Tips for protecting your photography business

Tips for protecting your photography business

The creative industry is estimated to be worth £13 million every hour to the UK economy. That’s testament to the hard work of the industry’s professionals. As a professional photographer, you will value your business as much as your clients do. That’s why it’s important to safeguard the future of your career by taking the right steps to protect every element of your business.

Protecting your camera equipment

Whether you regularly take your photography and videography gear to different locations or have a studio set up for client visits, adequate cover is a must. If you fall victim to theft or damage, photographers’ equipment insurance can save you replacing everything out of your own pocket.

Equipment insurance for photographers covers your business equipment wherever you’re based, including when working on location. This can include:

  • Cameras
  • Professional lighting
  • Laptops and hard drives

If you drive your equipment between shoots, it is also covered when in your car. Just ensure everything is appropriately concealed in a safe place, like a locked boot, and all means of entry into the vehicle are securely locked.

Protect your pictures from being copied

Like other creatives, photographers often showcase their work online to get their name out there and seen by potential new clients. However, plagiarism is unfortunately something many creative professionals often battle. A study by Copytrack claims that 2.5 billion online images per day were used without permission or license from their creator in 2018.

By putting your previous work up online, you risk having others copying and claiming your work as their own. Additionally, if you share your professional photographs with your clients before they pay, this leaves you vulnerable to theft.

Here are some tips to protect your creative work:

  • Watermarks
    A watermark is a superimposed image or text branded across your photographs to protect your content. They cannot be removed until you, as the owner, get rid of them.
  • Display of images
    Save your best quality photographs for the paying clients and only post low-res versions of your images online.
  • Copyright information
    Add your unique copyright information to the meta data of your online artwork, so you can prove ownership of the content if required.
  • Seek legal advice
    If a photo is appropriately copyrighted, it is against the law for others to use the image without your consent as the photographer. Should your images be used without your permission, you can seek the advice of legal professionals to recover compensation.

Managing your sales and services

To properly market your photographic skills, prospective clients will want to see your best work. However, you should avoid posting the majority of your final versions online.

Instead, posting low-res samples of your work that are appealing to clients may be a better option. That way, you can showcase your skills without giving away your work by making it more susceptible to theft. Consider showcasing your professional images with clients in person. This way they can see the level of photography they can expect, while you are able to easily manage where those images end up.

Creating a contract

It is also advised clients sign a contract for the payment of your services before work starts. This clearly sets out the legal requirements for payment, including any agreed payment schedules.

The contract should also include a section on your retainment rights of the images. It is an essential part that essentially means you, as the photographer, own the image and are giving them permission to use it. Perhaps most importantly, the contract should clearly state that the client may not sell the images for themselves.

Insurance for shoots

As well as specific equipment insurance for photographers, there are other types of cover to consider.

Professional indemnity insurance for photographers will protect you against claims for breaches of confidentiality and professional negligence. Unlike equipment insurance for photographers, this covers you as a professional as opposed to just your belongings.

Public liability insurance will protect you against compensation claims – if someone is injured on your shoot or there is a fire, for example. It is particularly important to have this type of cover if you are shooting on a client’s premises.

Employers' liability insurance is essential when you have a team of workers to take care of. This will cover you as the employer and your business against any legal claims, such as potential employee injury or illness.

Business insurance for photographers applies to an array of specialisms, including wedding photography, commercial, fashion, sports and even freelance. However, you can tailor your photography insurance to be more specific to your creative area. For example, wedding photographers could ask your photography insurance provider about loss of income coverage, on the off-chance the bride and groom cancel their big day.

Short term photographer insurance

You may not usually consider photography insurance but are looking to meet the requirements of a new client who won’t hire you without it. In this instance, short term photography insurance policies are available to cover that eventuality.

Short term public liability insurance for photographers gives you the special dispensation you need to work on the shoot without tying yourself to a long-term policy that may not have the flexibility you need to work on other projects.

Safeguard your photography business

Starting your own business where you use skills for something you’re passionate about is an exciting prospect. While you’ll benefit from building a client pool and designing your marketing materials, it’s vitally important to protect yourself professionally. Find out more about Find out more about professional photography insurance and protect your business.