This chapter is to help address the paranoia that every new photographer experiences when they spend a ton of money on their first high end camera and lens. I will discuss the many ways you can protect not only your investment but your work as well.
When I planned out this book with all of its chapters, I initially thought this chapter would be an easy chapter to write. However, when I took my notepad out and started writing down all the ways you can protect your camera equipment, I realized that this chapter was going to take some work. Even though this topic being addressed at the end of the book, it doesn’t mean that this topic is not important. On the contrary, it is probably the most important one in the book.
If you are going to spend your whole career shooting in a studio you can skip the second half of this chapter. Though you should really read the first part, because it affects all photographers. If you however are going to spend most of your time outdoors or on location then you may want to take notes, because this entire chapter pertains to you and could save you a lot of heartache and money.
Unless you have bottomless pockets, you might want to purchase special photography insurance, especially if you have spent a lot of money on your gear. Over the years I have spent a ton of money on my photographic gear. As a matter of fact with the money I spent, I could have paid off my first house. So you can bet I have taken extra steps to protect my investment.
In my initial chapter outline for this topic, photo piracy was not even listed. The idea of including it in this chapter only happened by accident when I started doing research.
While not every person who takes a photo will become a professional photographer or at the very least an advanced amateur, nobody wants their photos used without their permission. They also don’t want anyone to profit from their hardwork without due compensation or credit being given. While I am including the work of many photographers in this book, I am not making any money on the sale of it. I am writing it mainly because I enjoy it and I want to help others learn from my experience. Because this book will be in color, the price will be quite hefty. Therefore I will to keep the price down, just charge the bare minimum mandated by Amazon’s KDP branch. The author of every internet article that I use in this book has been given just credit.
Since I am not making any money, and I am only helping to expand the work of these authors to a greater audience, I feel that I have covered myself.
Photographers have several options to protect their property from piracy, the most effective is with watermarks, the second and I feel the least effective option is through copyright protection. While it is true that your photography is legally protected, you still have to bring the pirate to Civil court, which will cost you money. So unless you have a lawyer on retainer, stick with the watermarks. While thanks to photoshop even this method is not full proof, the pirate really must want your photo to put themselves through all the work to erase them. Let’s face it, you have to be flattered that they are going to those extremes to steal your work.
In the effort not to leave any stone unturned, I have included the following article to ensure that I have done my part in protecting your work from theft.
The Ultimate Image Protection Guide: Tips To Prevent Image Theft
For photographers and image creators, online image theft and unauthorized use of copyrighted work is a constantly present, real risk. In a 2016 Pixsy survey, 64 percent of photographers said that their work had been used without permission. Some platforms, including WordPress, Facebook, or Instagram, are places where stolen images surface particularly often due to their visual nature and higher user base.
Though it remains practically impossible to completely prevent image theft, there are a number of ways to minimize risk. This image protection guide explains the most important terms you need to know, plus 13 tips that you can implement to retain full control of your visual work — and to get fairly paid later in some circumstances.
Image protection 101: 6+1 essential terms
Before covering the practical tips that will help you protect your photos and pictures online, let’s review some basic terms around image protection.
- Image theft: Image theft happens when someone uses an image without permission or a valid license from the image owner and thus the copyright holder. For example, a WordPress travel blogger may use an image of the Golden Gate Bridge that they found in Google search, but without having secured a license or permission from the rights holder.
- Unauthorized use (of an image): An unauthorized use of an image is when someone uses an image without the image owner’s permission, or outside the terms of a license. For example, the image owner only authorized print usage but not digital, thus publishing the picture online is a violation of copyright terms. Likewise, the image owner may grant non-commercial usage, thus using the image in any commercial way would be an unauthorized use or contract breach.
- Image protection: Image protection means protecting an image from download, misuse, image theft and unauthorized use. It especially applies to a digital context, as it can be easier to find tools online to protect and monitor possibly stolen images. An example can be an image monitoring and protection service platform such as Pixsy.
- Copyright: Copyright is a “bundle of rights”, which include, as explained by The Copyright Society of the USA, the right to “(1) distribute the work, (2) reproduce (or make copies of) the work, (3) display the work (for example, a painting that you want to allow a museum to publicly display), (4) perform the work, and (5) create Derivative Works based upon the original work”.
- Copyright notice: A copyright notice is placed on or displayed in the context of the work and gives information about copyright ownership.
- Copyright infringement: According to the U.S. Copyright Office, “copyright infringement occurs when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner”.
