My followers know recently that I photographed a wedding, I wasn’t the main photographer, I was the second photographer with very specific requirements. I had never met the other photographer before and, as you do, we got talking.
One of the things that came up was insurance. I asked him if he had insurance, and he said yes, he had all his gear covered under his house and contents insurance. That is something a lot of us have, you get special insurance on your contents that protects your gear when you are away from the house.
I replied, is that all. He looked at me and I said, what about public liability insurance? What about the insurance you get to cover you if something happens to all the photos you have taken?
It has not occurred to him that he would need any further insurance. He was fairly new to wedding photography, but he hasn’t done all his research about what he needs to be a successful wedding photographer.
When I first got back into photography, after leaving it for a couple of years, it was all different and digital was all the rage. Still is really. I started photographing cycling. I would go to events and photograph the racing and it seemed that people liked what I was doing, so I kept doing it.
Then I heard a story about a woman who went to a race in Geelong to take photos. She had never photographed cycling before and when the women were finishing she stood in the middle of the road to take photos. She caused a major crash. The women were racing for the finishing line, coming down a slight hill, so travelling very fast. The photographer thought should would be able to get out of the way, or maybe she thought the cyclists would see her, they didn’t. Three cyclists had to go to hospital, their very expensive bikes were wrecked, and everyone was saying “I hope that photographer has good public liability insurance“. The photographer was fine, but her camera was smashed to pieces.
It had not occurred to me that I would need insurance and pretty much soon after that I made sure I had it. It wasn’t hard to get and I could pay it monthly so that helped with the initial cost of it all.
I know we all think that we wouldn’t be that stupid to stand in the middle of the road as a race in finishing, but there are other things that make the insurance an absolute necessity. What if you are doing photos for someone and you put your camera bag down and someone trips over it? What if you are in the city taking photos with your tripod and not paying attention and someone trips over one of the legs? You just never know what might happen and it is very important insurance to have.
The other insurance is Professional Indemnity Insurance. This is the definition of it from Business.vic.gov.au website, “Professional indemnity insurance protects professionals against claims of negligence made against them by a client. This type of insurance is available to professionals across a range of industries and covers the costs and expenses of defending a legal claim, as well as any damages payable.”
So how does this fit a photographer? The negligence could be ruining someone’s wedding photos and needing to stage the whole thing again so you can get the photos that your client paid you for. Weddings, I would think would be one of the jobs that photographers really need that insurance for.
The problem is that you don’t know what could happen, and 99.99999999% of the time it would be fine, but what if something went wrong with your camera on the day and you didn’t know until you got home that all the photos were ruined? What if your memory card decided to die that day or became corrupt as you were loading the photos? There are ways around both of these, but you have to think of everything that can go wrong, and plan so it doesn’t. There could always be that thing that goes wrong that you don’t think of, and you will be kicking yourself if you don’t have this insurance to cover you and you get sued.
There are many places that can help you work out the best insurance cover to have. Places like Business.vic.gov.au are great, they have lots of information for people who are starting up businesses. I don’t know if other states have similar websites for their states. Apparently Victoria has more small businesses than anywhere else, we are the state of small business, or so they tell us.
Good luck, and make sure when you get your camera out, you are fully covered.