Having your photo kit stolen is the stuff of nightmares. If you’re anything like me, you’ll love your camera like a child, and would have to endure a roller coaster ride of disbelief, denial, bargaining, guilt, anger and depression before you could accept it was really gone. So it’s well worth doing everything possible to protect, what is for most of us, a considerable financial investment that would be very difficult to replace.
Unfortunately, many photographers lose kit because of a simple lack of common sense. For example, they might leave their kit bag open on the floor of a busy street while taking a shot in the opposite direction. Or they might leave it unattended in a bag on the beach while they have a quick dip. So it’s worth training yourself to think defensively when you’re out shooting. Can anyone get into my bag without me noticing? Am I in a dodgy area where I could be mugged? Is this hotel room really secure? But there are some other steps you can take to give your camera and lenses a little added protection. Let’s take a look at four of them in more detail…
If your camera kit rarely leaves your home, you may not feel you can justify paying out for insurance. But if you use your camera regularly, or if you’re taking it on holiday, insurance is highly recommended. Check to see if you can get it covered on your house insurance before taking out a separate policy, and read the small print to ensure both theft and loss are included in the policy.
Keep a low profile
If you’re concerned about security, why not use a bag that doesn’t look like a traditional camera bag, helping you stay as inconspicuous as possible. This might be a dedicated camera bag with padded compartments, or it might be a sports bag or handbag that you’ve adapted. You should also get into the habit of returning your camera to your bag between locations, rather than hanging it around your neck. This way you won’t be openly advertising your expensive kit.
Invest in anti-theft gear
There are several bags on the market with various security features built-in, usually including an anti-slash fabric and lockable zips. Some also have wire running through the straps so they can’t be cut. If you have a regular bag, you can buy a flexible wire cage to padlock around it, although these can inform thieves that there are valuables inside. Pacsafe is the best-known of these anti-theft product manufacturers.
Shoot in groups
If you’re going to be working in a location where you don’t quite feel safe on your own, try to go out with a group of other photographers. Safety in numbers is especially important if you’re shooting late at night or in areas where crime is known to be a problem. You should exercise added caution in urban areas or in particularly secluded locations.