7. Image rights: Image rights are a set of rights of a photographed individual. Although the photographer holds copyright to their work from the moment of its creation, they might not hold all the rights to its publication or distribution — they may have to ask for permission, for example, from the subject of the photograph, depending on the country they operate in and the intended use of the image. For both beginner and professional photographers, it’s best to learn the basics of image rights.
Image rights especially highlight that image protection may be more complex than what it seems to be at first glance. However, there are ways for image owners to do their own part that don’t necessarily have to be complicated either.
Tips for image protection
Here’s our collection of tips and best practices to help you prevent your images from being copied or stolen online.
1. Register the copyright to your work
When you create an original work (in the use case of photographs, when you click the shutter button), you are automatically granted copyright of that work, which means you can decide how it is used and distributed. (Note: A number of exceptions apply to this rule, such as if you created the work as an employee).
However, registering your work with an official copyright office brings many additional protections. In some jurisdictions, registering an image entitles you to claim damages for unauthorized use of your work, can boost your chances of getting legal expenses covered, and provides an independent database where your ownership can be verified.
Copyright registration processes and costs vary from country to country. We strongly recommend registering your work with the US Copyright Office (USCO), even if you don’t live or work in the US, as a vast majority of online use comes from the US. (Note: a recent ruling determined that you can’t bring a case to a US court without a valid USCO registration.)
As the owner of an image, registering your work is time and money well spent: in the event of legal proceedings, registration makes ownership rights clearer, speeds up the resolution process, and can result in a larger settlement including damages.
2. Use a copyright notice
Attaching a copyright notice, such as ‘© All Rights Reserved,’ has not been a legal requirement in the US since 1989. It does, however, clearly identify you as the copyright holder, thereby decreasing the likelihood your work will be used without authorization and bolstering legal evidence in the case that your work is misused.
A copyright notice should include:
-The copyright symbol (©) or the word “copyright”
-A statement of rights (e.g. “All Rights Reserved”)
-The creator/author’s name
-(optional) The date or date range (of creation) marking the year(s)
-(optional) Contact information (where interested parties can get in touch to request permission to use your work – often your website address)
You may also choose to license your online image under a Creative Commons (CC) license with specific terms — our article on Creative Commons licensing will help you decide which one is best for you. If you do go down this path, make sure to signal the appropriate CC license in your statement of rights. (Note: once you choose to publish under CC, it’s very difficult to undo.)
It’s also worth noting that a CC0 (Creative Commons Zero) license will deprive you of your copyright, turning your photos into public domain images.
3. Watermark your work
A watermark is a strong way of protecting your work from unauthorized use. Watermarks also identify you as the copyright holder of the work — a bonus in an age when social media and viral content sharing are commonplace.
Note: Watermarks aren’t watertight!
Unfortunately, most watermarks can be removed. Research released by Google shows that even seemingly complex watermarks can be taken out quite easily using basic photo editing software.
The study concluded that randomized digital watermarking provides the best protection for images. This method involves constantly changing the design or shape of digital watermarks, and there are many online tools available that do it.
While watermarks are not perfect anti-theft solutions, potential image users are more likely to take an image without a watermark, so it’s a valid feature to consider adding. If an image user does remove your watermark, this removal is a modification of your Copyright Management Information (CMI) and can entitle you to damages.
4. Use a digital signature
A digital signature can be created with image editing software, and is intended to be a deterrent that, unlike watermarks, doesn’t affect the visual impact of the work. Basically, it’s an image attribute that’s not visible until the file is downloaded, meaning that anyone determined to use such an image would either have to make the conscious decision to ignore the digital signature — or crop it out.
5. Include hidden foreground layers
Protecting an image with a hidden layer means adding a transparent foreground layer to it. When somebody then downloads the image online, the download only shows the blank layer in front of the image — not the actual image itself. Hidden foreground layers can easily be added in Photoshop and other similar photo editing software, and is a good solution for example, for images displayed on your website.
6. Use low-resolution images
Uploading your images in low-resolution to any online platform ensures that if they get downloaded, the quality will likely be too poor (i.e., pixelated) for the downloader to use. It might even stop them from downloading it in the first place.
A low-resolution image may still look appropriate online (when used as a thumbnail) and it’s also a UX-friendly choice that helps sites load much faster than if you were to use full-resolution images. You can also hide the full-res version of an image behind a licensing portal, or make it available only for paying clients.
