Insurance. It's a word that can send shivers down your spine.
On the one hand, just about everyone has had a bad experience with an insurance company. High deductibles. Policies that are hard to understand. All that time required to chase down your insurance broker...it's just not a fun experience.
On the other hand, insurance can be expensive, too. And when you start your business, every dime in your pocket counts!
But buying insurance and getting yourself covered doesn't have to be a gut-wrenching experience any longer.
There are better choices - ones that are turning the photography insurance industry on its head.
Misconception #1: All Coverage is Equal
As you've no doubt discovered in your photography career, not all camera lenses are created equal.
Well, just like there's okay glass, good glass, and better glass, there's differences in the types of coverage you can get from different insurance companies.
Some photography companies limit your coverage in a way that puts you in a vulnerable position.
For example, if you have general liability coverage that only offers up to $100,000 of protection, that could spell disaster for your business if you're sued for damages that exceed that amount.
Likewise, some photography companies have impossibly high deductibles that might be difficult for you to cover in the event that something goes wrong.
But other photography insurance companies offer complete coverage that gives you peace of mind.
Next Insurance, an insurance-technology company in Silicon Valley, has a Pro Plus plan that includes $1 million of general liability coverage with a $0 deductible.
Also included is $25,000 of equipment protection coverage with a $500 deductible.
Let's break that down a little bit...
If your light stand falls on and injures your client, and they sue you for $100,000, you're covered.
If you accidentally damage property in the process of working, you're covered up to $25,000.
Heck, if you have a moment of clumsiness and drop and break your $5,000 camera on the ground, you're covered!
Next Insurance will even give you the actual cash value of damaged or destroyed gear, that way you can quickly replace what you need to continue working.
Misconception #2: I Probably Don't Need Insurance for My Particular Business
Maybe you work out of your home. Perhaps you have a mobile photography business. Or you might not even have an "official" business yet.
Whatever the case, thinking that you probably don't need insurance is a line of thinking that can only lead to disaster.
Equipment gets lost, stolen or damaged. Clients accidentally get injured. You make a mistake and cause damage to someone else's property...
It's events like these that happen all the time. And it's also events like these that can lead to disaster for your business if you don't have the proper coverage.
If you're working with other people, on other people's property, or even use the images you take of other people to promote your business, you need to be covered by a comprehensive insurance policy.
You never know when something might go wrong. Don't let unexpected events derail your photography dreams. Instead, be prepared and get your business insured today.
Misconception #3: You Have to Buy Insurance Through an Agent
Plain and simple, if you need photography insurance, you do not have to buy it through an agent.
In fact, you don't even have to leave your home or office to get the coverage you need.
Next Insurance was established by a small group of friends that found it extremely difficult to get the insurance they needed for their company.
That awful experience compelled them to start Next Insurance and begin a revolution in the insurance industry at the same time.
Not only is there no broker - which means you can avoid the middleman and avoid paying fees as well - but you can get a quote and your policy quickly and easily online.
In a matter of a few minutes, you can peruse different policies and coverages that you can get with Next Insurance, sign up for the type of coverage you need for your specific business, and do it in a way that saves you money at the same time.
In fact, they have policies that start at just $21/month, so you can rest assured you won't be breaking the bank to get the insurance policies you need. You can even choose to pay for your coverage on a month-by-month basis!
And when you need proof of insurance, just hop on their website and print one off for free. It's really that easy!
Misconception #4: All Insurance Companies Stink
As I've noted throughout this article, not all insurance companies are big, scary organizations that try to screw you out of your hard-earned money.
Instead, companies like Next Insurance, which is a small business itself, are built on the idea that giving customers a high-quality product doesn't have to be difficult or expensive.
The folks at Next Insurance understand that building a successful business takes a ton of time and effort. And that means that you can't spend hours and hours trying to track down your insurance agent to get answers to your questions.
Instead, Next Insurance has simplified the process, cut out the middleman, and offers you personalized service with products and coverage that are unique to your needs.
In short, don't let common misconceptions about insurance get in the way of having the proper insurance coverage.
Instead, work with Next Insurance, get the coverage you need, the customer service you demand, and do so at a price you can afford.
I'll just come right out and say it...
Starting a photography business is hard. Well, starting any kind of business is hard!
But just because something is difficult to do doesn't mean that you can't find a way to make your business dreams a reality.
The key is to set yourself up for success and minimize critical mistakes that have led to the downfall of countless aspiring photographers before you.
With that in mind, let's explore a few photography business mistakes that you need to avoid if you want to build a successful business.
Mistake #1: Not Knowing What to Charge
The whole point of being in business is to turn a profit, right?
Well, that's hard to do if you don't spend some time thinking about how much you need to charge your clients so you can cover all your bills, taxes, and other expenses and still have a nice profit to put in the bank.
That means that you need to add up all those expenses and work backwards from there to determine how much you need to charge.
This can happen in a couple of ways. First, if you're just starting out, a short-term income goal might be that you make enough just to break even. If that's the plan, add up all your expenses (don't forget taxes!) and determine how much you need to charge and how much you need to work to meet that number.
A second way to determine what to charge is to set a long-term goal, like how much money you want to make in the next business year.
So, if you want to make $50,000, you'll need to add that to all the expenses you have, and again, working backwards, determine how much you need to charge and how often you need to work to meet that goal.
It sounds simple enough, but it can be a little complex. After all, you'll have fixed expenses, like rent or your mortgage payment to account for, as well as unexpected expenses, like car repairs or medical bills that could throw you off reaching your income goal.
The type of photography you pursue - portraiture, fine art, stock photography, and so forth - will also impact what you can charge.
For a thorough discussion of how much photographer's make (and how much you should charge), check the Learn More links below.
