Stolen camera equipment. As a professional photographer, or even an up-and-coming freelancer, it’s probably one of the worst things that can happen to you. You can’t do your job without a camera, after all, and the consequences of having your gear stolen can be severe and not to mention expensive.
So, what can you do when your camera equipment has been stolen? And, more importantly, what can you do to prevent equipment theft to begin with? Luckily your friends at Full Frame Insurance are here to help.
How to Prevent Camera Equipment Theft
1. Keep A Record Of Your Equipment Information
One of the best preventative measures you can take to protect your equipment from theft is keeping detailed records of your equipment. Descriptions of the equipment model, serial number, and appearance can greatly help authorities identify and recover your stolen gear. As such, it’s a good idea to keep an ongoing list of the equipment you own and update whenever you get a new piece of equipment or something happens to your gear.
2. Use Online Tracking Services to Register Your Equipment
Registering your equipment via an online tracking service like Stolen Camera Finder, Cameratrace, or Lenstag is another great way to prevent equipment theft and recover your equipment when stolen.
These tracking services work by evaluating an image’s EXIF data and comparing it to potential matches in their database. EXIF data contains important information like the camera’s make and model, serial number, and the date and time a photo was taken. Every image taken on a digital camera includes EXIF data, so it’s a pretty useful tool in tracking down lost or stolen equipment.
3. Keep Your Gear On You At All Times
It’s worth mentioning that the safest place your equipment can be is in your hands. Most cases of equipment theft occur when a photographer leaves their gear unattended—either in a car or simply on the ground—allowing opportunistic thieves to take advantage of the situation.
To prevent this from happening, it’s important to keep your equipment with you at all times. When preparing for a shoot, make sure you don’t pack more gear than you can carry. Using lockable equipment bags and camera straps can also make a big difference when securing your gear on the job.
4. Protect Your Gear With Camera Equipment Insurance
A wise photographer once said, “If you wait to buy insurance until after you need it, it’s already too late.” And it’s true—the best time to purchase camera equipment insurance is before something has happened to your gear.
Camera equipment insurance can reduce and often remove the out-of-pocket cost of replacing stolen gear, making it an essential part of protecting your photography or videography business from theft. If you don’t have insurance coverage for your gear, we encourage you to take a look at Full Frame’s camera equipment insurance options.
My Camera Equipment’s Been Stolen. Now What?
Sometimes, despite your best efforts of prevention, equipment theft still occurs. In those cases, it pays to know what to do. Let’s take a look at the steps you should take in the unfortunate event that someone steals your gear.
1. File a Police Report
As soon as you know your equipment has been stolen, you should file a police report. It’s important to do this as soon as you can, as quick action can make the difference between getting your gear back or not.
2. Check online photo tracking services
Remember those online tracking services we told you about earlier? Well, now it’s time to put them to good use. Go online and report your gear as stolen. You will be notified as soon as the tracking system has a lead.
3. Check Your Local Pawn Shops
It’s unlikely, but there is a chance that your equipment was sold to a local pawn shop. When pawn shop owners make a purchase, they record each item’s make, model, serial number, and description. This record is sent to local authorities who can flag the item if it has been reported stolen (another reason to file a police report right away). Depending on your state’s pawn shop laws, you may be able to recover your equipment without paying the pawn shop for it.
4. Check Online via eBay, Craigslist, & Facebook Marketplace
More like, if the individual who stole your equipment plans to sell it, they will sell it online via a secondhand market like eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace. Items listed on these sites can sell quickly, so it’s important to keep an eye out for your equipment and act quickly. If you do find your stolen equipment on one of these sites, don’t confront the thief directly. Instead, inform your local authorities who can take immediate action to recover your goods.
5. If All Else Fails, File An Insurance Claim
While it is possible to recover your stolen camera equipment, it’s also important to come to terms with the fact that you may never see it again. If it looks like you’re not going to recover your stolen gear, you may want to consider simply replacing it. If you took the time to purchase camera equipment insurance, you can file a claim to help cover the cost of purchasing new equipment.
Protect Your Camera Today With Full Frame Insurance
Getting your camera equipment stolen may be a photographer’s or videographer’s worst nightmare, but that doesn’t mean you’re powerless to do anything about it. Hopefully this article has shed some light on the actions you can take to protect your gear, prevent theft, and recover equipment that has been taken from you.
If you have not yet considered insuring your gear, we encourage you to take a look at Full Frame’s camera equipment insurance. We offer multiple coverage limits that fit a variety of equipment needs, starting at just $184 a year. Getting is quick and easy with our online, no-quote process, so what are you waiting for? Cover your gear today and protect your business with Full Frame.