I have been fortunate enough never to have anything stolen from me, despite the fact that I have attended some events in questionable venues. I watched a video of a photographer who had quite a bit of equipment with him have a lens stolen directly off of his camera while other people distracted him. It is very easy to have thousands of dollars worth of equipment within a single camera bag. Possibly even worse is to have memory cards stolen along with the camera and lenses. Here are some suggestions that may help.
(Image courtesy of Deamstine)
- Don't make yourself a target, especially in unfamiliar areas. Remain alert to things and people around you. There are many very capable compact cameras, even if you have to rent, so do you really to be carrying every lens and camera that you own? Sadly, the more expensive your camera gear looks at certain venues the more likely it is to attract unwanted attention.
- Keep you hand on you camera and lens especially when moving through crowded areas. This of course does two things. First, it keeps your expensive lens from swinging into a pole or some other object that could damage it. Second, a camera strap can be cut quickly and the thief can vanish into the crowd with much of a problem.
- Once you fill up a memory card, keep it on your person instead of putting into a bag. If the bag is stolen, there goes your work. If on a trip, back up your memory card once you return to your hotel or room.
- Make a note of the serial number of your lenses and camera(s) at home and possibly with you when visiting a place distant from your home or studio. You may have registered your camera and lenses when you purchased them.
- Photograph lenses, cameras, lightstands and any thing else that you may feel that is important. If it comes down to a police report, this info will be important in identifying the equipment that you own. Telling an officer that you have a [insert name brand] may not be helpful if 10 other photographers have the same brand. Put your card or name in a each bag that you may have. If the police or others recover a bag very quickly and open it up to find your business card, ownership is essentially proven.
- Make it known that you are looking for your equipment. This is especially important if you are at an indoor event. Announcing that you are looking for [....] may get many eyes looking around and could make a potential thief consider it may not be worth it to have your property in their possession. If you are carrying a bag or backpack, put something VERY distinctive on the bag to make it easy to identify.
- Photo equipment can be heavy, but be very careful sitting something down even for a minute to get that special shot. Things can vanish quickly. Small battery powered pressure or lanyard alarms are available that emit a shrill piercing sound if violated.
- Consider insuring your equipment. Agencies such as the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) have policies as part of their membership.
Hopefully you will never have anything stolen, but it is always a good idea to be prepared just in case.