7. Block screenshots
If the right-click is the go-to move of the digital user today, knowing how to take a screenshot must be in our DNA by now. Unfortunately, for photographers and other image owners, screenshots endanger their images and support image theft.
Luckily, plug-ins exist now that can prevent this activity on websites, with many of them also available for popular publishing platforms including WordPress. However, it’s worth noting that such plugins are script-based as well and therefore can also be disabled.
8. Disable right-click
Today’s educated internet user has a go-to move when it comes to downloading images from the web: the right-click. A simple right-click, “Save picture as” and a photo is downloaded to a local device in seconds.
Note: disabling right-click will block all right-click options for the user (e.g., viewing the site source or opening a Google search for the image in Chrome) so you may want to consider if you would like to restrict your site visitors this way. On the other hand, it may help in preventing your images from being copied — however, this cannot be bulletproof either: a screenshot is an easy way to get around the right-click block, but we have a tip for that too.
9. Check where you upload photos
When you upload images to any third-party site, your pictures will no longer be so protected — as is the case any time you share your work with the public. However, don’t just throw your hands up, be informed. Understand that the more places you upload your images, the more places there are for search engines to index, and users to download — and the more there will be for you to clean up someday.
It’s advisable to check the sites’ terms and conditions related to how they handle images, how they will protect them, and if they have any policies about image crediting.
Stock photography sites and social media platforms all have different terms and conditions regarding this topic.
Social media sites may even use your images for their own economic purposes, e.g., including them in their own company advertisements. But always remember: social media copyright is image copyright — the basics stay the same, meaning that you stay the copyright holder of your own image, even if shared on a social platform.
Some stock photo sites will not provide sales or download history so it becomes nearly impossible to track what might be an infringement or not. These sites are also well indexed by search engines, potentially spreading your images to every corner of the internet — often without information on valid use.
Therefore, it’s best to review all relevant sites from this perspective individually before you post or upload anything — this way you’ll know what you’re walking into.
10. Use an image monitoring & protection service
Using an active image protection service, such as the one offered by Pixsy, means all your relevant work is monitored for duplicate uses. If a match is discovered, you can review it to see if it’s an infringement of your rights, or an approved use. Getting compensated for commercial infringements can be as easy as submitting a case to Pixsy’s copyright experts.
You can also choose to contact the copyright infringer on your own, but more often than not, if the infringer is approached by a company specializing in image protection, with specific evidence, and following the correct legal process, there is an even greater chance of success.
Monitoring all your images with a service like Pixsy means long-term protection. Unlike other solutions mentioned, it can be a true savior of your resources as you outsource image protection tasks to a competent third party.
Image protection is a complex activity, and different photographers and image owners find different tactics valuable. First and foremost, it’s important to know your options, then choose the one(s) that seem the most suitable for your needs.
10 Worry-Free Anti-Theft Camera Bags to Keep Your Gear Safe
Travel photographers already know the value of protecting their gear with one of the best anti-theft camera bags they can find. And even if you’re not a travel photographer, keeping your equipment safe around town and on short outings is completely worth upgrading your backpack to the best.
The good news is we’ve found the 10 best anti-theft backpacks and… there are some budget-friendly options too!
Two Big Problems the Best Anti-Theft Camera Bags Solve
In a perfect world, a photographer would always be able to keep their camera on hand wherever they go. However, two factors all too often convince photographers to leave their gear behind.
- The inconvenience that comes with having to carry around bodies, lenses, and accessories
- The threat of losing valuable camera gear to prying hands.
1. Neewer Pro Camera Case
A well known brand for gear
A brand that has quite the reputation of offering premium features at a not-premium price!
Combination lock present on the bag (TSA approved)
Zip tie secures for all of the zippers
Hidden security whistle built-in
Great price for the features, but still expensive
It’s no secret that Neewer puts out some of the best gear money can buy. So, it comes as no surprise it was one of the first places we visited on the search for great anti-theft camera bags. The Neewer Pro Camera Case did not disappoint, living up to our high expectations of the brand.
In regards to the safety features, most visibly, the main compartment of the bag is equipped with an intimidating combination lock. Because it’s TSA accessible it also helps prevent issues at the airport. Additional features like zip tie points add another layer of protection. That being said, there are a few hidden surprises with this bag. We’re fans of the hidden security whistle built into the button connector. Neewer’s security practices are fairly straightforward but extremely effective.
