Forums > General Industry > What kind of protection do you bring?

Photographer

Marin Photography NYC

Posts: 7249

New York, New York, US

I have a carry permit but I never found the need to carry to a shoot.  Any shoot that I feel unsafe about I decline.  I don't want to ever have to use violence against anyone so I avoid it.  Take photos of potential threats in public and call the police and say hey I feel threatened.  Do not rely on luck.  Do carry mace legal or not.  Never make yourself an easy target. Watch your surroundings call the police even if you aren't sure. It's their job to keep the peace.  Also, a monopod makes for a great head cracker!!! Keep your cell in quick reach and again take their photos with your phone and send them to someone just for safe keeping.  In public places you have every right to! Regardless of the law do it anyway.  A camera is a witness.  Bring a friend, bring mace, bring your gun if you must.  I say never be an easy target!!!

Nov 14 12 06:36 am Link

Photographer

Image Works Photography

Posts: 2890

Orlando, Florida, US

Hire some kick ass security. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8346/8185153890_7d0b5ed585_n.jpg

Nov 14 12 06:40 am Link

Photographer

TheLittleG Photography

Posts: 66

Columbus, Ohio, US

for some and in some areas concealed carry is the way to go. in some areas i have done shoots in you have no cell service at all so 911 is out of the question, and in that same area (which i used to live) it could take the police (in this case a sheriff deputy) up to 45 minutes to get there. yes we had an intruder in our house when we got home one night, he ran out the back door as we came in the front door, it took the sheriff 45 minutes to get there. yes i know this is not the norm, but if you are out in rural america this could potentially happen. pepper spray will only work on maybe one or two people, you have more than that you are in trouble, tripod or other device again is only effective on a couple of people, a weapon is effective on multiple people, as long as you have the proper training and you are prepared to use it.

also nice to have a weapon out in rural area in case a coyote or raccoon or some other unfriendly animal decides they are not happy you are there.

Nov 14 12 06:43 am Link

Photographer

Kevin Fair

Posts: 2533

Palm Coast, Florida, US

I saw a similar thread a year or so ago here.

One photographer posted he had been robbed of his gear on 2 separate occasions and was carrying a gun at the time. I sent him a PM and asked how that went down. Can't remember his exact reply, but it was something like what are you going to do when you have a gun pointed at your face.

I've thought about that a lot. I carry a gun just about all the time, but if I was out photographing something, and someone came up behind me, or stepped out from behind something and was holding a gun on me...what could I do? Ask the person to wait a second while I get my gun out?

I'm not sure if shooting someone in the back as they ran away with your gear would go over well in a court, even in Florida.

A good insurance policy is the best.

Nov 14 12 06:47 am Link

Photographer

GER Photography

Posts: 7956

Imperial, California, US

I have a permit to carry a concealed weapon and at the very least have a NAA 5 shot 22Mag. Revolver in my pocket, I am large enough though, that a 1911 sits nicely in my waistband.

Nov 14 12 06:52 am Link

Photographer

JR in Texas

Posts: 317

Tulia, Texas, US

Be prepared to give up your gear. The best way out may be to drop your camera gear and run like hell - a variation on the old advice about being mugged, to drop your wallet and run. Don't carry more stuff than you can afford to lose.

Know your location so you can describe it if you have to call police. Then be sure you or someone in the group has a phone ready to dial if things start to go bad.

Don't let yourself get cornered. Be sure you have a way out. Or in your situation have someone with you to cover your way off the pier.

Mace or pepper spray may work against one attacker, at most two. With a group it could make things worse.

With a gun things can go either way. The guys may turn and run, or they may just pull out their own weapons and start firing. They may even decide it's worth some extra risk to steal your piece.

Nov 14 12 06:55 am Link

Photographer

Photo Visions

Posts: 1034

Cape Coral, Florida, US

I have a carry permit, and ALWAYS have a gun on me.
One night (6pm) going to dinner with my wife, we were harassed by three
guys looking to fight with someone. When my gun came out, they changed
their mind.

I waa prepard to kill all three of them, but fortunatly they backed down.
If i didn't have my gun with me, i would have been in big trouble.

Nov 14 12 06:56 am Link

Photographer

Kaouthia

Posts: 3152

Lancaster, England, United Kingdom

TheLittleG Photography wrote:
we had an intruder in our house when we got home one night, he ran out the back door as we came in the front door, it took the sheriff 45 minutes to get there.

You just reminded me of this...

Going to bed the other night, I noticed people in my shed stealing things.
I phoned the police but was told no one was in the area to help. They said they would send someone over as soon as possible.

I hung up. A minute later I rang again. 'Hello,' I said, 'I called you a minute ago because there were people in my shed. You don't have to hurry now because I've shot them.'

