Sustainable Pet Photography Tips


Scroll through the phone or camera of a dog owner and you will find an overwhelming amount of photos of their precious pooch. Probably doing nothing more than sleeping, looking cute and being totally oblivious to the fact they are the star attraction. But while pet owners love to capture their pet’s best moments through their cameras, should we spare a thought to how this can be impacting the environment?

Taking a picture of your pet at home might not be contributing much to climate change but what about when you go on walks through the forest or on holiday? We’re taking a closer look at the connection between photographing our pets and sustainability while offering tips to lower your footprint along the way.

Staying local

Taking your dog to the forest to run wild while you take pictures of them having the time of their lives is a hugely rewarding and fulfilling experience. The unbridled joy they express as they frolic through the undergrowth, bound through the mud and rub themselves on new scents is infectious. However, that can mean trekking for miles by car to naturally wild locations or national parks but, it’s important to consider whether this is necessary. 

Your favourite doggy Instagram profiles might be snapped from far-flung corners of the world but it’s possible to achieve similar results much closer to home. Local parks and forests are there to be explored, so enjoy them at your leisure rather than using fuel for the miles and adding to congestion and pollution figures. You might just find your new favourite place by further exploring your local surroundings!

Printing less

The share of images taken is expected to rise to 93% in favour of mobile phones by 2023, showcasing just how essential phones have become to our lives. For a long time, they have been much more than simply a device to make and receive calls or messages. One of the leading reasons for this was their ability to take pictures and videos.

This digital bank of images has naturally led to fewer people printing their pictures but those using cameras rather than phones are left with a choice, digital or film? 

Analogue photography is enjoying a resurgence and grabbing a vintage camera for your dog walk is a perfectly natural and acceptable thing to do. But when it comes to printing those photos, there are some ways that we can make smarter choices to help preserve the environment.

Vegan printing ink

If you wish to print your pet photos, perhaps to place them around your home, commemorate a lost pet or share them with loved ones, consider using a company that offers vegan printing.

Modern printing inks are commonly petroleum oil-based and may contain glycerin that derives from animal fat or colours from beetle shellac. Naturally, these impact our planet so vegan printing ink is a great alternative for pet photos that use vegetables and soy.

Recycled paper

The printed photographs many of us have grown to know and love over the past 100 years can be difficult to recycle due to the levels of plastic in the paper and film coating. As we know, plastic waste is a global problem that needs stamping out as quickly as possible.

Switching to eco-friendly paper for photograph printing, or paper that can be recycled helps avoid unnecessary ‘landfill fodder’. In this same regard, it’s important to be conscientious about the pet photographs we print, saving printing for only those pictures that truly add value to our lives.

Buying used equipment

Society as a whole has been largely reliant on throwaway products for many years but times and consensus are changing. More and more people are embracing a circular lifestyle, which puts a much greater emphasis on reusing, recycling, repurposing, reducing and rethinking how we consume products.

Those buying used camera equipment rather than new can save up to 70 per cent CO₂ emissions by buying second-hand kit. By reducing our emissions through used equipment, we can snap pictures of our pets in the knowledge that we are making a difference.

Similarly, investing in higher quality equipment that perhaps stretches your budget is commonly a more worthwhile purchase as it lasts longer, reducing the frequency with which you’ll need to replace it.

Leaving nature as you found it

You may have seen images of the waste left behind in major areas of natural beauty as crowds descend upon them from around the world. Or perhaps the giant queue for the perfect photo opportunity at the top of Mount Everest. Exploring new landscapes with our pets is a fun way to capture them but it’s important to reduce the impact we have when entering nature.

“But wouldn’t it be just perfect if the gnarly branch on that tree was in Buster’s mouth, or those flowers in Lola’s mouth?” 

Posing and manipulating nature for photos can cause damage to the ecosystem it exists in, and while it might be a great photo it can also cause more harm to an increasingly fragile environment.

Leave No Trace

Cleaning up our national parks of the waste brought in by visitors isn’t something that should be necessary but the Leave No Trace initiative is helping. Struck by images of animals being overwhelmed by human garbage in their natural habitats, Leave No Trace seeks to make a difference in the world by cleaning these places up.

The organisation encourages people to volunteer or pick up the mantle on their own patch by bringing litter home. On your next dog walk, you may also wish to venture into the woods or forest with an empty bag that you can fill with any trash or waste you come across.

Happy and safe snapping

It’s a great time to take your dog for a walk as the autumn leaves are falling, there is plenty for them to explore and the photo opportunities are endless. But no matter the time of year, it’s important to try and minimise your impact and protect natural landscapes while walking your dog as best as possible. Follow these tips to help lower your carbon footprint while capturing your dog’s best moments on camera forever.


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