Washington DC Wedding Photographer: Stephen Gosling Photography
The first thing I want to say is that I am under no illusion that people read my blog, let alone other photographers. I in no way think that the way I do things is the correct way and I am not writing these posts to tell people how to shoot or how to run their businesses. I am however going to be writing about my experiences; my failures, my successes, etc. If these posts help anyone, great! If not; no big deal.
That being said…
In May of 2010 I went home to England for my sisters wedding. I was thankfully not hired to photograph her wedding so I could just relax and enjoy. But of course I took my camera gear as I wanted to shoot it a little as a gift for her and also for me to have photos of my family at her wedding. Everything went wonderfully at the wedding and I got some great shots!
Now for the bad part. At Heathrow Airport, on our way home to Washington, DC; we’ve gone through security so we’re in the part that you can’t get to unless you have a boarding pass. We’re in the massive food court area and we go into a cafe to buy some sandwiches and coffees as we have got a little bit of time to kill. I get to the counter with our stuff and the cashier tells me how much our items will cost. I remove my hand from the handle of my case (which is right next to me), put my hand into my pocket, pay for my items, go to put my hand back on the handle of my case and… *gulp* my case is gone. My heart actually just skipped a beat as I remember the feeling of utter disparity I felt in those few seconds. Not only was ALL of my equipment in that case, but so were the images I shot at my sisters wedding. I spring into action, I yell (lets re-phrase this; I SCREAM at the cashier that my bag has been stolen, she looks at me like I’m an idiot and proceeds to do nothing. I again SCREAM at her to call security. I start running in and out of the shops next to the one I was in thinking that the thief would try to blend in with all the other travelers. And of course my bag is black and doesn’t stand out but I know exactly what it looks like so I am winding in and out of aisles as fast as lighting, looking from bag to bag. I’m sure more than a few people thought that I had lost my marbles. But as I continued to look, and time passed I began to realize that the thief had outsmarted me and that they had disappeared into the behemoth that is Heathrow Airport with my cameras. So, with my heart beating a million miles a minute, and accepting defeat; I go back to the cafe to meet the security guard, hoping that they will be able to look at the security tapes and find my bag. I walk into the shop and there is my wife, with my case. My knee’s actually got a little weak. My wife proceeded to explain that the woman standing next to me in the cafe paying at a cashier next to mine had inadvertently grabbed my case and not hers. She had come back to the cafe, her bag was still standing there where she had left it, and she returned mine to my wife who was waiting there for the security man. It took a full 2 hours for my hands to stop shaking. Now, let me tell you – My case is black and weighs a tone when it is loaded with my gear. This woman’s case was grey, much smaller than mine and weighed considerably less. I will save you from the utter black hole of expletives that I uttered in her direction at this point as it was a simple mistake on her part. But a pretty stupid mistake to make if you ask me. I should have realized that it was a mistake and the bag was certain to turn up because as I said at the beginning of this; we were through passport control so you could only be in the area if you were indeed flying.
The point of this story you ask… INSURANCE! At the time of this incident I did not have my equipment insured. I had some coverage with my renters insurance if something happened to them at home and I had some coverage through my car insurance if they were stolen from my car, but I didn’t have my equipment insured properly. You can rest assured that the first thing I did when I got home was to get that taken care of. And to my surprise it actually wasn’t all that expensive. Now I have all of my equipment insured against damage and theft, and I also have liability insurance. This is a nice little bit of protection should great aunt Molly trip over your camera bag and want to sue you. I get all that coverage for less than $800 a year. And this covers me for working all over the United States. If I want to travel and shoot outside of the states there is a little extra fee that you can add to your coverage for the time you’re away to make sure you’re covered.
Moral of the story. If photography is your business; you need to insure your livelihood! GET BUSINESS INSURANCE!
If you’re a photographer in need of insurance just shoot me an email and I will gladly give you the name of the people I use as I have no complaints and only good things to say about their coverage and service.
Lets end on a happier note; my favourite shot from my sisters wedding.