How this photographer made her business eco-friendly, and why you should too
It’s always a good time to make your daily life and your business eco-friendly. Danish photographer Angelina Wiese Devine has made a great effort in doing it over the past year, converting her business to becoming more sustainable. We chatted with her about the benefits of such practices, not just for the planet – but for you as well. She shared her experience with DIYP and shares some advice for all of you who want to go green.
Reducing carbon footprint
Angelina owns a photo studio in Odense, Denmark, and she has spent the last year trying to go green in her business. During the pandemic that made lives difficult for all of us, Angelina found ways to become kinder to our planet, but also to her community and ultimately to herself. Nearly all of her products are now locally produced, which means less transport, less packaging, and less waste. “I have gone from 3-5 deliveries a week, to 3-5 deliveries a month,” she tells DIYP.
In addition, nearly everything is done in the studio now. This includes printing, laminating, cutting, mounting, framing, and packing the prints. Angelina is currently also working on the solution that would allow her to make her own albums, and she is collaborating with a local bookbinder.
Switching to local producers and recycled/reused materials
It all started somewhere during the pandemic. As you’ve all probably experienced, it got more complicated to order things and have them shipped and delivered. But since the pandemic forced Angelina to close her studio for a while, she also had more time on her hands. And she used it well: she started learning how to make her own stuff, she was actually making them, and she explored local producers in her country.
Relying on Google and some recommendations, Angelina sought boxes made from recycled cardboard. It was funny that some producers offered boxes that only looked like they were recycled, and they weren’t. But then she accidentally found these fancy-looking boxes – and they actually are made from recycled cardboard. It’s a win!
The photographer also found local producers of frames and mounts that she uses to frame her photos. She also invested in a printer that prints up to A3+, a lamination machine, and cutting tools, so she can do everything in her studio. It all came around $1,000, which is a small investment but offers plenty of benefits.
What I found especially cute is that Angelina even makes her own labels and reuses paper to do it. I do it as well to make my embroidery tags and I generally love reusing stuff.
As I mentioned, by doing all this, Angelina managed to cut deliveries to a minimum. This means fewer flights, less waste from packaging, and some other benefits we’ll discuss below. As for shipping her products, she rarely does it as the pickups are at the studio. Her clients are mainly local, and as she notes – Denmark is a small country. But when she does ship something on rare occasions, she reuses bubblewrap and other materials.
Advantages of switching to local producers and becoming more eco-friendly
Remember I mentioned the additional benefits of this approach? Well, there are many. First of all, you reduce waste and fuel spent when the items are shipped to you. She shared that there were also mistakes with her orders, so she had to return them. This way they would be reshipped, which would produce even more waste and carbon dioxide. Not to mention the stress and waiting you go through as well.
Next, by buying locally, you are helping the local economy and supporting small producers. I think that we can all agree that this is especially important in this day and age. It’s also pretty convenient that you can go and see the products for yourself before you decide to buy them.
The whole local orientation produces less stress. There’s no waiting, there’s less space for mistakes, and even when they occur, it’s easier, cheaper, and faster to fix them.
If you switch to local producers and make stuff on your own, you control the production process. For example, if you mess up a print or cut it in the wrong way, you can immediately correct the mistakes. Speaking of reduced stress, right? But also, you also waste a lot less time.
As I mentioned, Angelina invested some money into her own printer, laminator, and cutting tools. It’s a relatively small investment, and it can save you up some money in the long run. And depending on the products and materials you buy, it will likely be even cheaper than those you previously ordered.
Last, but definitely not the least, is enjoying the process. As someone who does all kinds of creative work, I can confirm that there’s a special kind of satisfaction when you make something with your own hands. Angelina admits that he was a bit afraid of it at first, but she is actually enjoying the process. She even grew to love her “Print Tuesdays” – every second Tuesday when she only prints photos. “There’s something about that repetitive process,” she tells me. “I realized it’s actually a form of meditation.” And when I asked her if there’s any part of the process that she doesn’t enjoy, she responded: “No!” with a huge smile on her face.
The bottom line
The environmental issues are something I think about a lot (I breathe Serbian air so no wonder). While I don’t think it’s individuals to blame for global warming and other environmental issues we’re facing, I still think that each of us can make a small contribution to making this world a better place. I hope that Angelina’s new business model has given you some ideas for becoming more local-oriented and more sustainable in your photography business. Take a look at some of her finished products below, and see more of Angelina’s work on her website, Instagram, and Facebook.
Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.