Besides the obvious cost of camera equipment, they are also a key part of photography. A damaged camera, especially when away in remote places, can mean no photos. Those missed photos might be something that you can’t replicate. So to keep your camera equipment safe and in working order is an essential part of photography. Here are 5 tips for keeping your camera safe and in working order.
1. Clean, repair, service
There’s an age-old saying ‘prevention is better than the cure.’ So your first step in ensuring that your camera is in good working condition is to keep it that way. Get into the habit of regularly cleaning your camera. There are plenty of camera cleaning products out there, and it only takes a few minutes. Wipe your camera clean of dust and any other build up of dirt. Carefully clean your lenses using the relevant material. It’s best to avoid touching or cleaning your sensor unless you are confident in what you are doing.
Even if your camera is working, if there is a minor fault with it, get it fixed rather than leaving. It’s also worth getting your camera serviced professionally every now and again. Yes, it might be an annoying expense to have to pay, but it is a small price to pay to ensure that your camera is in perfect working condition.
2. Be aware of the elements
Water and sand are two of the biggest dangers to cameras. Anyone who has a scratched lens glass or sensor due to sand knows the cost involved in fixing these things. However, there are ways to protect your camera equipment to ensure you minimize the risk. The first thing you need to know is how well sealed your camera is. For example, high-end DSLR cameras often specify that they are ‘weather sealed.’ While weather-sealing offers good protection from things getting into your camera, you should still be cautious.
- Start by always carrying a plastic bag with you. They are great for protecting your camera from rain and water.
- It’s also worth carrying a small towel at all times to wipe your camera clean. It is especially vital near the coast where the salt in seawater can be corrosive.
- Avoid changing lenses, especially when windy. Dust, sand, and water can all get into your sensor. If you must change lenses, do it quickly and make sure you protect your camera from the wind.
- Remember to wipe and clean your camera after you finish your shoot at these places as there may still be sand or water on your camera.
3. Know your surroundings
One of the dangers to your camera equipment is theft. With a little bit of common sense and caution, you can avoid being a victim. The key is to know your surroundings and take action accordingly. For example, if you are walking on a busy sidewalk, keep away from the curb and keep your camera away from the roadside where snatch and grabs on motorbikes happen. Alternatively, if you are sitting on an outside table in a restaurant, put your camera away in your bag or have the strap around your arm.
Even in quite countryside car parks, it’s important to take precautions. Don’t leave cameras or valuables on display. Hide them away, or better still take them with you. As long as you use common sense and know what it is happening around you, you shouldn’t have any problems.
4. Use your tripod wisely
My only ever accident with my camera was when I was using a tripod. As I rushed to put my camera on, I didn’t clip it in, and the camera fell straight into a muddy puddle. Luckily the mud stopped my camera bouncing off into the river that I was photographing, and it also avoided the rock that I was standing on. With a bit of cleaning up, I was able to use it straight away. I was fortunate on this occasion.
I am always astonished when I see people setting up tripods, and they don’t evenly distribute the weight, causing it to fall over, or people putting expensive DSLRs on cheap tripods that are not secure enough to take the weight.
Whenever you are using a tripod, the key is to take your time. Make sure your tripod is secure, and the legs are taking the weight evenly. When you put your camera on the tripod, hold on to the strap for a few seconds to ensure it’s not going to topple over. Only when confident it’s not going to fall should you let go. Be especially careful when there are high winds as a sudden gust can easily knock over your tripod and camera.
5. Store your equipment safely
Depending on how much photography you do, there are always periods when your camera is not in use. So, where you store your camera is also essential in keeping it safe. Avoid storing your camera in places where there is high humidity like laundry rooms. You should also avoid leaving it in direct sunlight. Try to store it in a cupboard rather than just leaving it out to gather dust. A great tip is to keep your camera equipment in your camera bag and place your bag in a cupboard. Not only does it protect against dust but also ensures everything is one place and out of sight.
Additional tip for keeping your camera safe
While you hope you never have to use it, it’s always best to ensure that you have appropriate insurance in place for your camera equipment. Make sure that it covers you for things like damage at home, in transit and even in cars. It’s also worth noting the details of their claims policy, so you are aware of things such as whether they pay for or replace damaged or stolen equipment. It is also important to know these details, in case you may have to wait six months for your equipment to get replaced. So always make sure you have insurance to cover your equipment.
There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing an amazing photo opportunity in front of you and having no camera. However, with a little bit of care, forward planning, and common sense, you can avoid this happening to you by keeping your camera safe and in working order.
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