Mistake #2: Not Having Insurance
You'd never get behind the wheel of your car without being properly insured, so why would you open a business without having the proper coverage in place first?
It seems like a no-brainer, yet all the hard work, time, and effort that goes into starting a business can mean that some crucial steps - like getting proper coverage - are missed along the way.
That's where Next Insurance's professional photographer insurance comes in...
For starters, Next Insurance was founded by three guys that had an awful experience getting the insurance they needed for a previous business, so they know all about the difficulties of starting a business and the value of providing insurance products that are simple to understand, easy to get, and inexpensive, all at the same time.
In fact, Next Insurance is built to provide flexible coverage for small business owners, specifically photographers, so you'd be hard-pressed to find a better insurance partner than them.
When shopping for insurance, you need to consider a few things.
First, you don't want it to cost an arm and a leg. After all, when you're just starting out, money will be tight.
You want to look for insurance plans that are flexible to meet your needs, like paying on a month-by-month basis and pricing that won't break the bank, either.
Second, you'll want General Liability Insurance (GL), which protects you should you do something that causes harm to a client or a venue and you get sued for it.
Third, you'll want Equipment Protection coverage for all that photography gear you have and be sure that the policy offers the coverage you need to replace lost, stolen, or damaged equipment.
For example, Next Insurance's replacement cost coverage entitles you to either be reimbursed for your gear or get new gear, that way you aren't without what you need to continue working. Other insurance companies may only pay you for the used value of your equipment, which means you not only take a hit of having lost or damaged gear but you also lose money by only getting used value for it.
Something else to consider when shopping for photographer's insurance is how digital technology has improved the photography insurance industry.
By that, I mean you want to work with a company that offers customized coverage that takes your unique business needs into account. That means policies that are unique to your business and your business alone rather than using a one-size-fits-all model that may or may not work well for you.
The digitization of photography insurance also means that you can cut out the middleman and save money.
In other words, rather than going to an insurance broker to be the intermediary between you and the insurance company that's bearing the risk, companies like Next Insurance connect you directly to your policy via an online quote process.
That means you avoid paying unnecessary fees and get the coverage you need for less money per month.
- Get the Specs and Pricing on Photography Insurance from Next Insurance
- Things to Consider When Buying Professional Photographer's Insurance
Mistake #3: Working for Free
This is sort of a hot-button issue in the photography community...
Some photographers believe that when you first start out that working for free is a great way to get your name out there and make connections with people in the community.
Other photographers believe that working for free devalues you, your time, and the images you produce.
I can see both sides of the issue, but I lean towards not working for free.
For starters, when you start out, you're at your most vulnerable from an income point of view, so the more time you spend working for free, that's just the less time you have to bring in the green stuff to pay the bills.
And last time I checked, if you don't pay your bills, you won't be in business for long.
Secondly, if you work for free, all of your photography packages - even the least expensive ones - suddenly look and feel more expensive to that client.
So, the next time around when they want you to take photos, the chances are good that they won't opt for your top-tier package and will instead opt for the cheapest thing you offer.
Again, this isn't good for your bottom line!
Furthermore, think about the additional expenses of working for free.
You're not just giving them your time when you're taking their photos, you're also giving them the time it takes you to process the images. On top of that, if they order prints, you're on the hook for that as well.
Instead, when you're starting out, offer discounted pricing and specials so your clients feel like they're getting a great deal.
That means outlining your pricing packages (based upon your income goals, as discussed earlier), and then figure out how much of a discount you can offer and still make a profit.
For example, if you're a wedding photographer and you charge $4,000 for a middle-of-the-road package, perhaps you advertise a special in which you charge $3,500 or perhaps you offer to throw in an engagement session for a deeply discounted price, too.
The point is that you can generate interest in your business without going out and spending all your time working for free.
If you market your business smartly and come up with discounts and sales that pique people's interest, you'll set the right expectations for what you offer and also get your business started by actually making money!
Get a few more insights on this topic in the video above by The Art of Photography.
As I noted in the introduction, starting a business is a tall task.
But if you set about it in the right way and avoid critical mistakes like the ones I've outlined above, you'll be on solid footing for creating something that is successful for the long term.
That means outlining your income goals, getting top-notch insurance by working with Next Insurance, and getting early experience without doing so for free.
photo byPrathanChorruangsak via iStock
Though buying photography insurance might not be as exciting as buying a new camera or a new lens, it’s nonetheless a critical component of building a successful photography business.
Lost or damaged gear, a break-in at your studio, fires and floods, or lawsuits from clients can easily derail your business for the short-term, if not for the long-term. The financial consequences could prove to be disastrous, so much so that your doors remain permanently closed.
But with the right photography insurance coverage, you can account for unexpected events and calamities, and often do so quickly and easily online.
And, if you work with one of our picks for the best photography insurance companies, you can find coverage at a price you can afford!
Table of Contents
- Full Frame Insurance
- Package Choice Insurance
- Athos Insurance Services
- Next Insurance
- National Photographer’s Insurance
Best Photography Insurance Companies: Full Frame Insurance
What people love about Full Frame Insurance is that they offer flexible options to meet your specific photography insurance needs.
Let’s say you just need short-term insurance to cover your first event or photoshoot. In that case, Full Frame Insurance has you covered with short-term general liability insurance that gives you one to three days of consecutive coverage, starting at just $59.
That’s a small price to pay to have photography insurance while you get your first gig under your belt!
photo by sukanya sitthikongsak via iStock
But if you’re a seasoned pro with more robust insurance needs, Full Frame Insurance offers annual policies as well. These annual policies are ideal for photographers that need general liability coverage alongside their product liability coverage.