Other perks of this bag include the ergonomic design (including lens-friendly strap pouches) which makes for easy access to all of your things. Neewer uses breathable materials and strong stitching to make your bag stand up to wear and tear. Alongside this, Neewer utilizes multiple layers of durable materials for this bag. A durable plastic frame holds together the internal nylon which is padded with a layer of shock-proof sponge. An exterior water-resistant nylon fabric holds it all together. Like other options, the inside is adjustable and removable. With a little careful planning, the Neewer Pro Camera Case holds multiple camera bodies and up to 6 lenses.
2. BAGSMART Sling Bag
Safety doesn’t have to be expensive
The best budget option on the list, this bag will keep your gear safe for under $30.
Sling shape helps you carry the bag on the front of your person
Anti-theft zippers featured throughout
Small, only fits one camera and a couple of lenses
BAGSMART is a brand with a slew of different camera-carrying accessories to pick from! From backpacks to slings, they’ve got it all (with great design to boot). The BAGSMART Sling Bag is an especially effective anti-theft bag and is just the right size for a day outing with your camera.
Although it isn’t big enough to hold a full arsenal of equipment, it is just the right size for one camera, two to three lenses, and some accessories (such as batteries and extra memory cards).
The sling bag’s unique shape makes it comfortable to hold in any fashion. For extra safety, you can even strap it to the front of your body, deterring thieves from trying to pickpocket. Additionally, the BAGSMART Sling Bag features anti-theft zippers, with each zipper tucking away into a little elastic band strap. The inside is made up of a suede material that won’t scratch, and all of your pockets are interiors (so there is nothing to steal from the front).
Other benefits of this bag include the ability to remove the camera insert and turn the bag into a regular ol’ outing bag, water-resistant fabric, and padded shoulder straps that are fully adjustable for your comfort.
This really is the perfect little bag that promises to keep your gear safe from prying hands.
3. Peak Design Everyday Backpack
A sleek camera bag that has multiple uses
This option from popular camera accessory brand Peak Design offers a unique and creative camera carrying solution for every photographer.
Very good looking bag
Theft-deterrent zipper straps
Very tough build quality
Not a camera bag, must purchase accessory to convert
The Peak Design Everyday Backpack has been included in our list because this is a really sleek backpack that can be designed to fit your every need. It features many key anti-theft mechanisms, too!
Alongside being very stylish, anti-theft protection was very clearly thought out in the Peak Design Everyday Backpack. The inside features RFID pocket protection, which is great for when you’re on the go and you want to store your passport or credit cards. Theft-deterrent zipper straps are easy to tighten up after you’ve packed everything in, making it a struggle to pick-pocket. And the metal clasp is both durable and designed to outsmart your average pickpocketer. Rather than just pulling the clasp out, it requires a very specific maneuver to open the bag.
Outside of all of this, the fabric is great quality so you know it won’t rip on you during use. There are plenty of straps and pockets so you can carry everything you need, and a hidden laptop sleeve compartment is an added bonus!
4. Pacsafe Camsafe X17
An overall improvement on the Z16
If you’re willing to dish out a few extra bucks, the X17 is a full around improvement on the Z16 mentioned above.
All of the same features as the Z16 but even more improved
The entire backpack is made of RFID blocking fabric and material
Addition of a pop and lock security clip
Although we did have a different Pacsafe Camsafe bag on our list, if you’re willing to dish out some extra money, you can upgrade to the Pacsafe Camsafe X17 which has even more anti-theft features.
The Pacsafe Camsafe X17 packs a lot of great features into its very discrete-looking design. Thieves will think twice before wanting to mess with you! The entire backpack is made of RFID blocking material, so you’re able to put all of your belongings wherever you need them for your own convenience.
The bag has a pop-n-lock security clip that helps prevent bag snatchers from ripping the backpack off of your person. The straps and fabric themselves are all anti-slash, so you don’t need to worry about someone taking a pair of scissors and trying to cut the bag off of you when you’re not looking. The zippers themselves are all lockable and Roobar Sport locking system helps lock the straps up nice and tight.
You can be confident that all of your gear will be safe in this bag!
5. K&F Concept Multi-Functional Camera Backpack
K&F Concept Multi-Functional Camera Backpack
Sleek camera backpack with lots of storage
If storage is the name of the game, this backpack has a lot of potential.