Within minutes there were half a dozen police cars in the area, plus helicopters and an armed response unit. They caught the burglars red-handed.

One of the officers said: 'I thought you said you'd shot them.'

To which I replied: 'I thought you said there was no one available.'

big_smile

Nov 14 12 07:30 am Link

Photographer

fullmetalphotographer

Posts: 2789

Fresno, California, US

As a photojournalist I have covered gang fights, shootouts, homicides, and various other types of crime in really bad neighborhoods and many times beat the cops to the crime scene never needed gun. Common sense still beats a gun in those situations.

Nov 14 12 08:42 am Link

Photographer

J O H N A L L A N

Posts: 10330

Santa Ana, California, US

B-don Mc wrote:
...I have even offered $20 for them to hang around and I have hired off duty cops on jobs when I have had the budget...

MMm. Runs around with a concealed firearm while bribing cops. Good plan.

Nov 14 12 08:53 am Link

Photographer

Ezhini

Posts: 1601

Wichita, Kansas, US

Somewhat similar to the OP's experience happened to me once, only once ... knocking on wood.

In the middle of nowhere by a lake in OK,  my assitant, myself and an athelete girl we were to shoot.  No one else was around, except two dudes probably about a quarter of a mile away. Slowly, when they got closer and closer to us, both of them had cameras hanging from their neck and gear bags from their shoulders.

When close enough one of them goes, "Oh, Woow a Mola dish!"  they kept hanging around - not quiet near us, but in the vicinity.

After watching thier seedy eyes and hyena-like pacing around us for about 20 mins. I set all my stuff down and walked up to them and said, "My Mola is in fact for sale, are you guys interested?" and without waiting for an answer, I walked past them to my Jeep, went to the passenger side, open the door and messed with my glove compartment for a few and when I walked back I was adjusting my hands under my shirt, behind  my back and shouted to my assitant, "Hey, I am all set to shoot now."

I did not have a gun but my act worked. Soon after that, they walked away pretty quick and gone.

Since then, even though I have no intentions of habitually putting myself in dangerous situations, I have taken classes at a local range and getting trained to shoot hand guns well enough to earn my Conceal and Carry license. 

By the way, my assitant is a good shot, experienced shooter and she already has her conceal and carry license, but so far, I have never let her carry a gun for photoshoots.

Nov 14 12 09:15 am Link

Photographer

Michael Broughton

Posts: 2244

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

lifestyles skyn large.

Limperis Portraits wrote:
No, not that kind of protection!

oh... then a heavy duty tripod and the ability to seem completely unimpressed by someone who's trying to look threatening.

Nov 14 12 09:33 am Link

Photographer

KMP

Posts: 4825

Houston, Texas, US

I hope my clients wouldn't expect a police officer to take their photos.. I wouldn't expect a photographer to do law enforcement's job.   I agree, hire an off-duty office if there's a question of safety. 

I find all this talk about bringing weapons to a shoot very disturbing. It's a sure way to get someone injured who's NOT the bad guy.

The best protection to carry, is common sense.

Nov 14 12 09:50 am Link

Photographer

Frank Stephens III

Posts: 1210

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US

Limperis Portraits wrote:
No, not that kind of protection!

I was on the end of a pier just before sunrise, shooting with my 5d mark III, a model, and her escort. I noticed a group of guys eyeing what we were doing. Now I've been on shoots where I have to ignore the curious onlookers, but I don't think this group was interested in what we were doing.

They kept whispering amongst themselves, and I would catch them staring a my equipment. As we moved closer to the shore to exit the pier they moved closer to us. Out of no where a 2 police officers wandered up, and this group quickly move away from us back to the end of the pier.

I am wondering would it be legal to carry mace? I know the best advice would be not to get in this situation. How do photographers protect themselves? Please advise

I carry insurance and hire security personnel when the situation warrants it...

Nov 14 12 10:15 am Link

Photographer

Kaouthia

Posts: 3152

Lancaster, England, United Kingdom

KevinMcGowanPhotography wrote:
I hope my clients wouldn't expect a police officer to take their photos..

He might, if they're naughty, although they call them "mugshots". wink

Nov 14 12 10:17 am Link

Photographer

KMP

Posts: 4825

Houston, Texas, US

Kaouthia wrote:

He might, if they're naughty, although they call them "mugshots". wink

LOL...   Excellent hahahah

I had a few clients in the past that probably DID have local law enforcement as their chief photographer... LOL

Nov 14 12 10:29 am Link

Photographer

Connor Photography

Posts: 6597

Elkton, Maryland, US

Ezhini wrote:
Somewhat similar to the OP's experience happened to me once, only once ... knocking on wood.