Either way, you can configure the short-term or annual coverage you need to match your specific situation. You can also add equipment insurance if needed, that way your expensive photography gear is covered too—it doesn’t matter if you’re at home, abroad, or in transit.
No matter what kind of coverage you select, Full Frame offers an instant online quote with an option to purchase right there and then. You get instant coverage that is not location-specific, 24/7 access to policy documents, a downloadable certificate of insurance, and no deductible on liability claims.
photo by simonkr via iStock
Full Frame Insurance understands the kinds of exposures that exist for small business owners, which is why they offer protection from third-party liability claims like property damage or bodily injury. Their policies may also help address third-party medical claims or legal fees that arise from covered claims.
Full Frame also offers specialized wedding photography insurance. With this policy, you can address the potential for liability as you photograph hundreds of people in multiple locations over the course of a demanding day.
Of course, affordability is a concern, and Full Frame Insurance understands that. As a result, their policy has customizable options that ensure you don’t overpay for the coverage you need. It’s that kind of dedication to the customer that got Full Frame Insurance on our list of the Best Photography Companies of 2019 & 2020!
Best Photography Insurance Companies: Package Choice Insurance
photo by demaerre via iStock
If you’re looking for comprehensive coverage for your photography business, Package Choice Insurance is definitely worth a look.
For starters, they offer a camera insurance policy that covers your gear whether it’s in your possession, on location, or in transit from Point A to Point B. For photographers that are constantly on the road, that’s the kind of peace of mind you want!
Furthermore, their camera insurance policy protects your gear wherever it might be damaged in the United States or Canada. The policy also covers theft and lost gear, and international coverage can be added to protect you when you’re abroad.
This coverage is paid at replacement cost as well. That means that gear that’s stolen or damaged is replaced at today’s value, not what you paid for it two or three years ago. Likewise, Package Choice usually includes a modest limit of rented equipment insurance so you don’t have to pay the full price to rent the gear you need while yours is being replaced.
photo by yipengge via iStock
If your gear is damaged and ends up in the repair shop for weeks on end, Package Choice will often reimburse you for the cost of renting substitute gear. This is typically an automatic inclusion in the policy, but it’s important to consult with a Package Choice insurance expert to get the specifics.
You can also get Errors & Omissions insurance, which is specifically designed to protect you in the event you’re sued by a client. Whether you or one of your employees is accused of wrongdoing or negligence, this policy will cover your legal fees and pay damages to the plaintiff should they be awarded a monetary sum.
The other benefit of getting your insurance from Package Choice is the price.
photo by skynesher via iStock
The folks at Package Choice understand that starting and maintaining a successful business takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and money, so their policies are designed to be affordable. Heck, they even have multiple payment plans available to help you meet your insurance needs without breaking the bank.
Package Choice has underwriting from insurance companies like CNA, Travelers Insurance, and The Hartford, so there is a vast breadth and depth of experience, knowledge, and stability on which you can rely. All you have to do to get started is to fill out a short online application, and you’ll get a free, no-obligation quote soon thereafter!
With policies for computers and electronic devices, business personal property, general liability, and various other coverages, Package Choice has all your bases covered so you can concentrate on growing your business without worry of what will happen if disaster strikes.
Best Photography Insurance Companies: Athos Insurance Services
Athos Insurance Services makes our list of the best photography insurance companies of 2019/2020 due in large part to the wide range of coverages they offer.
Regarding your gear, you can get coverage for all sorts of maladies, from flood and fire damage to water and smoke damage to wind, hail, and lightning damage. Natural disasters, acts of terrorism, falling objects, theft, and accidental damages are also covered!
What’s more, Athos Insurance Services will cover your gear for damage during transit or shipping, and they offer an Inland Marine (equipment floater) policy too! All of this coverage is worldwide in scope, so no matter if you’re at home, across town, or around the globe, your gear is protected.
photo by undefined undefined via iStock
Add to that policies for short-term rented equipment, annual production equipment, and annual photography equipment, and you have coverage for all sorts of gear-related scenarios you might encounter.
And getting all these coverages is easy, too. Just hop online, fill out a form, and get a fast online quote in a snap. You can even purchase your coverage online and customize it to your needs 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Perhaps best of all, Athos Insurance Services has five-star customer service, which is a big deal when you’re shopping for insurance.
Instead of feeling like just one of many clients, Athos Insurance Services ensures that you feel like you’re their top priority. If you have questions or concerns, they’ll work hard to ensure that you have all the details you need to make an informed decision that’s right for your particular needs.
Best Photography Insurance Companies: Next Insurance
One of the primary reasons why Next Insurance makes this list is because they have made it so simple for photographers to get the coverage they need.
Not only can you get the policy you want online, but you can also get live certificates of insurance and file claims on your schedule online 24/7. Talk about convenient!
Next Insurance has also made sure that their plans are affordable for any photographer. Their plans start at just $21 per month, which is a small price to pay for complete peace of mind.
photo by Delmaine Donson via iStock
The plans offered by Next Insurance include general liability insurance with at least $500,000 occurrence limits and $500,000 aggregate limits - with a $0 deductible. Other plans increase those limits to as much as $1,000,000 per occurrence and $2,000,000 aggregate, again, with a $0 deductible.
General liability insurance from Next Insurance is vital because it protects you in case a client suffers an injury that’s your fault or you accidentally damage a client’s property. You already have enough to worry about - you don't need to worry about being sued too!
photo by scyther5 via iStock
You can also get coverage against advertising claims. For example, if you have permission from a client to use their photos as part of your marketing, but they don’t like the photo you selected to use and they sue you, you’re covered!
Soon, Next Insurance will also have photography equipment protection as well.
Easy-to-get coverage, great prices, and the policies you need...what more could you want?!
