By Danielle Brooks
I seriously think PPA hit the jackpot when they asked me to guest blog for them. I'm not saying I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread, rather so much has happened to me in the past year that I am running the gamut of all things newsworthy. It started with Imaging USA, me losing my job, jumping head first into full-time photography, and literally applying everything I learned at Imaging USA as a business owner. I am so honored to be sharing my ups and downs with you all, and this post is certainly no different.
This past month I had the most horrific thing that could ever happen to a photographer happen to me. I broke my camera and lens. I still wince even when I type the words.
I was at Harley Davidson in Daytona Beach when it happened. My husband's company sold them some LED lights for their showroom. I was tasked with taking the before and after photos. My tripod had been acting up lately and I should have taken that as a sign. Sometimes one of the leg joints would give out--the latch wasn't tight enough to keep the leg extended, and because my tripod was cheap there was no way to tighten them. Although at the time, I didn't know that's what was happening. I just thought I was being careless and didn't latch my tripod leg all the way, so sometimes when I was taking a long exposure, it would start to tilt.
Well, this time I left my tripod unmanned to remove some stuff from view. Don't judge. You know we ALL do it. The leg gave way. I didn't see it happen fortunately, or else I might have passed out. All I heard was the crash and the slew of profanities that left my mouth. I ran over to my camera and saw that the lens essentially broke off at the mount. The mount for the lens was still attached to the ring. Luckily no glass was broken. I didn't notice it at the time, but the top of my camera body was cracked. It still seemed to function normally, but we needed to get that fixed too. The only thing I can compare the feeling of breaking your camera to would be accidentally slamming a child's finger in the car door. It probably hurts you more than it hurts them. Plus you're left with the residual guilt.
Fortunately, as a PPA photographer, my gear is covered. I called the insurance company and immediately spoke with a representative. No automated service. I was impressed.
The woman I spoke with was so calm and reassuring. I'm sure she went home that day and had a good laugh with her family about my quivering, nervous voice on the verge of a breakdown. They emailed me the packet of info I would need to start a claim that day. They told me I could take my gear anywhere to get it fixed and get a quote. My husband and I were already headed to Orlando for our anniversary trip. It just so happened that the biggest Canon representative in the state of Florida is in Orlando. So we swung by.
They quoted me for the work and then pointed me in the direction of the nearest camera rental facility, which just so happened to be right down the street. We went over there and were able to get a rental. They aren't open on weekends and I had a shoot scheduled for Monday. So I HAD to get a camera. All the while I had two clients call back and book sessions. I was beyond relieved that things worked out for me what would have otherwise been a stressful situation.
Needless to say, I threw away my tripod and bought a legit one. Never use subpar equipment when it comes to cameras. Unfortunately it was a lesson I had to learn the hard way.
So if there is any takeaway from this, it's GET INSURANCE ON YOUR GEAR! You can't afford not to. Just by being a PPA member, you have up to $15,000 of PhotoCare Equipment Insurance. You'll be thankful you have it when you need it!