Tuesday, 7 May 2013

The risks of running a photography business

As a photographer, you are gifted with the ability to preserve what few others outside of this vocation are able to capture. The satisfaction of seeing your completed projects, as well as the joy that these projects bring to your clients, is extremely rewarding. So is the thrill of honing your techniques through various classes, or in the acquisition of cutting edge technology. Being a part of all of those things is absolutely exciting. However, it's also a risky business: because there is so much invested into it, there is also much at stake. A business like photography is not one in which you want to play Russian roulette, by lacking appropriate and adequate insurance coverage. Not covering yourself this way could jeopardize your relationships with customers, your own confidence in your ability, and of course, your very livelihood. As with any type of insurance, photographer's insurance can be as comprehensive as you would like it to be. That said, here are the most common disasters to afflict photographers:

Data loss. This is particularly problematic for highly sentimental engagements (and for a photographer, there are few assignments you will take on during the course of your career that are not of a sentimental nature). Often, lost data can actually be restored, but it can also be very, very pricey to do so. Having an insurance plan that covers this will help you manage the cost of recovering lost data should the need arise.

Hardware failure. Coverage for hardware failure will cover you a variety of
circumstances. The basic items that will be covered under this category will be your camera (and all peripheral equipment pertaining to it), lenses, and computers. The circumstances that could harm or compromise your equipment which you would be protected from include: damage from inclement weather conditions, damage from improper handling (like dropping), and loss by theft. Your basic small business insurance or homeowner's insurance won't cover these items, so be sure you get them properly insured.

Bad weather. Especially for summer weddings, much of the photography is dependent upon outdoor locations. As a photographer, you probably know to have backup locations picked out well beforehand to prepare for the worst in this regard. However, despite your best efforts, you may come across a an impossible weather-related circumstance or a client who feels that the photography aspect of their big day is totally ruined. In this event, having wedding liability insurance covers the cost of you re-staging the event if that is your only hope. While it is unlikely that you will come to that very often, it definitely puts your clients at ease, and gives them confidence in your professionalism, to know how well prepared you are to capture their most significant memories.

Personal emergencies. Of course you will do absolutely everything in your power to make it to all of your engagements...but what of the factors that are not in your power? Consider what would happen if you were involved in a serious collision, were struck with severe illness, or were stranded by a natural disaster? Being able to hire a replacement who is matched to you in ability is an absolute necessity for the protection of your reputation. Having insurance coverage for this type of situation will shield you from the high costs of doing so.

Photographers: we'd love to hear from you. What were some of the scariest moments of your photography career?


  1. Thank you for the good article.
    Every business is risky, it's an axiom. I agree, in the photography business, risk can be significant because of the sudden data loss which is unrecoverable by default. If I were a photographer, I would use virtual data rooms for my clients' data.

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  4. You've remind me of one
    of my old cameras. I was thinking of having some like "old style" pics. Might be interesting, don't you think so?

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