Best Photography Insurance Companies: National Photographer’s Insurance
Yet another excellent choice for your photography insurance needs is National Photographer’s Insurance.
As you might surmise from their name, National Photographer’s Insurance specializes in meeting the insurance needs of photographers. That means they have the industry know-how that helps them understand exactly what the best policies and coverages are for photographers like you.
As a result, they have one of the most comprehensive collections of policies around…
That includes general liability coverage that offers protection from lawsuits, like a client that’s injured in your studio. Likewise, you can get business personal property coverage that protects you in the event that there’s a break-in at your office and someone absconds with your photography gear.
photo by choochart choochaikupt via iStock
You can add a policy for equipment coverage to protect against loss from damaged gear as well as a professional liability policy that covers any professional errors, omissions, or neglect on your part.
There’s even business income and extra expense coverage to help you get through up to 12 months of lost income as a result of flooding, fire, or another covered loss that forces you to close up shop for an extended period of time.
With more than 80 years in the business, National Photographer’s Insurance knows what you need, which is why they have such comprehensive coverage offerings. Their proven track record of excellent customer service and professionalism make them an excellent choice for your photography insurance needs.
I don't know about you, but I'm incredibly excited about the direction that photography is headed.
We're seeing more innovation than ever in cameras, lenses, and other photography gear, which gives us more power to create epic photos.
Post-processing programs are evolving into highly powerful editing suites that allow us to take our photography to the next level more quickly and efficiently.
We're even seeing changes in how we buy and sell photography equipment, share our photos, and market our businesses.
It's exciting times, for sure!
Here's some of the top businesses in the photography industry that are leading the charge in innovating the artform we love so much.
Sew Trendy Fashion & Accessories
Sew Trendy started humbly in a basement just a few years ago.
Today, it's one of the premier wardrobe manufacturers for maternity photography, girls' photography, and newborn photography.
Their success in growing their business is attributable to many different factors, not the least of which that they constantly develop new designs for their line of maternity gowns, girls dresses, and newborn clothing, so photographers have fresh looks to offer their clients.
And in an age in which customer service is often lacking, Sew Trendy certainly bucks the trend. They're with you every step of the way, ready, willing, and able to help you with any questions or concerns you might have.
Valerie Best, the company's Founder and CEO has a lot to do with the success of her company as well.
She's committed to quality, and that shows in every handmade garment that leaves her company's warehouse.
Over the years, Sirui has built a reputation for manufacturing some of the best photography tripods on the market.
I can attest to the quality of their tripods, as I own one!
But Sirui is much more than a tripod company...
They supply photographers the world over with high-quality gear that ranges from monopods to tripod heads, camera bags to lens filters, and even photography accessories for your mobile phone.
As if that's not enough, Sirui also offers a complete line of humidity cabinets, broadcast tripods, and various quick release plates, too.
In other words, Sirui is a one-stop shop for just about all your photography needs, and is definitely a company to keep your eye on in 2018.
When talking about innovative photography companies that are sure to turn the photography world on its head in 2018, CaptureLife should immediately come to mind.
If you're not familiar with CaptureLife, check this out...
This app allows you to share photos with your clients right on their smartphone.
That means you can streamline how you get photos to clients as well as make it a more personalized process - the images are delivered via a branded text message that's personalized to the client.
On top of that, CaptureLife is a sales platform that allows your clients to order prints right from their phone. They can also share their photos with friends and family, which increases your sales footprint.
Mobile is the future, and if you're in the photography business, you need to capitalize on that by teaming up with CaptureLife!
One of the challenges of staying relevant in the photography industry is keeping your ear to the pulse of what photographers need.
Click Props does just that.
With a huge collection of gorgeous portrait backgrounds, Click Props gives photographers the ability to create more impactful portraits no matter who the subject might be.
Aside from their commitment to crafting the best backgrounds in the business, Click Props understands the practical needs of photographers as well.
They offer backgrounds in various sizes, each of which is easy to setup and takedown. They're even easy to clean and easy to store, too.
That means you spend less time messing around getting things setup and stored away, and more time actually taking photos.
What's not to like about that?
Another company that's sure to make waves in 2018 is Vanguard.
I've been a fan of Vanguard for years now, and I can tell you firsthand that in the last couple of years, they've really stepped up their game with their product line.
In particular, their tripods and camera bags are among the best in the business, not just because they have innovative features that make photography easier and more efficient, but because their products are budget-friendly as well.
That means that Vanguard has figured out a way to offer photographers the best of both worlds - high-value, well-made products that won't break the bank.
Vanguard is at the tip of the spear of innovation in photography. If you aren't excited to see what they come up with in 2018, you should be!
Photography isn't just about the gear you use, nor is it just about your skills in composition, framing, post-processing and the like.
Instead, the process of creating an image isn't truly complete until you have a gorgeous print. That's where Artbeat Studios comes in.
I came across Artbeat Studios last year, and after touring their facility, I was blown away by their process and the products they make.
Among their best sellers are their acrylic and metal HD prints, the latter of which you can see in the photo above.
To say that Artbeat's prints are gorgeous is an understatement. What they produce is truly fine art.
That's because they're committed to using archival materials, paying close attention to color fidelity, and providing custom services so you get the exact print you want.
If you're looking to revolutionize the way your photos look, give Artbeat Studios a try!
One of the best things about the photography industry is that there are so many companies doing so many awesome things for photographers.
In 2018, I strongly suggest that you change the way you market your photography business by partnering with Uniregistry.
These guys have two domains - .pics and .photo - that will help you get more eyes on your photos and more clients knocking on your door.
It's simple - Uniregistry's domains are photography specific, so you can promote your work on your website with a professional and credible domain name.
