How to keep your camera safe
Posted on 20th July 2021 by Caunce O'Hara
We often feel that our valuables are safest at home, tucked away behind locked doors and windows. But as a freelance photographer, this isn’t usually an option.
Your camera is an essential part of your job, something that you couldn’t be without, and so when you’re shooting on location or working abroad, you need to travel with your expensive equipment. This can be risky, as there’s a chance it could become damaged, lost or stolen. But to prevent any of these things from happening, there may be some measures you can take to keep all of your equipment safe when you’re working on site.
How to protect your camera
Below, we’ve provided our tips to keep your camera safe when you’re shooting on location.
Store it safely
When your camera isn’t in use, it’s really important that it’s stored in a safe place and protected from the elements. The best storage solution for this piece of equipment is a camera bag. Good quality bags shouldn’t fall over when you initially stand them on the ground, should have plenty of padding, will be waterproof and must have a place for all of your equipment, including things like tripods. It’s a good idea to check reviews before making a purchase to see what other professionals think of the product.
How do anti-theft backpacks work?
The problem with backpacks generally is that they can easily be zipped open and equipment taken out without your knowing. So if you want to keep your camera even safer, you could look into investing in an anti-theft backpack. While these aren’t completely theft proof, they do make it much harder to steal equipment.
They work using anti-slash and anti-knife materials that prevent thieves from simply cutting the bag off you. Zips can be locked to prevent people from easily opening the bag when they shouldn’t have access to it too, and some even have radio-frequency blockers to prevent contactless credit card payments from being made without your permission. They have tons of features that standard camera bags don’t and could make you feel safer when carrying your equipment around with you.
Get it insured
One of the best ways to protect your camera is to get it insured. As a freelance photographer, there’s all sorts of insurance you need, from public liability cover, which can protect you while you’re at an event or shoot location, to personal accident and sickness insurance that can safeguard your income should you get ill. But your camera can be covered too should anything happen to it.
Business equipment insurance is vital cover for photographers, and we offer it as part of our business combined insurance for freelance photographers. This includes several policies that are knitted together into one tidy bundle and can cover your photography studio for up to £10,000, including computer equipment and furniture, as well as portable devices such as your camera for up to £5,000. Should something unexpected happen to your equipment, you can rest easy in the knowledge that you’ll be able to buy yourself replacements quickly so you can get back to doing what you do best.
Keep an eye on it
When you’re in the zone and enjoying yourself on a shoot, it’s easy to lose track of where you are and forget that you’re in a public place. So while this advice may seem simple, it’s not always something that every photographer does. You should know where your camera bag is at all times and keep it in your sight. If you’re doing a shoot on site (for example, at a wedding or a local football tournament), don’t be tempted to leave your bag unattended or ‘hidden’ under a table. These things have definitely caught photographers out in the past, particularly when all your attention is on your work.
What to do if your camera is stolen
In the unfortunate event that your camera is stolen, what should you do?
The first thing you should do is report the theft. You can do this by contacting the local police to make them aware of what’s happened. They may not be able to do much to help you besides take your details, provide you with a crime reference number and give you a call if they get a lead or have found it.
Then, you should also contact your insurance provider if you have freelancers insurance. They may wish to begin the claims process immediately, and they can also provide more information, such as the amount of excess you have to pay and how long the process could take.
But besides these things, is there anything obvious that can be done to try and find your camera?
Well, you may want to think about when and where it was stolen from. Someone in the area might have seen something suspicious, so retrace your steps.
You could also use the stolen camera database.
Is there a stolen camera database?
There is a popular database known as Stolen Camera Finder that works in a clever way to track down lost or stolen cameras. The programme uses your camera’s serial number to find photographs that have been taken by the same device.
You can find your camera’s serial number by downloading a photo taken by the camera. When you download it to your computer, you’ll notice that the photograph has a filename made up of letters and numbers. This is generally the serial number. You can use this to see other photos taken by your camera to potentially work out where it is.
Alternatively, there is the option to report a found, lost or stolen camera. Should your camera be found and the claimant searches the database, you could appear as a match and be reunited with your equipment.
Does business insurance cover theft?
Whether business insurance covers your stolen camera could depend on how much cover you have and the type of incident that occurred – but generally speaking, portable equipment cover will cover theft of your camera, provided you have not been negligent. For instance, some providers may say that you’re not covered if a device was stolen from an unlocked vehicle.
You should consider other types of insurance as a professional photographer, including professional indemnity, public liability, employers liability insurance and more, so make sure you’re fully covered for every eventuality.
Find out more about our insurance for photographers or call us today on 0333 321 1403 for an instant quote.
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