I know this seems basic, but a year or so ago I heard a horror story about a new photographer who dropped a camera at a wedding and went into panic mode, so that makes this a short, but oh so relevant topic today. New photographers are notorious for not having depth in their equipment, but every now and then there's a story about a seasoned veteran who just got too comfortable and hit a project without a back up plan.
Murphy's Law: If anything can go wrong it will.
Murphy's Second Law: Murphy was an optimist!
There’s more than just your skill set that separates you from Uncle Harry. It’s the depth of gear in your camera bag! Uncle Harry just has that one camera and maybe two lenses. That’s all he’s got and even if it’s a better camera than you have, he doesn’t know what to do when things go wrong.
Calling yourself a professional photographer carries with it some heavy responsibilities. It's about being relaxed and knowing what to do when something goes wrong. It’s about being confident because confidence breeds more confidence versus fear that only breeds panic.
Here’s a short list of basic questions to answer if you’re going to be a success as a professional.
- Do you have a back-up camera body?
- You don’t need a lot of lenses, but you need the overlap in coverage so if for some reason a lens doesn’t work, gets dropped, jams, whatever, you can still complete the job.
- How’s your depth on lighting? It takes so little today to have an extra strobe with you.
- What about backing up your files during a wedding? Are you set up with a system to download save and then get back to shooting? Do you have back-up cards?
- If your gear was stolen while you were shooting or just before, do you have a back-up plan? Here’s where you want to get know your local camera store, rental house and even the sales rep for the company whose gear you shoot. They all need to be in your network.
- Just like Who Wants to be a Millionaire – if you need to phone a friend, do you know who it’s going to be? This is also why going to your local photographer meetings, PPA Guilds etc. becomes so important. You need to know the community of photographers around you. It’s about building your network, so you’ve got somebody to throw you a life-line before you sink!
- Here's a big one on back up plans - who's your back up if something goes wrong and you can't make the appointment? Who knows all your procedures? Does somebody have account information, including your bank account and the ability to write a check in your absence?
The list of things to think about in running a successful business goes on and on, but this is enough to at least get you thinking about your plans.
When we were all kids we got used to do fire drills on a regular basis. Sadly, as adults we completely forgot about fire drills. Just be prepared for those unexpected challenges, so at the very least you've got a few different back up plans in place.
Photo Credit: © defun - Fotolia.com