Camera section is fully removable into its own little bag
Back or side access to the camera only
Easily use main compartment to store other belongings
Can only hold one camera and one lens, generally speaking
Talk about a great-looking camera bag that’s also lightweight (weighing in at under 2 lbs)! The K&F Concept Multi-Functional Camera Backpack is quite nifty in several unique ways.
The first is that the camera insert is actually fully removable and turns into its own bag with handles, allowing this bag to either be converted into an everyday bag or turn any of your other bags into a camera bag! There is a hidden compartment for laptop or tablet that is 13″ or less. This sleeve is also quite difficult to reach from the outside, deterring those that may try to slip in and nab whatever you prefer to work with.
The camera compartment is accessed from either the small side pocket or through a hidden compartment in the back of the backpack, so you’ll know well in advance if somebody was trying to grab something! The back pocket also makes reaching your gear much easier.
You cannot really access the camera from the main pocket or top of the bag, making this bag perfect for washing away your worries of theft. The main compartment can easily be used to store any of your travel needs, such as extra clothes or shoes. Which also doubles as a disguise feature for those who really want to go the extra mile in keeping their gear safe.
6. Newt Fully Waterproof Padded Camera Shoulder Bag
Newt Fully Waterproof Padded Camera Shoulder Bag
The lunchbox camera bag
If you want a camera bag that doesn’t look like a camera bag, this lunchbox style shoulder bag is for you!
Looks like a lunch box, no one would suspect this is a camera bag
Completely waterproof, zippers have anti liquid seal
Relies on unique appearance as anti-theft, but has no other anti-theft properties
Probably the most unique looking bag on our list, the Newt Fully Waterproof Padded Camera Shoulder Bag looks like a lunchbox! Some of the best anti-theft bags are those that don’t advertise that you’re carrying thousands of dollars worth of equipment, and this one does just that with its square design. Some might find it quite aesthetically pleasing as well, but generally, it’s a lunchbox for your photo-taking stuff.
Although it doesn’t feature many of the key anti-theft characteristics that our other bags on the list have, its unique look is a deterrent in and of itself. What makes this bag really awesome is the fact that it is totally waterproof, with a leak-prevention zipper! It closes up so tightly that water isn’t able to reach your camera gear, which can equally state that the zipper is sturdy so that it takes a bit of effort for someone to try and pry it open.
The strap itself is removable, so you can even carry this bag like a lunchbox if you so desire!
7. Pelican Air 1615 Case
Pelican Air 1615 Case with Foam
Leading line of indestructable hardcases
Pelican is industry-standard for gear protection, and the Air line helps you travel with your equipment.
Indestructable, shockproof, waterproof, and crush-proof hard case
Full customizable foam insert
Not traditionally seen as a camera bag like the rest on our list, but it’s worth including a carry case. Pelican has a very long-standing relationship with photographers, with its insanely large array of hard cases to protect gear! Used by everyone from military personnel to photographers and drone operators, Pelican cases are the industry standard for gear protection. But did you know that Pelican cases do have anti-theft properties to them?
For traveling, the Pelican Air 1615 Case is the Pelican line you should be looking at. Designed for air or car travel, the Pelican Air 1615 Case is made with a crush-proof exterior that’s fully waterproof and shock absorbent should it be tossed around all over the place. Sized as a checked bag, you can be certain that your gear will come back in top-notch condition with its highly packed (and customizable, tear out the size you need) foam insert.
What makes this case anti-theft is the ability to lock the container itself. There is a lock built-in, or you can add one yourself. The latches are press-and-pull latches, requiring a good amount of effort to open – and thieves don’t tend to want to mess with latches that are difficult. You can rest confidently with the Pelican Air 1615 Case.
8. Zecti Camera Backpack
An inconspicuous option
This bag doesn’t rely on the traditional anti-theft traits, but still has anti-theft properties to boot!
Currently unavailable on Amazon, last checked on 10 July 2022.
Access your gear from the back instead of the front
Flaps hide the access zippers
Great 18 month warranty
No locks anywhere on the bag
Moderately higher price
The Zecti Camera Backpack may appear inconspicuous, but it is in fact full of secrets! Upon first glance, there doesn’t appear to be much substance. There’s a distinct lack of locks or buckles that some other bags rely on. However, there’s a bit more to this product than initially meets the eye.
A few clever tricks incorporated into the design keep thieves at bay… Rather than relying on auxiliary locks or clunky security mechanisms, the bag’s design deters unwanted access.
