How To: Photoshoot Sustainably
Posted on August 25 2020
How To: Photoshoot Sustainably
Hello, Kelly here! I’m the 4 foot 11 little person behind our marketing campaigns, socials and the camera!
Since joining this lovely team of Glitter Warriors at EcoStardust as their Digital Marketing & Festivals Coordinator, I set myself what seemed like an impossible challenge: to perform my photoshoots as sustainably as possible.
Coming from the marketing world, the industry promotes ever-changing trends which usually means new props and equipment for every new campaign ‘theme’ there is. So I set myself a challenge to be as minimal as possible with my shoots, props and equipment so I could shoot consciously and sustainably!
- Look for preloved or currently-loved clothes for lifestyle shoots
When we launched our new Opal and Opal Shine collections, my first choice was to ask our model if she had any clothes that matched the theme. I’d also ask the team to look into their own wardrobes for something suitable so we had loads of options available.
Failing that, if we had a particularly unique theme, we’d turn to trusty ol' Depop for something sparkly and second-hand. We’d also try to ensure that all of the clothes we do end up buying could also be doubled up as a backdrop for a product shoot too so it becomes multipurpose. Here’s an iridescent jacket we bought from Depop for the shoot which we also used for a backdrop in a product launch shoot for the same campaign. It’s also amazing and we’d be wearing it to every festival no doubt!
Alternatively, we love to collab with other brands and use samples in exchange for awesome sparkly photos! Here’s a shot of when we collaborated with Lady Jayne on her sparkly jumpsuit for our Party Season shoot.
- Ask around before buying props
When we launched our Opal and Opal Shine ranges, I was keen to match the props with our iridescent, pastel, bubblegum-y theme! My first instinct was to buy the perfect props to fit the theme but my eco angel-on-the-shoulder said there was a better way. And she was right! You never know who has what lying around and it may surprise you and bring up a great story!
You may also notice that the disco ball we used in our Party Season shoot is the same disco ball we used at Spring Fair!
- For product shoots - use a reusable and recyclable option
As glitter is easy to clean up, we opted for coloured paper or fabric backgrounds as backdrops. These were also the same sequin backdrops we’d use at festivals and events such as our Sparkly Chalet at the Bristol German Christmas Markets and festivals (reuse everything is my motto!) If you work with a subject that is particularly messy, you can also buy wipeable backdrops, they may be made from PVC which is not ideal but it means less wastage from constantly throwing away coloured paper. Instead, you can use these over and over for years to come. An example of this is from Shot By Lucy.
- If you can, collect up your mess!
You may have noticed we do a lot of ‘spill shots’ in our product photography. Rest assured this never goes to waste! We have a studio-only bag (separated from our warehouse) of mixed up glitter which I collect up after taking the spills and reuse for other future glitter-blowing lifestyle shots like the one below taken by When Charlie Met Hannah!
So, my key rules of thumb for when faced with sourcing props, outfits and equipment for a lifestyle or product shoot are: firstly, can it be borrowed? Secondly, can it be bought second-hand? And as a final resort, if you have to purchase something, will it be used for something else as well as for this specific theme?
Hopefully this guide helps you to be more mindful of waste from photoshoots and gives you ideas for more sustainable options in future shoots!