In the middle of nowhere by a lake in OK,  my assitant, myself and an athelete girl we were to shoot.  No one else was around, except two dudes probably about a quarter of a mile away. Slowly, when they got closer and closer to us, both of them had cameras hanging from their neck and gear bags from their shoulders.

When close enough one of them goes, "Oh, Woow a Mola dish!"  they kept hanging around - not quiet near us, but in the vicinity.

After watching thier seedy eyes and hyena-like pacing around us for about 20 mins. I set all my stuff down and walked up to them and said, "My Mola is in fact for sale, are you guys interested?" and without waiting for an answer, I walked past them to my Jeep, went to the passenger side, open the door and messed with my glove compartment for a few and when I walked back I was adjusting my hands under my shirt, behind  my back and shouted to my assitant, "Hey, I am all set to shoot now."

I did not have a gun but my act worked. Soon after that, they walked away pretty quick and gone.

Since then, even though I have no intentions of habitually putting myself in dangerous situations, I have taken classes at a local range and getting trained to shoot hand guns well enough to earn my Conceal and Carry license. 

By the way, my assitant is a good shot, experienced shooter and she already has her conceal and carry license, but so far, I have never let her carry a gun for photoshoots.

WTF, you were a little jumpy monkey, weren't you.

Nov 14 12 11:18 am Link

Photographer

Gabby57

Posts: 424

Coppell, Texas, US

Ezhini wrote:
Somewhat similar to the OP's experience happened to me once, only once ... knocking on wood.

In the middle of nowhere by a lake in OK,  my assitant, myself and an athelete girl we were to shoot.  No one else was around, except two dudes probably about a quarter of a mile away. Slowly, when they got closer and closer to us, both of them had cameras hanging from their neck and gear bags from their shoulders.

When close enough one of them goes, "Oh, Woow a Mola dish!"  they kept hanging around - not quiet near us, but in the vicinity.

After watching thier seedy eyes and hyena-like pacing around us for about 20 mins. I set all my stuff down and walked up to them and said, "My Mola is in fact for sale, are you guys interested?" and without waiting for an answer, I walked past them to my Jeep, went to the passenger side, open the door and messed with my glove compartment for a few and when I walked back I was adjusting my hands under my shirt, behind  my back and shouted to my assitant, "Hey, I am all set to shoot now."

I did not have a gun but my act worked. Soon after that, they walked away pretty quick and gone.

Since then, even though I have no intentions of habitually putting myself in dangerous situations, I have taken classes at a local range and getting trained to shoot hand guns well enough to earn my Conceal and Carry license. 

By the way, my assitant is a good shot, experienced shooter and she already has her conceal and carry license, but so far, I have never let her carry a gun for photoshoots.

So, they came to shoot at the same spot, then acted restless waiting for you to finish.  Granted they should have gone somewhere else to shoot or wait, but it seems a little odd for camera thieves to bring their own cameras.

Nov 14 12 11:23 am Link

Photographer

Camerosity

Posts: 5317

Saint Louis, Missouri, US

Ezhini wrote:
Somewhat similar to the OP's experience happened to me once, only once ... knocking on wood.

In the middle of nowhere by a lake in OK,  my assitant, myself and an athelete girl we were to shoot.  No one else was around, except two dudes probably about a quarter of a mile away. Slowly, when they got closer and closer to us, both of them had cameras hanging from their neck and gear bags from their shoulders.

When close enough one of them goes, "Oh, Woow a Mola dish!"  they kept hanging around - not quiet near us, but in the vicinity.

After watching thier seedy eyes and hyena-like pacing around us for about 20 mins. I set all my stuff down and walked up to them and said, "My Mola is in fact for sale, are you guys interested?" and without waiting for an answer, I walked past them to my Jeep, went to the passenger side, open the door and messed with my glove compartment for a few and when I walked back I was adjusting my hands under my shirt, behind  my back and shouted to my assitant, "Hey, I am all set to shoot now."

I did not have a gun but my act worked. Soon after that, they walked away pretty quick and gone.

Since then, even though I have no intentions of habitually putting myself in dangerous situations, I have taken classes at a local range and getting trained to shoot hand guns well enough to earn my Conceal and Carry license. 

By the way, my assitant is a good shot, experienced shooter and she already has her conceal and carry license, but so far, I have never let her carry a gun for photoshoots.

Gabby57 wrote:
So, they came to shoot at the same spot, then acted restless waiting for you to finish.  Granted they should have gone somewhere else to shoot or wait, but it seems a little odd for camera thieves to bring their own cameras.