Notably, the bag utilizes a back opening structure making it difficult for prying hands to grab into. And when the back strap is applied, there’s little space between the bag and body for someone to sneak in. What’s more, flaps hide access zippers, making vulnerable spots difficult to locate. Your purchase is also paired with an 18-month warranty that’s backed up by 24-hour customer service.
Other perks of the Zecti Camera Backpack include modular dividers that can be switched around at your leisure. Alternatively, if you need to use the bag for something other than a photographic endeavor, they can be removed entirely. The Zecti bag is great for those seeking an option that doubles as an everyday backpack.
The bag is made with a sturdy, waterproof canvas. A breathable back panel also improves ventilation. There is also an included rain cover to protect against additional elements like rain and sand. For the discreet, style-oriented photographer, the Zecti backpack is a great choice. It sports a small build and a more casual appearance than a standard camera bag.
9. Pacsafe Camsafe Z16
Keeping your gear safe is their #1 goal
This brand focuses heavily on safety of your gear, making this a fantastic choice.
Currently unavailable on Amazon, last checked on 10 July 2022.
Steel-wire mesh inside the fabric for anti-slashing
Zipper clip hooks and an anchor to keep zippers secure
RFID pocket inside
Turn and lock security hook
Up there in cost
This camera brand is built heavily on security and reliability, not inluding the Pacsafe Camsafe Z16 would be a disservice! This anti-theft camera bag is filled with surprises that keep all of your valuables safe.
Pacsafe goes above and beyond to ensure your gear is secure. For starters, steel-wire mesh inside the fabric prevents thieves from slashing the bag open. The strap also has a slash guard!
Exterior zippers secure to discreet zip clip hooks, stopping pickpockets in their tracks. A Roobar anchor also keeps zips secured at one anchor point. Finally, a turn and lock security hook buckles everything down. On the inside, an RFID-safe pocket keeps credit cards, passports, and other valuables safe.
If this list isn’t enough to convince you that this is a secure backpack, we don’t know what could possibly be enough!
On top of all those anti-theft features, there are other big bonuses that this bag packs. It’s a small but mighty option with a measly weight of 3 lbs but it offers you 25 liters of storage space!
A sternum strap and hip belt evenly distribute weight and these can be adjusted to your liking, ensuring long-lasting comfort over long days. The Pacsafe bag features modular padded dividers to organize your gear. Equipped with velcro, you can personalize the insides to fit all of your lenses and accessories with ease.
10. AERFEIS Backpack
Making traveling smarter, not harder
For the frequent flyers reading this list, this backpack is designed to make your travels easy peasy.
Currently unavailable on Amazon, last checked on 10 July 2022.
Hidden pocket slip on the shoulder strap
Removable reinforcement belts everywhere
Very affordable price
Fully modular space system
Very limited amount of pockets
Front zip pocket is shallow
Travel smarter not harder! The AERFEIS Backpack tries to make your travel both hassle- and worry-free with its comfortable design. Stylish and sleek on the outside, the AERFEIS Backpack has some nice travel-oriented features in it to keep you going.
To start, there is a conveniently hidden pocket slip on the shoulder strap closest to your face, where you can slip in travel cards, passports, a wallet, or anything else you may need easy access to! This hidden compartment being so close to you makes it virtually unattainable to prying hands. The various removable reinforcement belts keep everything on your person tight and secure, and also helps with weight distribution! The zippers are built sturdy and won’t rust or break on you. The inside is lined with velvet, with the camera and lens dividers made of shock-absorbing material.
Additionally, the inside is completely modular and adjustable depending on how much gear you are bringing and what kind of gear you need to pack away, with plenty of pockets for the safekeeping of all of your smaller items!
What Anti-Theft Bag Is Right for You?
Keeping your gear safe is of the utmost importance, and the various bags on our list all aim to do just that! If you’re looking for an affordable anti-theft backpack, BAGSMART’s Sling Bag is highly effective without breaking the bank.
For those who want a stylish backpack that is functional in all areas, the Peak Design Everyday Backpack is bound to be a hit. You can even explore the rest of Peak Design’s products for ultimate compatibility.
Finally, the Pacsafe Camsafe X17 is a truly premium option that has all the anti-theft features you could dream of and more!
Top tips to help protect your photography gear
Bad weather can often make for more interesting images, so protecting your photographic equipment is critical when braving the elements. Whilst most high-end cameras are weather sealed, they will not withstand prolonged exposure to rain, snow or intense humidity. Moist conditions are your camera’s number one enemy.
