Whether you’re heading to a busy urban area, a well-manicured suburban park, or a rustic wilderness, there are several things you can do to make sure you’re SAFE during your next photography session. When you’re preparing for a photo-shoot, so many things are on your mind. Did you pack all of your equipment? Is your camera set like it needs to be? Do you have the right directions? Are you leaving in time to be a little early? Often, safety is the last thing on your mind as you scurry out the door.
In Advance of a Photography Session
Even though safety isn’t typically at the forefront of your mind when you’re on your way to a photography session, there are actually several proactive things that you CAN and SHOULD do well before photographing clients:
1. Purchase both equipment and liability insurance. This is a vital step to protect you and your business. It will also give you peace of mind. If anything goes wrong, you are covered. Of course, there’s always a deductible. But at least you are mostly covered.
2. Keep an updated list of all equipment, including serial numbers. You’ll probably need this for insurance purposes, anyway. You will be surprised at how much equipment you actually own! Keeping good records make it much easier to file claims if something bad should happen.
3. Shop around and find bags in various sizes that you can comfortably wear to various photography sessions. You only need to carry the equipment you actually plan to use. More on that later.
4. Consider using a hands-free belt (such as Spider Holster) for your camera. This allows you to carry even less in your bag on-site.
5. If you’re feeling uneasy about a particular location, ask a friend or family member in advance to accompany you and be a look-out for you and your clients.
When Packing for a Photography Session
As you are gathering your equipment for a photo session, use these tips as you prepare to walk out the door:
1. Pack ONLY the equipment you will actually need. Personally, I pack my camera and one or two lenses. When you bring everything, your risk is so much greater. I’d much rather lose a few items than my whole kit to a theft or an accident.
2. For a regular session, bring one extra memory card and one extra battery.
3. Pack everything you need during the session in the smallest bag you can get away with. The bag doesn’t have to hold your camera with your primary lens attached. You’re going to have it out the whole time, anyway. It needs to fit any extra lenses, your extra memory card, the extra battery, you keys, and your cell phone.
4. If possible, use a bag that you can wear! This way, you never set it down. No one can snag it while you’re busy with your clients. It’s one less thing to worry about. My favorite bag to use for this is the black sling bag by 31. It’s not actually meant to be a camera bag, so if I bring an extra lens I’ll put it in a special lens pouch. I love this bag because it is light-weight and literally slings over my shoulder. It’s got a couple of smaller pockets on the front. Seriously, it’s one of the best purchases I’ve ever made!
Is it sad that we have to think about these things? Absolutely - but we will do ourselves a disservice if we fail to take simple precautions that will keep us safer.
For example, a friend of mine had her Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens stolen directly from her bag while she was shooting at a local fountain here in Jacksonville, FL. In broad daylight! She had the lens in her bag, but she wasn’t watching it very carefully. It happened so fast, and there was nothing she could do about it after-the-fact.
Danger can be present in both crowded AND remote settings. We have to protect ourselves. Following the tips in this post will help you and your equipment stay as safe as possible during your photography sessions. In addition, these suggestions will allow you to keep more of your focus during a photo-shoot where it should be--on your clients!