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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Replacing $20,000 Worth Of Photography Equipment

A friend of a friend of mine is an international wedding photographer who photographs weddings all over the world. I'll call him Steve for the purposes of telling you this story.

Steve was recently in Las Vegas for a high profile wedding of some very big name clients. It was a beautiful day. The wedding went great, and Steve got lots of incredible photos.

Later that night after he'd finished up at the reception, Steve stopped in at the bar in his hotel to unwind with a beer and relax his tired feet before heading up to bed. He was half-way through his beer when an attractive redhead sat down beside him at the bar and ordered herself a beer.

Smiling, she noticed his beer was half-finished and asked if she could buy him another. Steve was flattered and agreed. After all, it's not every day a pretty girl buys a guy a beer. Steve introduced himself as she handed him a fresh beer.

As Steve later told the police, that's the last thing he remembers. He woke up in his hotel room, sprawled out on the bed with a splitting headache. His wallet and ID were still in his pocket, but all his credit cards and cash were gone. Even worse, the keys to Steve's rental car were gone too.

Steve panicked when he'd realized his car keys were gone. He'd left all his photography equipment in trunk of his rental car, having intended on grabbing it before heading up to his room after he'd had a beer. Steve vividly remembers the onset of that sickening feeling in the pit of his stomach as he raced down the hotel stairs and out to his rental car, his mind going over each piece of his photography equipment that was in the trunk.

The car was where he left it, but it was unlocked which made his stomach turn even worse. His missing keys were lying on the front seat. He popped the trunk release and hurried to the rear of the car to look in the trunk. It was empty. All Steve's photography equipment was gone.

His two Nikon D3 DSLRs, his Nikon D700, all his lenses including his Nikon 24-70 f2.8G, Nikon 70-200mm f2.8G VR, Nikon 28mm f1.4, and Nikon 85mm f1.4, four Nikon SB-900 Speedlights, and all the batteries, cords, chargers, and other stuff he routinely carries with him on a wedding day shoot, were gone. All of it. Close to $20,000 in gear, stolen.

Steve said he almost threw up at that point. His legs felt weak, and he didn't know if he was going to be able to make it back up to his hotel room. He was in shock.

The police later told him that he'd been a victim of a very well organized ring of thieves that were operating in the area. They were hitting several types of working professionals, most of which were photographers. The police figured they were scoping out the major hotels and wedding venues for high profile weddings and targeting the photographers working them. Some of the photographers had their gear lifted right at the venues, while some had been followed back to their homes or hotels as Steve had been.

Luckily, Steve had a very good insurance policy on his photography equipment, and he'll be getting his gear replaced at almost no cost to himself. Of course, it's never good to have to file an insurance claim as you will eventually get an increase in premiums, but in a case like Steve's, most of us couldn't afford to take a $20K hit and replace all our photography equipment ourselves.

I should also mention another kind of insurance policy that Steve had. He'd downloaded his memory cards to his laptop throughout the day, and from there he'd uploaded the images to an online backup site. Even though the thieves had got his laptop and his memory cards with the rest of his photography equipment, he still had all his client's images. That would've been an entirely new level of horror added to the nightmare.

The point of me relating Steve's story is twofold.

1. Do you have a good insurance policy on your photography equipment?

2. Have you considered backing up your memory cards to an online backup service as you work?

Here's hoping you never have to worry about either.

1 comment:

Otto Rascon said...

Thanks for the story. What a great reminder to back up and have great insurance. I will now be looking into the Epson back-up drives. Thanks!