Not only do .pics and .photo domains tell the world exactly what you do right there in the URL, but they're fresh and new, so the chances of you getting the exact name you want are much greater.
It's just a better way to market yourself on today's crowded internet!
Let's face it...
Photography gear can be expensive, and all that expense is cost-prohibitive if you're on a budget.
But MPB has changed the way that photographers buy gear because they've created an extensive marketplace where you can find high-quality pre-owned gear for excellent prices.
Not only that, you can sell your old gear to MPB and either pocket the money or get a credit toward the purchase of something on their site.
That means you can refresh your kit from time to time by getting rid of what you no longer want or need and replace it with well-priced, pre-owned gear for less.
Stretch your budget. Get more gear for less. Get better gear for less, too. Not bad, right?
Not that long ago, there was a lack of photography gear specially designed for female photographers.
But in 2010, that all changed when SHUTTERbag was founded.
SHUTTERbag specializes in crafting leather camera bags for women that are beautiful and functional, too.
This commitment to quality is evident in every SHUTTERbag model.
For mom photographers on the go, SHUTTERbag offers the Girls Day Out bag (shown top left, above).
This ingenious camera bag has three separate compartments - one for your camera gear and two zippered compartments for things like a tablet for business tasks and books, toys, diapers and other items for your kids.
Like all SHUTTERbag models, the Girls Day Out is the height of form and function.
It’s an ideal size for daily use, and with its built-in organizational aids, you can keep your photography stuff separate from your personal items with ease.
That means you can grab your camera, your phone or a diaper at a moment’s notice.
Now that’s how you get more production out of your day!
SHUTTERbag’s Trailblazer bag (shown top right, above) is another example of commitment to innovation.
This bag has a unique style and flair that make a strong fashion statement, but don’t think that this bag is just about looking good…
Inside, you’ll find room for a camera body and up to four lenses. Alternatively, you can carry two camera bodies and three lenses. There’s even a spot for your tablet or laptop!
With padded dividers that are removable and adjustable, you can truly customize this bag to suit your specific needs.
For mid-range carrying capacity, SHUTTERbag designed the Heirloom 5-in-1 bag (shown bottom left, above).
Not only can this bag accommodate a camera, three lenses, and up to a 15-inch laptop, but it can also be carried in a variety of ways - as a tote bag, a messenger bag, a shoulder bag or even as a backpack.
Talk about innovation!
Their Journey bag (shown bottom right, above) is a tote bag that’s made of genuine leather and features a breathable cotton lining that provides a soft surface for your gear inside the bag.
The Journey has a detachable strap that has a slip-resistant shoulder pad that gives you confidence when carrying your bag either over the shoulder or across your body.
The bag can easily accommodate a camera with a 70-200mm lens attached, as well as a laptop, a tablet, camera accessories, and personal items like your checkbook and smartphone as well.
And as if their bags aren’t enough to impress, consider this - SHUTTERbag is a small business, so they treat their customers like family.
That means that you not only get to choose from a wide array of incredible camera bags, but you know that you’ll get the service you deserve before, during, and after the sale, too.
When you think of photo albums, you might think that they're all the same or that there's not much room for improvement.
But you'd be wrong.
nPhoto has proven that by becoming one of the top producers of photo albums and other products in the world.
Their handcrafted albums, triplexes, photo boxes, and other products are second-to-none in the industry.
nPhoto uses the best materials to construct their products, from fine textiles and leatherettes for their album covers to silk and metallic papers that give each page of their albums a hefty, crisp, and expensive feel.
What's more, nPhoto gives you plentiful options for customizing their albums, so you can get something that's truly your own or tailored to your clients' specific tastes.
Taking great photos is only half the battle - how you present them matters, too. If you work with nPhoto, you'll certainly have the presentation aspect of it down pat.
The MS20PRO 20”x20”x12” tabletop photo studio by MyStudio is an ideal accessory to help you take your product photography to the next level.
Unlike many other tabletop studios, this one offers a seamless cyclorama infinity background with 90-degree corners that gives you many more shooting angles to highlight the products that you’re photographing.
The studio comes with dual 5000k color-corrected daylight fluorescent lamps, which offer tons of light for your images while providing excellent color as well.
MyStudio also includes 9”x12” white and black bounce/fill cards with easel stands to create nice, even lighting, and a pair of 9.5”x11.5” white and black reflective acrylic panels to create beautiful reflections beneath the products you photograph.
The folks at MyStudio have even produced a series of instructional videos that are available on their YouTube page to get you going with your new photo studio!
I only became familiar with MrStarGuy in the latter half of last year, but they quickly became one of my favorite photography companies.
For starters, MrStarGuy is an authority on astrophotography gear - no matter what you need, whether it's a scope, a mount, a tripod, or something in between, MrStarGuy has what you need.
Secondly, these guys offer their high-quality products for prices that you can actually afford. You get tons of bang for your buck, which isn't always the case in photography.
But maybe most importantly, this family-owned business is committed to service before, during, and after the sale.
They're genuine folks that want their customers to feel like old friends.
If you're excited to expand your photography horizons this year and tackle some night sky photography, be sure to visit MrStarGuy to get all the gear you need.
When I think about where photography is headed in the future, I can't help but think of drone photography.
And when I think of drones, DJI comes to mind.
DJI has some of the very best drones in the business. That's true whether you're a beginner drone photographer or an experienced veteran.
What makes DJI's drones so great is that they're packed with features - like collision avoidance systems and gesture-based flight controls.
Additionally, there are a plethora of options, upgrades, and add-ons that you can use to customize your drone to get the ideal flying and photographic experience.
As drones become more and more popular for photography, you can bet that DJI will be leading the charge in innovating how drones are built and how they perform.
Macphun has been around awhile, and they've developed a reputation as one of the best in the software business.
