awful work, but how many times have you heard that actually happen? (Plus your photos are so amazing I doubt anyone thinks they need to be taking them in for more post-processing). If I wasn't already married, I'd be begging for a program like this from my own photog!

    Is there any way your hosting site can do a "batch download". It's so easy to browse the photos on my computer, but most sites like facebook, flickr, just have slow loading times. I've looked at several proof sites while reading blogs of other brides and none of them really get me excited either.

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  37. risky, Anne ... but if anyone can pull it off, it's you!

    so, are you going to do these only in Boston? b/c if you travel far for this, would it defeat the point?

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  38. Karen- if clients request me to travel, carbon offset credits will be purchased to compensate for that as well.

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  39. Anne! this is awesome... I've been thinking of this for months now and would like to impliment it in the start of the new year but I can't find anywhere that I can upload my files and my clients download them, what service are you planning to use for that?

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  40. Thank you so much for the feedback everyone!!!

    I'm exploring a few different services and will be test-running a few of them over the holidays to see how friendly they are for not-so-savvy internet users. Here are the ones I'm exploring for now...

    Mobile Me
    You Send It
    Photo Cart

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  41. OK - I will go back and read this whole post, but, I just had to say THANK YOU for posting our wedding photo at the top of it! :D

    Sigh. I love that shot so much. You're the best!!

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  42. FYI - Smugmug.com offers Low & High resolution downloads as well as prints through their shopping cart, among others.
    Rosie :)

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  43. Anne, this is absolutely wonderful. Carbon credit? Brilliant. How Melissa and I wish we found you before we did our photographer hunting a couple of years ago! Keep up the great work. Your photography is absolutely beautiful and compelling. Best!

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  44. You are a pioneer, we all need challenge ourselves, as photographers, and our clients to understand the impact we have on the environment and how valuable that environment is for all of us.

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  45. Anonymous5:23 PM

    What site can you use to allow clients to download images??

    This is a FAB idea!!!

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  46. i am already doing most of this but never thought to let just anyone download high res images. i am so glad there is someone brave enough to blaze the trail for us. :)

    thanks!!!!

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  47. i LOVE your blog! i just found it on DWF!

    i am a fellow photographer AND a total Tree-Hugger! I LOVE your idea. I need your permission to follow your lead, please respond, ok? FAB FAB

    sue@suerakes.com

    http://www.suerakes.com

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  48. I love it. Could you help us with a photolovecat post on the pros & cons of different online portfolio services that allow downloading? I never thought about the carbon credit... great idea!

    www.olryphotography.com

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  49. I have been wanting to do something like this. Do you mind me asking what company you're using for the digital downloads? Or put it up on Photo Love Cat. Thanks!!!

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  50. Anonymous10:41 PM

    Not to mention that in some states, if you perform a fully electronic photography package, e.g. not producing any final prints, CD, or DVD, then no Sales Tax is due on the transaction

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  51. Anne, I didn't want to steal the direction of the conversation... just wanted to tell you how much I loved that blue image in the branches. Beautiful!

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  52. Nice post.thanks ...........

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