• Emily Bean

Leave No Trace

There is no better place to take photos than in the outdoors. Ha maybe that's just my personal opinion. But while I love the occasional shoot in an urban place or inside a neat area, there really is nothing better than taking photos outside. I personally believe you just can't beat being on a mountain or running through fields or exploring the beach as an epic backdrop for your photos. I grew up in the outdoors - from hiking, camping, swimming in lakes and the ocean, kayaking, etc etc. - so taking care of nature is second nature to me at this point. LNT is important so that both myself and others can continue to enjoy it for years to come. I want to continue being able to explore the wilderness, National and State parks, and other outdoor areas with my family and friends for the rest of my life.

I recently took the Leave No Trace course for photographers, which means I'll now be enforcing LNT into my business! There is no Planet B. If you know me, you know I'm passionate about taking care of our planet and exploring nature, so it really just made sense for me to make it official with the LNT course.

So... What is Leave No Trace?

Leave No Trace (LNT) is a set of ethics we should follow to both enjoy and protect the outdoors at the same time.

There's 7 principles to help guide you while you're outside. An important thing about LNT is that it's okay if you're not perfect every time you're outdoors!! As long as you try your best and are constantly learning and improving, then you're following LNT.

These 7 principles of LNT are:

1. Plan ahead and prepare

2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces

3. Dispose of waste properly

4. Leave what you find

5. Minimize campfire impacts

6. Respect wildfire

7. Be considerate of other visitors

Why Should I Care About LNT on my wedding day?

I'm going to take a wild guess that if you're planning on getting married outdoors, it's ultimately because you're drawn to the beauty of the outdoors.

Well, the way to keep nature beautiful, and to continue to enjoy these same beautiful spots for years to come, is to make sure that we enjoy them sustainable and responsibly.

Weddings, elopements, and photo sessions can have an impact on the environment -- and without LNT, some serious consequences could happen:

  • Locations that are currently available for weddings and elopements could become off-limits —meaning it could be impossible to come back to a location for a vow-renewal or anniversary session in the future.

  • The spot that you said your vows could get so badly damaged, destroyed, or trashed that it needs to be closed for restoration, and won’t look the same at all when you want to come back in the future (i.e. fences put in place, etc.)

  • The costs of special event permits could increase, causing it to become very difficult to have any kind of events on public lands for future couples

I do believe you can still have the BEST day celebrating your marriage, while also protecting nature for future visitors (including you!) to also enjoy for years to come. And don't let it overwhelm you - I am here to help you and guide you into making the right decision once you book me. You can inquire to book me here ;)

If I'm a photographer, why should I care about Leave No Trace?

Even if you're not an avid outdoors person or you don't offer adventure sessions, I'm going to take a wild guess that you DO take photos outdoors. Whether that's at local State Parks, a National Park, a random park near your house -- you're probably outside somewhere taking photos of your clients for engagement sessions, family portraits, senior photos, wedding or elopement portraits, or whoever else!

If LNT principles are not followed, some serious consequences could also arise such as:

  • Your favorite areas could become closed or off-limits to photographers due to damage done during shoots (i.e. going off trail, littering, tossing confetti, etc.)

  • Permits could become more expensive and harder to apply for and get approved -- whether this is at a local spot near your home or at a dream location of yours to shoot at

If you're a photographer, I really encourage you to check out the Leave No Trace course for your own biz here. As it says on their website, "The Earth doesn't need a few photographers practicing Leave No Trace perfectly. It needs thousands of photographers practicing it imperfectly, and doing their best".

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