As they rebrand and become Skylum, it's important to note that this small team of software experts continues to make waves in the photography industry.
In fact, they've won tons of awards over the years for their products, most recently for their impeccable Aurora HDR 2018, which was named by Apple as the app of the year for 2017.
Considering how many apps there are these days, that's quite the achievement!
Speaking of achievements, with Macphun's software, like the aforementioned Aurora HDR, as well as their Luminar 2018, you can achieve great things with your images.
Not only that, but you can create better-looking photos in less time and with less effort, all within platforms that are smartly designed and give you an effortless workflow.
My goal this year is to do a better job of processing my images, and with Macphun by my side, I have no doubt that I will achieve that goal.
Have you ever wanted a new lens but just couldn't bring yourself to shell out the kind of money needed to get truly high-quality glass?
Well, that worry is over now that Lensfinder is on the scene.
Lensfinder is a marketplace where - you guessed it - you can find lenses for great prices.
If you're looking for a rare or high-end lens (or everyday lenses, for that matter), you can use Lensfinder's easy search tools to locate what you need.
Then, you can communicate with the seller, ask questions, and even pay for your new-to-you lens via PayPal, right there within Lensfinder.
You can also sell the lenses you no longer want, too, so it's the best of both worlds.
Lensfinder has built-in fraud protections, seller feedback ratings, and other smart tools that help make your transaction as smooth as possible.
If you want to upgrade your kit this year, check out Lensfinder!
My biggest complaint about cameras is the terrible strap that comes with them at purchase.
The OEM straps are thin, uncomfortable, and just plain get in the way when you're trying to take photos.
That's why Spider Holster is such a game-changer, because they're responsible for getting your camera off your shoulders and onto your hips where you can carry your cameras with greater ease and security.
Just looking at the photo above, you can imagine how much more streamlined your workflow would be if you're using a Spider Holster.
You can carry one camera or two using the Spider Pro (for big DSLRs) or the SpiderLight (for compact, mirrorless, or small DSLR cameras).
They even make hand straps that put your camera right in your hand in the ideal shooting position, all without a long strap always getting in your way.
Spider Holster has revolutionized how to carry cameras. In 2018, I strongly recommend that you let Spider Holster revolutionize the way you work.
When many people hear the word "insurance," they cringe.
But who can blame them? Buying insurance has historically been a process that's time-consuming and frustrating.
Next Insurance has changed how photographers purchase insurance because they've cut out the middleman.
Instead of dealing with a broker, you can visit Next Insurance's website, get a free quote, and get the coverage you need faster and for less money.
By cutting costs, Next Insurance is able to pass those savings on to their customers, so you can get the best coverage without breaking the bank.
From equipment protection to liability for damages to advertising claims, Next Insurance has policies and coverages that will ensure your business will prosper for years to come.
Canvas is one of the oldest mediums that artists use for their work.
But, boy, is it still a gorgeous way to print your photos!
That's especially true if you order canvas prints from CanvasHQ.
Like many of the companies on this list, CanvasHQ demonstrates a commitment to crafting the highest-quality products using the finest materials.
And because of that, their canvases look like a million bucks. I should know - I have several in my house!
CanvasHQ gives you a mountain of options to customize your prints, and each print comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
These guys are a small family business, so when you order your canvas, you'll feel like a member of the family, not just another customer.
If that's not enough to convince you to buy from CanvasHQ, I don't know what will!
If filmmaking is your passion, then you need to see what Syrp has to offer in 2018.
As one of the most innovative companies in the photography industry, Syrp is always at the leading edge of what's new for filmmakers.
Their line of products helps videographers of all skill levels and experience to create breathtaking films.
Their Genie Mini motion control device (shown above) - which gives you control over your camera to create time-lapse videos using your cell phone - is just one of their incredible products.
They also have sliders, filters, ball heads, motion control bundles, and much more, so you can get outfitted for filmmaking quickly and without spending a ton of money, either.
Never before has making time-lapses and real-time videos been so easy!
I fully admit that I've been an Apple enthusiast for quite some time.
However, my love affair with Apple has waned in the last few years, and that's thanks to Microsoft.
Even though it's a household name and one of the largest companies in the world, Microsoft still approaches the process of creating products the same way - with the end-user in mind.
In particular, their Surface line of products is especially impressive for photographers because they have technologies that make the daily grind of business easier and make things like post-processing a more efficient process as well.
With touch-enabled screens, innovative tools like the Surface Pen and Surface Dial, and machines that are stocked with technology that makes them faster, more efficient, and with more battery life, there's a lot to love about what Microsoft is doing with the Surface product line.
If you want to maximize your workflow, consider seeing what Microsoft can do for you.
Sometimes, being innovative means helping bring the past into the present.
That’s precisely what Wolverine Data does.
Their new Wolverine 8mm & Super8 Reels to Digital MovieMaker is a fully automated gadget that digitizes all those old 3, 5, 7 and 9-inch film reels into high-quality movies at 1080p.
It’s a standalone machine that handles the frame-by-frame conversion without the need for software or drivers, or even a computer. The film scans directly to the machine where it’s saved to a SD/SDHC card (not included). The entire process requires just a few steps to complete.
The resulting movies are compatible with all Windows, Mac, and Linux systems, and you can playback the digitized movies directly to a TV with the included TV cable.
If you don’t have tons of old film reels collecting dust on a shelf in your house, I’m willing to bet you know someone that does...
Instead of letting those films degrade and take family memories along with them, this year, use Wolverine Data’s innovative new movie maker to convert your films to digital before those memories are lost forever!
This company is so impressive, I decided to put them on this list twice!
If you photograph products that are bigger than what the MyStudio MS20PRO can accommodate, the MyStudio US31 tabletop photo studio is the perfect choice.
