As we all know too well, eventually it seems like everything breaks. Whether we’re talking about a child’s toy, an automobile, or yes, photography gear, sometimes bad things happen.
Sometimes it’s just a bummer. But if you’re working with a photographer, sometimes it’s more than just a bummer. Sometimes those photos can’t be recreated, or the recreation would be extraordinarily expensive or impractical.
This is one of those areas where a responsible professional is going to trump that guy you hired for $50 off of Craigslist, or someone who offered to do it for free because hey, they just like photography and have a good-enough camera.
A professional photographer is going to plan for the unexpected. When I head out, whether it’s to a one-photo portrait session or a multi-day event, I never have a single camera body or a single lens. As you see me set up a light, know that I have a backup plan for if that light were to fail. Within my primary cameras I have two memory cards, configured not for additional capacity but for redundancy in case one of those cards failed. On a wider level, I have a network of other photographers who I can call upon were I to become sick or otherwise unavailable for a planned engagement, and I am always mindful of potential vendors were I to need emergency equipment acquisition in whatever city I’m working.
Part of what you get when you hire a professional is someone who has invested the time and money to ensure that you get the photos you deserve. While it’s impossible to predict every potential badness, there are a lot of things that can be prevented.
I’ve been fortunate that (knock on wood) I’ve only had a couple notable gear failures in recent memory, but I was reminded of this just a couple days ago when I had a problem that became a non-problem due to my preparation.
And because an article on my photography website ought to have a photo, here’s notable Portland jazz musician Mel Brown, photographed about a year ago at an event where I had an equipment problem… that never impacted the client at all.