Being a photographer is great but there are some risks inherent to it, especially so if you are travelling abroad in search of that amazing shot.
Carrying a camera around may not seem all that dangerous but when you take dangerous environments, animals, laws, and people into account, things start to look a little different. In my day job I help people find jobs in Health and Safety for a variety of business types. Whether you’re brick laying on a building site or photographing a wedding at a hotel, it’s important to remember you’re at work and your safety is a priority. Here are 5 tips on how you can stay safe as a travelling photographer.
Always Ask Permission
One thing that you should never do is to take pictures or videos of people before asking them if it is OK. This is especially the case if you are going to be publishing these pictures on the internet or even just on a social media website.
While it is not illegal (in most countries) to take pictures of people in a public space, there are people who will get offended. There have been many cases of people getting in fights or even assaulting a photographer due to unwanted pictures being taken. Always ask for permission first because if you don’t you may get into some trouble.
Know The Law
This also has to do with the first point but is more related to the law of the country in question. This is especially the case when taking pictures of government owned property. Many governments around the world have declared it illegal to take pictures or videos of certain state owned properties, and doing so can result in fines or even imprisonment.
For example, a country like North Korea will have no qualms about putting you in a slave labour camp for something as simple as taking a quick picture of a statue of their leader.
Insure Your Equipment
When you plan on travelling abroad for the sake of photography you should always insure all of your equipment. We all know that photography equipment can be quite expensive and that’s why you should never hesitate to get even a limited insurance plan for all of the equipment you plan on taking with you.
Make a list of all the valuable equipment that you are taking with you and get it insured. The worst can always happen and you never know if your camera or the tripod is going to be swept away into the ocean or fall into that volcano that you’re trying to get a shot of. Keep a printed as well as a virtual record of your insurance in case there is any dispute with the insurance company.
Have Safety in Mind
This goes for several different aspects when you are a photographer travelling the world in search of that perfect picture. First of all you should never attempt to take a picture that will put your life in immediate danger. This means no standing at the top of a tree, standing over the edge of a cliff, or sneaking up on a rhino for that great picture. Never do something that will put your life in danger and always be sure to take the proper precautions.
You should also keep in mind that photography equipment is quite expensive and that makes you a prime target for thieves. Keeping thieves in mind you should always have your equipment firmly secured to your body so nobody can run away with it. Also be sure to have your equipment in bags that don’t make it too obvious that you are carrying expensive equipment with you.
Never Be Alone
The final piece of advice on how to stay safe as a photographer, especially when travelling abroad is to never be alone. Things can always go wrong and it’s best to have a buddy with you that can help out when things do go wrong. Being alone always increases the chances of succumbing to injuries outdoors or getting lost.