Measuring 31”x19”x16”, it gives you plenty of room to maneuver your products, and true to form, MyStudio has ensured that from every angle, your images benefit from a gorgeous infinity background.
This tabletop studio features two color corrected, 5000K ultra bright LED lights that bathe the studio (and your products) in bright, clean, even light. These lamps are so bright, in fact, that you don’t need any additional lighting whatsoever. Just set up the studio, place your products inside, and you’re ready to go!
You can see just how clean and even the lighting is in the sample photo I took of my camera gear and bag.
I took that image when I was at Photo Plus 2017. I had the pleasure of seeing the folks from MyStudio while I was there, and managed to closely inspect the craftsmanship and materials used in their US31 studio.
They clearly took no shortcuts in the quality of materials used or in the build quality. The design allows for even distribution of light, and quick set up. In short, I was more than impressed with the US31 Studio!
One of the downers about taking photos is that eventually you run out of room to display them.
But the Joy Smart Photo Album takes care of that issue...
It's not your everyday digital photo album, either. Instead, Joy is a storytelling device that allows you to connect with your friends, family, and loved ones because it has voice notes that allow you to narrate each photo memory. You can even conduct voice calls between two Joy devices and share a screen so you can share memories together with loved ones that are far away.
The great thing about Joy is that it doesn't have to remain on the shelf or table - you can take it with you to the couch to enjoy up-close.
And when you aren't enjoying the photo album in your lap, it has a wireless charging stand that charges its batteries and displays your photos in slideshow mode.
Joy has a companion mobile and web app that allows you to load new albums and even invite friends and family to add their photos for display. You can easily pull photos from social media as well.
And with a 13.3-inch full HD display, your photos will look beautiful, too!
One of the hallmarks of a great photo is attention to detail - ensuring that each aspect of the image is perfect.
Well, that sentiment holds true for photography gear, and there's no one better at the details than Holdfast.
These guys make some of the most incredible camera bags I've ever seen. And that's saying a lot because I've owned plenty of great bags over the years.
But what sets Holdfast apart is that attention to detail I mentioned, as well as the amazing materials they use to craft their bags and other products.
We're talking about bridle leather, water buffalo leather, American bison leather, and even python skin.
On top of that, Holdfast's products are smartly designed so you can carry more gear, more efficiently, all while keeping each piece of kit safe and secure.
If you're looking to upgrade your camera bag in 2018, look no further than Holdfast.
When you talk about companies that have revolutionized how you take photos, Alpine Labs has to be in the conversation...
Their Pulse camera remote - and now their new Spark camera remote - have made taking great still photos, time lapse videos, long exposures, and real-time videos much easier and more accessible to even novice photographers.
These gadgets are packed full of powerful software and hardware that literally make it possible for you to create a time lapse video with just a few presses and swipes on your mobile phone.
Creating long exposures is equally as easy.
But don't think that because Alpine Labs has made things easy that their products are somehow cut-rate.
These are the best camera remotes on the market, and Alpine Labs is constantly making them better. That just makes me wonder what they have in store for us in 2018!
When you start out as a photographer, there's a ton on your plate.
Well, to be fair, even when you're a well-established photographer, there's still a lot on your plate!
But when you're getting your business put together, there's plenty that needs to be done.
Aside from the more obvious things - like getting all the necessary gear, marketing your products and services, and creating a workspace - there are other tasks to be completed that are just as essential for your long-term success.
One such task is getting the proper insurance for your business, including liability insurance.
The question is, why do you need liability insurance as a photographer?
Here are a few of the top answers to that question.
Liability Insurance Covers Injuries
Here's a nightmarish scenario for you...
Let's say you've booked a high-end gig at a fancy hotel. You'll be taking portraits of event-goers as well as candid shots of patrons as they mingle at the event.
Everything is going smoothly until one of the light stands you've set up for portraits falls over, injuring one of the people you're photographing.
As a result of the incident, the person suffers a broken leg and promises that you'll soon hear from their lawyer regarding a lawsuit.
If you don't have liability insurance, such an occurrence could easily spell financial disaster for your business.
However, if you have liability insurance, like a general liability policy from Next Insurance, you'll be covered.
Liability Insurance Covers Medical Expenses
Sometimes when an injury occurs, the injured simply want money to pay for medical expenses rather than going to court with a lawsuit.
And while avoiding court is great, medical expenses can certainly add up.
Fortunately, if you have liability coverage, you don't have to worry about paying for someone's medical expenses if they're injured as a result of your actions.
For example, if the person injured in the scenario above has $3,500 in medical expenses, your liability insurance will pay for it.
- Things to Consider When Buying Professional Photographer's Insurance
- Avoid These Common Mistakes When Starting a Photography Business
What About Property Damage?
Using the same example as above, let's say that when your light stand falls that it doesn't just injure a person but also cracks a couple of the marble tiles on the floor.
The hotel staff informs you that the cracked tiles will need to be replaced and reset, and that you will need to foot the bill for those repairs since it was your gear that caused the damage.
A few weeks later, you're hit with a flooring repair estimate of $4,500.
Again, without photography insurance, that money would have to come out of your pocket.
But, if you're covered by a general liability policy, you'll be covered.
In fact, some insurance companies offer robust coverage - like a $1 million limit with a $0 deductible - for a price that's affordable. That's peace of mind that no photographer should be without!
How About When Mistakes Occur?
Another area in which having liability insurance is a godsend is when mistakes or accidents occur.
Assume, for example, that you book a wedding for the second week of the month. However, in the chaos of the workday, you accidentally enter the date as the third weekend of the month.
When you don't show up on time to the gig, the angry couple calls, wondering where you are.
