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The first time I travelled with an expensive camera, I was very naive. My friends and I strolled through the streets in Brazil, snapping shots of the incredible street art. That is until a local stopped us and told us we were asking to be robbed. Of course, I couldn’t just stuff my camera into my pocket, so we quickly made our way to a safer part of town.
The problem is that carrying around expensive cameras and camera gear is always risky. If you can’t take photos of a place in broad daylight without fear of being robbed, you're never going to get those shots. It is sometimes necessary to take risks, although you need to determine which risks are worth taking.
Your camera gear can be stolen even if it is in a secure place. That’s why it is so important to get insurance for camera equipment. You may already have homeowners or renters insurance, which covers most of your possessions. However, particularly expensive items may need extra coverage.
What do you do if your camera equipment does get stolen? Are there any easy options if you desperately need it for a shoot?
Call Your Insurer
Depending on how your camera is stolen, there are two options for your first port of call. If your house was broken into or you were mugged on the street, you will have to go straight to the police. But if you simply discover that your camera and camera gear is missing – snatched while you were sitting at a restaurant, for example – you should call your insurer.
This is not just because you can kickstart the process of making a claim. Your insurance provider can give you step-by-step instructions on what to do. This is particularly helpful in a situation in which you feel frustrated and vulnerable. Having someone guide you through it can provide you with a sense of calm.
Your insurer will probably instruct you on how to get a police report and any other documentation you require to make a claim. Once you have what you need, make the claim as soon as possible so that you can get reimbursed.
If you have a shoot you need to get to and cannot afford to go out and buy a new camera and equipment before you get paid out, you can consider renting equipment. Depending on where you are, this may be relatively easy or pretty difficult. Of course, it is far from an ideal situation, but you need to make do with what you have at your disposal.
If you can’t find a place to rent equipment, ask a friend or colleague. As a last resort, you may consider postponing the shoot if it is possible.
Research New Equipment
The easiest thing to do when your camera is stolen and you get your insurance payout is to buy exactly what was taken. You have the money for it and know everything about it. However, with the pace at which technology advances today, it may be worthwhile to look for an upgrade.
Unless you bought your camera recently, you may be able to find a newer option for the same price (or even less). This does, however, require that you put a pause on your purchase. Instead of getting back your equipment as soon as possible, you may have to compare different models and makes, read reviews, find suppliers, and wait for deliveries.
Get Into Smartphone Photography
Until you have your replacement, you might want to consider getting into smartphone photography. While the best smartphone camera is still far from the same quality as the best professional camera, you can do a fair amount with the various settings. It can scratch your itch while you wait for your claim to be processed and search for the best replacement.
Learning how to make the most of your smartphone camera also gives you the opportunity to take advantage of the medium in future. It won’t become your primary camera, but it can offer you something different once in a while.
It is incredibly frustrating for your camera to be stolen. If you have good insurance, you can get it replaced as soon as possible. However, don’t forget to take a look at what new options are available.
Curious to learn more about all the gear for photography and filmmaking? Then this guide on camera equipment is for you.