So additional cover is important, and this starts with a great bag. Here’s our top tips to protect your photography gear in all conditions.
Make sure your camera bag is waterproof, or use a rain cover
When choosing a waterproof camera bag, you’ll probably make your decision based on three criteria – practicality, capacity and its aesthetic appeal. Whether you want your bag to turn heads, or always offer up a hidden compartment for another piece of gear, you’ll ultimately judge your bag on performance (how dry it keeps your kit). There’s a huge range of bags to choose from – so something to suit every budget. If you can’t afford a good camera bag, then any sort of effective rain cover will do.
Upgrade your strap
Your bag is only as good as the strap that it hangs from. And different straps will appeal to different types of photographers. Manufacturers such as Black Rapid and Peak Design make camera straps that do the job and look great in the process. There’s some fairly impressive tech that goes into these straps considering that they might have to hold as much as 200 pounds in weight!
Put an ultra-absorbent microfiber wipe at the front of the lens and the sides of the camera if they get wet
Cover your camera equipment from wet weather AND intense heat
An umbrella or parasol is an excellent way to keep the rain or sun off your back and photo gear. Duct tape is your friend here, too — we have used it to secure an umbrella to a monopod on at least one occasion. The monopod is a great friend to a wildlife or landscape photographer, providing accuracy and stability, and a bit of improvisation allows you to use it in wet conditions. Wind can be the enemy of a photographer. On a windy day why not anchor your gear using sandbags, or simply hang your camera bag from the tripod to provide extra resistance.
Fight condensation with a plastic bag
There’s nothing worse for creating liquid on your camera equipment than constantly having to transition between indoors and outdoors. Put the camera in a baggie before you go inside and leave it in there until it gets to room temperature before you take it out. You can also use silica gel pouches which come in a bag to help dry out your kit.
Use a UV filter
While a UV filter may not be necessary with today’s high-tech cameras, they are a great hack to provide quick protection to your camera as they create a barrier against smears, scratches, dust and grime. They may even prevent damage to the lens in the event of dropping the camera, though this depends on how hard the impact is. If you don’t have, or don’t want to buy a UV filter then always carry a spare lens cap as this will do the business.
A good photography insurance policy will cover you for theft, accidental damage, in vehicle and worldwide protection (exclusions may apply). Check that you are happy with the excess and consider optional extras as you build a policy that suits your needs, whether you’re an amateur or a professional photographer. Photographers and videographers usually have three options for getting insurance: insurance carriers that create their own policies, brokers who can sell policies from several carriers, and professional trade associations, which can be the most affordable but typically require membership. Below I have covered the insurance provided by one particular company to showcase the examples of insurance that is available to the photographer. I am in no way endorsing this company as being better or worse than any of the oher options. The reason I chose it, was because the website was well thought out and laid out.
*Note: Hiscox: was rated Best for Home-based Photographers
Do you need insurance as a photographer?
Liability insurance for photographers covers damages due to alleged failure to provide contracted services or providing them incorrectly. Additionally, if you own a significant amount of camera and lighting equipment, and work on someone else’s property you should consider general liability insurance. For more information on photography insurance browse the claim examples in the below accordions.
Insurance policies available for photographers
Professional Liability Insurance for photographers
To make a successful career out of photography, you may need reliable professional liability insurance coverage, sometimes called errors and omissions insurance (E&O insurance). Liability insurance for photographers covers claims against your businesses for providing professional and personal services.
When is it important to have professional liability insurance as a photographer? Examples include:
Faulty memory card: You have been contracted to photograph an event, and your memory card fails causing you to lose all your photographs. You are devastated, and your client makes a claim against you for failure to deliver the photographs, as promised. Professional liability insurance could protect you and your business against claims of negligence even if you haven’t made a mistake and the loss was caused by an unavoidable technical glitch.
Memory cards are important to photographers, but they don’t always work perfectly. See how Hiscox can help you protect yourself by requesting an insurance quote.
Dissatisfied client: You are hired to photograph a wedding, but you forget to take pictures of key family members. You did your best, but there were hundreds of people who requested to be in photographs and you missed a couple of them. Your client may make a claim against you for negligence regarding the failure to fully deliver the agreed upon photography services. Hiscox’s professional liability insurance (errors and omissions insurance) may protect you if such a claim is made.
As all photographers know, some clients are easier to work with than others. Fortunately, Hiscox has created a smarter and more convenient way for photographers to get the right coverage at the right price.