With no time to rectify the situation, there's nothing you can do. Instead, the couple has to find a last-minute fill-in for you, and sends you the bill afterward.
Again, liability insurance will cover such occurrences to help protect your business and your bottom line.
Here's yet another situation in which liability insurance can save your bacon...
Let's say you use your photos for marketing purposes, and that you get written permission from each client before you use their likeness in your marketing materials.
But let's also say that one of the clients from whom you got permission doesn't like the images you used of them.
As a result, they sue you for violating their privacy.
Whether they have a legal foot to stand on or not, you'll have legal fees incurred. Fortunately, photographer's liability insurance has you covered.
In other words, liability insurance is like an umbrella for you and your business. It protects you from legal actions that result from accidents, injuries, and other claims against you.
Sure, the hope is that you never need your insurance, but in the event you do, it could end up saving your business from certain financial disaster.
With that in mind, I can't emphasize how important it is to do some research about photographer's insurance.
Though there are many insurance companies that offer photographer's insurance, in my book Next Insurance is the best of the bunch.
Not only do they offer smart options for covering your business, but they also offer affordable options (and even have monthly payment plans!).
Additionally, there's no middleman to worry about with Next Insurance. You go to their website, get a quick quote, pay for it online, and can even print out proof of insurance cards right then and there.
There's simply not an easier, more streamlined way to get the insurance coverage you need!
- Visit Next Insurance to Get an Instant Online Quote
- 4 Common Misconceptions About Photographer's Insurance
If you're just starting your photography business, there's a lot you need to consider.
Naturally, you need to be concerned with having the knowledge base, skills, and photography know-how to create images that people want to buy.
You also need the right gear, a place to work, a website and social media presence, contracts, and model release forms. And that's just the beginning!
When building a business that has the potential to be successful in the long-term, you need to be sure that you're covered if and when something goes wrong, which is why we’ve come to really like the photographer insurance provided by Next Insurance.
They are founded by three guys who had a terrible experience getting basic business insurance for their previous startup. The plans were confusing, the premiums were high, and they couldn’t even buy a policy online! They felt like they were getting hosed. They agreed that if they founded another company together, they’d take on the insurance industry, specifically focusing on the needs of small business owners. What we’ve been most impressed by is the flexible coverage they have developed to meet the unique needs of a professional photography business.
Once you’ve decided you’re ready to buy insurance, the question becomes, “what does my insurance policy cover?”
What Does It Cover?
When looking for a professional photography insurance policy, the first thing to consider is what's covered.
That means you need to confirm that it actually covers you and doesn't have crazy exemptions.
For example, an ideal choice is General Liability (GL) coverage, which covers you for bodily injury or property damage to a shoot location. For example, GL covers you if your light stand falls and injures your client during a photoshoot and they sue you for $200,000. Or, you scratch the hardwood floor on location and the owner sues you for a $5,000 reflooring bill. In other words, GL coverage protects you in the event that there’s an accident and you get sued.
Having all your expensive gear covered is a must as well. That's where Equipment Protection coverage comes in. Like General Liability, it comes with its own set of considerations.
Next Insurance’s GL plans offer $1 million of coverage per occurrence with a $2 million aggregate limit (that is the maximum amount Next will pay over the course of a year) . What's more, should your equipment suffer damage or theft, they offer Replacement Cost Coverage, which means you will either be reimbursed for the damaged gear or you'll get a new gear (as opposed to many insurance companies that will repay you for the used value of your equipment).
Additionally, there's no location-based limits on your equipment coverage with Next Insurance. What's not to like about that?!
How Affordable Is It?
You don't want to skimp on your professional photography insurance, but at the same time, when you're just starting out, money will be tight.
That means you need to keep an eye on how much insurance policies cost and how much bang you get for your buck.
Specifically, check to see if you can pay on a month-by-month basis. That gives you a little more flexibility with your budget than having to pay a big lump sum once or twice a year.
Likewise, be sure that you can cancel the policy without being charged a fee. That protects you in the event that you won't be working for awhile.
Again, for that kind of flexibility, Next’s insurance for photographers is the way to go. With plans starting at just $21/month that can be paid on a month-by-month basis, it's the ideal partner to help you get your business off the ground without spending a ton of money.
How Easy is It to Use?
Let's face it - insurance jargon is complicated, and you don't have time to learn all those complex terms and conditions.
That means that you need an insurance company that makes the process of getting affordable coverage streamlined, simple, and easy to understand.
To begin, you want to work with a company that treats you like an individual with your own unique needs, not as just another transaction. You also want to be sure that when you speak with your insurance broker that they actually help you understand your policy, instead of throwing complicated legal jargon at you.
Really, what it comes down to is working with a company that offers simple policies that have the coverage you need at an affordable price. Next Insurance does just that.
What's more, insurance is about building a relationship with clients. Too many insurance companies suck the life out of their clients with inflexibility and impersonal interactions.
But Next Insurance is the polar opposite, which brings me to my final point...
What is the Customer Service Experience Like?
At Next Insurance, there's a customer service team that you can easily connect with if something comes up. In fact, their licensed insurance advisors are on-call 11-hours a day to assist you with any problems or questions that arise.
Beyond that, Next Insurance is focused on streamlining the process of getting insurance by getting you what you need digitally.
That means you don't have to chase down your insurance broker on the phone to get a policy or change your coverage.
With Next Insurance, you can get a policy online in just a few minutes and have an immediate Proof of Insurance to show to your client.
In other words, Next Insurance ticks all the boxes - they offer the right plans for photographers at an affordable price, it's easy to use, and the customer service experience is second-to-none.
As you start out on your photography journey, don't settle for cut-rate insurance. Instead, work with Next Insurance - www.next-insurance.com - and get photography insurance online now!