Key insurance advice for your photography company

Here, photographer Laura Pearman talks about how a significant insurance claim she made for loss of data underlines the importance of small businesses ensuring comprehensive cover.

I got into photography in a big way when I was backpacking around the world. After working full time in a portraiture studio, I started my own photography business in 2012.

I had also spent a bit of time working in insurance when saving up for backpacking tickets. While I would never claim to know all there is to know about it, I would say that you must make sure you are properly covered when you want to be a professional in any field. I’ve seen a lot of horror stories.

I didn’t feel comfortable even setting up my professional Facebook page as a photographer without first having my insurance policy all secured. Somehow I didn’t feel as though I was legitimate without that proper cover in place. For my very first policy I went about getting the three different kinds of cover I knew I would need for my business. Professional cover for in case my professional practices came into question, public cover, for if ever anyone got hurt injured (or claimed they were) under my supervision, then ensuring that all of my new camera equipment was covered.

Making the claim

Unfortunately I have had to claim for a temporary loss of data. I was out shooting a singer and model one night in the middle of a derelict part of town. The only way to light the scene was to get a really sketchy generator in the boot of a friend’s car. I can remember on the shoot everyone was laughing at the amount of fumes the generator was kicking out. On the shoot, one of the flash heads failed. But I had two spares with me so we pressed on, and the session came out great.

The next day, I was looking into the failed light. I couldn’t fathom out what was wrong with it, so on changing the fuse I switched it on and my whole studio fuse box tripped. This caused my hard drive to fail and I lost all of my backed up image library. I had to claim to get the light repaired, the data securely recovered, and then implement a new data back up system. It was stressful, but there were many lessons learned.

In the claim process, I had to chase the insurance firm to find out if they accepted elements of proof and decisions made from my IT supplier. It was very much a case of me having to take full control of the situation, but this is the case with any insurance claim.

Highlighting the importance of insurance

The experience has illustrated that insurance is incredibly important to my business, and I know that without it, my team and I are at far too much risk to begin to imagine. But, with that being said, I also know that I am not the right person to go over the details of a policy with a finetooth comb. So if you are like me, I would recommend you get some who is better than you to help you with finding the right policy and provider for what you need.

In order to ensure that my kit cover is at the right amount each year, I have an in-house audit of my own equipment which I introduced about two or so years ago. This is a great opportunity to identify anything that needs to be fixed, sold or professionally cleaned, as well as checked over for its current market value. This gives a real number to the exact value of what equipment needs to be covered in time for when the insurance policy needs to be renewed. The reward for this task is always making money on unused and sold off kit.

Another element as well for me is client brief. Sometimes I might have a client who wants to do something really ‘risky and fun’ for a shoot, but I then need to arrange for a one-week insurance add on, or we might need to explore what kinds of insurance they have with their business to ensure that should the shoot go awry, we are all covered. So, a final piece of advice is to never be afraid to ask new clients and colleagues in the B2B world to show you a copy of their policy.

Further reading on business insurance

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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