General Liability Insurance for photographers
Oftentimes, it’s not enough to only have professional liability insurance in the photography industry. General liability insurance, for photographers, could protect your business from another person or business’s claims of bodily injury, associated medical costs, and/ or damage to property. Having this kind of coverage is beneficial to photographers in instances like these:
Bodily injury: As a photographer, your job often involves equipment setup that can create a high-risk environment for slips and falls. What would happen if a client that you are working for tripped over a piece of high-cost equipment that you have set out for a photo shoot? General liability insurance could protect you against third-party claims for bodily injury and related medical costs for situations like this.
Defamation and libel: You were hired to photograph a charity event which featured an appearance by a high-profile celebrity couple. Since it was a big job, you hired an assistant to help out. During the event, the celebrity couple got into an argument, which your assistant overheard. The next day, reports of the argument appeared in the tabloids. The couple blamed your assistant and filed a lawsuit against your business. A general liability policy, from Hiscox, may be able to pay your defense costs as well as any settlement or judgement.
Property damage: You are in a client’s home to photograph a couple’s engagement photos. You are working with an assistant to help with the photography equipment. Your assistant knocks over and breaks an expensive antique vase, which costs thousands of dollars. At Hiscox, we may be able to cover the cost to replace the vase, up to the limits of your liability policy.
If you’re looking to reduce your insurance premiums, Hiscox can help.
Getting a Hiscox quote is easy! Learn more about general liability insurance costs to make a smart and forward-thinking decision for your photography business.
Business Owner’s Insurance (BOP) for photographers
As a photographer, your largest investment is in your cameras and equipment. Protect that investment with camera equipment insurance, which can pay to replace your equipment if it is stolen or damaged. Having the right insurance for photography equipment can get your business back up and running quickly after a loss. A photographer’s Business Owners Policy (BOP) includes insurance for photography equipment such as cameras, lenses, computers and electronic storage devices.
You are finishing up a long day of photographing your client’s conference. As you are loading your camera bag into your car, it slips out of your hand and hits the pavement. You open your bag to find that your 70-200mm lens and your portable hard drive are damaged. When you get home you discover that you can’t even pull your photos off the hard drive. Your Hiscox Business Owners Policy includes camera insurance that could provide coverage for your damaged lens and hard drive and help cover the cost to recover your data from the damaged drive.
Photographs and video can’t be taken without the proper equipment. Our business owner’s insurance combines general liability coverage with protection for your photography equipment such as cameras, lights, computers, and grip equipment used to provide your service and satisfy your clients.
Why do Photographers choose Hiscox?
With all the potential situations described above, and all the photographer liability insurance benefits that Hiscox offers, it’s easy to see why we are the insurance company of choice for professionals. We make it easy to get your policies set up, so you can focus on the important and creative work you do. Here are some of the most common reasons that photographers have chosen Hiscox:
Flexible payment options: We offer you the option of making monthly payments (with no additional fees) to help you manage your cash flow.
Tailored insurance: We specialize in businesses like yours and tailor coverage to the risks in your field.
Claims responsiveness: When a covered claim is reported, Hiscox will immediately assign a dedicated claims representative to assist you.
Coverage for contracts: Our architects insurance coverage satisfies most standard contract insurance requirements.
Worldwide coverage: A business insured through Hiscox is covered for work done anywhere in the world, as long as the claim is filed in the U.S., a U.S. Territory or Canada.
Passion for service: Agents knowledgeable about your business concerns will provide you with excellent service—4.7/5 people surveyed recommended us.
Here is a list of six other companies that provide specialty insurance for photographers: Source–“7 Best Photography Insurance Companies for 2022.” By Nancy Fernandez
Simply Business: Overall best photography insurance company
Hill & Usher: Best for all media professionals
The Hartford: Best for a business owner’s policy (BOP)
Professional Photographers of America (PPA): Best for PPA members
Full Frame Insurance: Best for photographers who are on a budget
Thimble: Best for providing a variety of coverages depending on length of projects
Photoguard.co.uk, Top tips to help protect your photography gear.”; pixsy.com, “The Ultimate image protection guide: 13 tips to prevent image theft. ” photoworkout.com, “10 worry-free anti-theft camera bags to keep your gear safe.” Hiscox.com, “insurance for photographers.”; fitsmallbusiness.com, “7 Best Photography Insurance Companies for 2022.” By Nancy Fernandez;