Vegan-Friendly Photography

What does photography have to do with being vegan? If you don't subscribe to a vegan lifestyle, you may not associate non-food items with veganism, but the dietary avoidance of animal products and byproducts is just one aspect of a vegan lifestyle, and while this diet is generally a uniting factor among those who consider themselves vegan, many vegans take additional steps to avoid using any products with any animal byproducts at all. And yes, elements of photography often involve animal byproducts, specifically gelatin. 

The Green Wedding Guild recently held a webinar led by Michelle Garayua of Michelle Ray Photography on the topic of vegan photography, and she graciously illuminated us on the subject. Members can find a playback of this webinar in their member portal, but we wanted to also share these tips form Michelle here! 

The most difficult part of finding vegan-friendly options is that there is a lack of awareness that needs to be addressed in the industry of photography. This includes printing images/albums and products. Many print products are created with the use of animal gelatin which is composed of animal products (I’ll spare the details of this process. But if you want to look it up, you can research gelatin here). The gelatin is used to hold silver halide crystals in an emulsion in photo prints.

So, the starting point for folks is to choose a photographer who uses digital cameras. This is so that the photographer can avoid gelatins involved with film. Thankfully, that is fairly easy these days. The difficulty then becomes, how to display or print the images if the use of gelatin is also involved with printing images for clients. Giving this much thought I have 4 great tips for image display options for vegan clients.

Tip #1: Viewing Party

Host a Viewing Party for your closest friends and family when your images are delivered from your photographer! Who wouldn’t want to share their special moments and re-live the day? Ask friends to bring their favorite vegan snack and vegan wine (and don’t forget the Kleenex). Cue up your wedding playlist and enjoy sharing your wedding with the people who mean the most to you! You can even go LIVE on FB and Instagram to include the folks who can’t be there in person!

Tip #2: Take advantage of your gallery

Make the most of the galleries! Did you know that most photographers deliver galleries which also have apps that you can download? Depending on what platform you are using, you can have all 1000 images at your fingertips at all times. S0, with a quick click, you can save/share/post your images to social media platforms. This makes sharing your images so easy!

Tip #3 USB’s, the perfect gift

It’s popular to create wedding albums. But a vegan-friendly alternative would be the use of USB’s. There are many lovely wedding USB gift boxes options these days! And guess what? USB’s make perfect gifts for your parents and extended family who want to remember your special day in a tangible way. To view a Pinterest board of USB’s and gift boxes click here.

Tip #4 Digital Photo Frames and Screen Savers

Ok, I don’t know about you, but if I had a wedding screen saver on my work devices, I might not reach maximum productivity (Hello there, Mr. Hubs!). But using your images as a screen saver or placing your wedding favorites on digital photo frames is another great option. A totally free option – which makes me happy!

More Vegan-Friendly Tips

As for other photography options – I can recommend a few more options. And as I find great resources, I will continue to add to this list. If you are open to printing your images on card-stock or mat paper, there may be online print companies that offer vegan options. I have reached out to my preferred print houses, and I will update this blog as I am able with videos and examples of vegan-friendly print-alternatives.

Choosing 100% recycled paper from MPIX’s DIY card-stock option is a wonderful print alternative. Zink is a new type of technology that is a vegan-friendly print option that looks promising and is gaining momentum. To find out more about zink, please stay tuned to my blog!

Instant Cameras for your guests? Guess what! There are Vegan- friendly Instant cameras on the market! Polaroid seems to have the corner on the market with three great options: The Polaroid Snap, Polaroid Snap Touch, and the Polaroid Z2300. Who doesn’t love the instant gratification f a Polaroid camera?

To see this blog post in it's original form, check it out on Michelle Ray Photography's website. 

Michelle's passion for green living began after losing a beloved pet to cancer as a result of toxic chemical exposure in their home & yard. Michelle is also a  #specialneedsmomma, #lymewarrior, and advocate for environmental stewardship. These roads led her to working within a "eco-ethical/green" framework for the weddings she shoots. Michelle is also working on a book, podcast/"VLOG" to empower couples in their own pursuit of (or the consideration of) planning a "green wedding."

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