Protect Your Equipment

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A little bit of paranoia is acceptable when it comes to your equipment.  Sure, photographers are known for taking risks.  But some photographers are probably more willing to break their arm than their $6000 400mm lens.  Okay, so I’m not going to discuss those extremes today, but protecting your equipment is very important.  Here are some of my tips that I have garnered from my own personal experiences:

  • Get a Good Bag – A good bag is worth its weight in gold.  Before you cringe at the price tag on some of the high end equipment bags out there, realize this:  That $250 bag is designed to save your equipment which is worth far more.  My meager setup is worth around $1500 right now (and that’s a cheap digital setup).  I would not flinch at buying a bag worth $150 and up.
  • Use Your Neck & Shoulder Strap – This one seems like a no-brainer, but I’m surprised how many people I see who don’t use their camera mounted straps.  It’s an extra level of protection in case your camera were to fall out of your hands.  Just be sure to get a strap strong enough to hold whatever lens you add to the camera.
  • Camouflage – It’s always a good idea to obscure some details about your equipment from would-be-thieves.  Many cameras come with neck straps that bear not only the brand name, but the model number in 2″ letters.  Additionally, I would recommend not using a camera bag that has a camera’s brand name stitched into it.  It’s widely known that Canon and Nikon aren’t known for making bags, so it doesn’t take a wizard to figure out whats inside the bag.  For that matter, I would recommend getting a bag that doesn’t look like a camera bag at all.  Some look like simple book bags or brief cases.
  • Get a Cheaper Side-Camera – Sometimes, you don’t need the full power of your DSLR setup.  If you’re at a family picnic or a party, there’s not reason to be walking around with your expensive setup.  Even cheap point-and-shoot cameras are pretty decent as far as photo quality these days.  Sure you’ll be limited in some aspects of your photos, but composition will always be limitless.
  • Pick Your Sessions – I have a large family with lots of children and they always provide great opportunities for photo sessions.  But this past weekend, we were at the beach.  With 10 children running around kicking up sand and dust (and not being very careful about it), my camera was at risk.  As much as I would’ve loved to get some new shots, it was not worth a scratched sensor or a junked up focus ring.  If you’re not getting paid and there are risks like this, leave the gear at home.
  • Don’t Trust the Elements – Going on a camping trip or an outdoor hike?  Even if your camera bag is allegedly water resistent, it doesn’t hurt to add some extra protection.  For that matter, don’t trust that the weather man’s predictions of sunny weather is spot-on.  Get a rain cover for your bag or camera.

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About Author

D. Travis North is a professional Landscape Architect, a Freelance Photographer and founder of Shutter Photo. Ever since he picked up his first SLR, his father's Nikon N2000, he's been hooked on photography. Travis likes to photograph urban environments, architectural details and has a new-found interest in close-up photography. His work can be found at D. Travis North Photography. Follow Travis on twitter: @dtnorth.

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