View­point Michael Topham

Cam­era theft is a se­ri­ous is­sue and one we all need to be more aware of when go­ing about our work as pho­tog­ra­phers

Amateur Photographer - - 7days - Michael Topham is re­views editor of Ama­teur Pho­tog­ra­pher. In his spare time he shoots wed­dings. Visit www.michael­

One day re­cently I was ut­terly shocked to re­ceive an email from a close friend telling me of a theft at his sis­ter’s wed­ding. A church is one of the places you’d least ex­pect thieves to op­er­ate and steal some­one’s be­long­ings, but in the case of my friend that’s ex­actly what hap­pened. It turns out the bridesmaids used a quiet area at the back of the church to leave their bags and per­sonal items – in­clud­ing phones and cam­eras. Lit­tle did they know that a few min­utes later, dur­ing the ser­vice, some­one would sneak in and steal all their per­sonal be­long­ings.

This alarm­ing in­ci­dent got me think­ing about how I op­er­ate as a wed­ding pho­tog­ra­pher. I like to be well or­gan­ised at ev­ery wed­ding I shoot, so rather than rush­ing into the church in a hot sweat car­ry­ing bags on both shoul­ders, I tend to drop them off at the back of the church in good time be­fore the bride walks down the aisle. In the past I’ve never re­ally given this a sec­ond thought – my kit is out of the way of others, it’s in a good place for chang­ing lenses qui­etly if I need to and it’s in the prime place for mak­ing a swift exit from the church ready for the con­fetti shots that usu­ally fol­low. It’s this quick es­cape route, com­bined with the fact that I’m of­ten found shoot­ing with my back to my bags, that makes me ex­tremely vul­ner­a­ble to hav­ing my kit stolen.

Although my kit is in­sured, the in­con­ve­nience and sick­en­ing feel­ing of los­ing my lenses on the day of a wed­ding and be­ing lim­ited to just the two op­tics cou­pled to my two DSLRs would be a hard pill to swal­low. Need­less to say, my way of work­ing has now changed. I now op­er­ate with my kit in one roller that’s kept within view at all times.

Re­search­ing the sub­ject of theft at wed­dings has high­lighted a se­ri­ous is­sue, and what seems to be a ris­ing crime. The key thing to re­mem­ber, of course, is that while cam­eras and lenses can be re­placed by an in­sur­ance claim, the pre­cious im­ages from some­one’s spe­cial day can­not. I never risk tak­ing my cam­eras off my har­ness sys­tem un­til the day is com­plete. It’s sad to say, but un­for­tu­nately we live in a world where a pho­tog­ra­pher who leaves his or her kit unat­tended is just ask­ing to have it stolen. We all need to be a lit­tle more vig­i­lant and aware of our sur­round­ings.

In­sur­ance may cover your kit, but once-in-a-life­time im­ages like these are ir­re­place­able

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