Unless they had just scored one heist and were planning on a double-header. smile

Nov 14 12 11:33 am Link

Photographer

Solas

Posts: 9537

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I bring extra, preferably warm socks, never know when your previous pair is going to get wet and royally ruin your day. Ever try running away from a situation with wet feet? Hello blisters on your heels..

Nov 14 12 11:35 am Link

Photographer

DAN CRUIKSHANK

Posts: 1786

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

I have the strength of Chuck Norris in my thick ginger beard; no one would dare disturb me while I'm shooting.

Nov 14 12 11:35 am Link

Photographer

MN camera

Posts: 1861

Saint Paul, Minnesota, US

If you feel you have to carry a gun, it doesn't make you brave.  It makes you a coward.  I can face the world without a gun, where and when I want.

I also refuse to take stupid chances with someone else's safety and will not knowingly/willingly put another person in a bad situation, be it working in a risky/unsafe area or asking them to do something they're not capable of doing safely.

The single best (and universally available) self-defense technique is called situational awareness and involves heading off trouble before it's developing.

Nov 14 12 11:48 am Link

Photographer

Michael Bots

Posts: 5986

Kingston, Ontario, Canada

MN camera wrote:
The single best (and universally available) self-defense technique is called situational awareness and involves heading off trouble before it's developing.

OK


"A KPIX news cameraman was punched and robbed during a live broadcast"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2O3J5j1cU4


"As Makovec was finishing her report, police said, five men rushed up and grabbed a $6,000 camera from the tripod. Viewers saw the live picture being jarred and turned sideways for about two seconds.
One of the assailants punched Welk in the mouth before the group fled in a Mercedes-Benz, which apparently was accompanied by a Lexus, police said."


"The incident comes amid a series of robberies in which media representatives have been victims throughout Oakland, often in broad daylight.
Veteran Oakland Tribune photographer Laura Oda has twice been robbed of cameras since July.
Late one night in June, a KTVU news crew was robbed of a computer, camera and tripod by several men who pushed their way into their van parked on Redwood Road in the Oakland hills.
In May, a man stole a camera and tripod from a KNTV crew at 20th Street and San Pablo Avenue."

http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Oak … 020757.php

Nov 14 12 11:53 am Link

Photographer

Connor Photography

Posts: 6597

Elkton, Maryland, US

I hide my SPOT II personal GPS tracker in my bag.  If I get robbed, I hand my stuff to them.  My SPOT will emit signal every 2 mins for 3 days silently.  I know exactly where my gear is.  It is even better if I have my iPad there too. 

http://ems.imageg.net/graphics/product_images/pEMS1-6848875venh.jpg

No need to bring a gun or fight.

Nov 14 12 12:03 pm Link

Photographer

photoimager

Posts: 4906

Stoke-on-Trent, England, United Kingdom

Limperis Portraits wrote:
I noticed a group of guys eyeing what we were doing.
.............
How do photographers protect themselves? Please advise

'Muggers' tends to be used as a plural because people who tend to do such tend to not do so alone. To those advocating a gun or other weapon, what are the odds of them having more guns than you ?.

As others have said, if you feel a need for protection then you are in the wrong place.

Nov 14 12 12:06 pm Link

Photographer

Connor Photography

Posts: 6597

Elkton, Maryland, US

DAN CRUIKSHANK wrote:
I have the strength of Chuck Norris in my thick ginger beard; no one would dare disturb me while I'm shooting.

My have a strength of an ant.  No one see me as a threat and no one pay me attention.  I also don't carry Canon PROFESSIONAL white zooms.  big_smile

Nov 14 12 12:08 pm Link

Photographer

TheLittleG Photography

Posts: 66

Columbus, Ohio, US

ok people here are advocating to basically don't go where there may be a problem with muggers...

anywhere you go that is a public place can have problems, so are we to just avoid all public places, here in columbus ohio a couple of weeks ago we had thugs beating up old ladies in the middle of the day at the local grocery store. so we should stop shopping?

i understand the inherent dangerous places, graffiti walls at night, and the such but what about just the regular everyday common places that you have thugs that will just show up?

i say get yourself protection with what ever it is you are comfortable with, my self it is a gun, if it is a "gang" of people trust me if you shoot one of them the rest will run. if it is only one or two people then pepper spray or your tripod will sufice. just be prepared regardless of what you decide to use

Nov 14 12 01:59 pm Link

Photographer

AJ_In_Atlanta

Posts: 12836

Atlanta, Georgia, US

MN camera wrote:
If you feel you have to carry a gun, it doesn't make you brave.  It makes you a coward.  I can face the world without a gun, where and when I want.

I would ask your local law enforcement, they appear face the worst of the world armed ever day but perhaps you think them cowards...

Ignorant BS...

Nov 14 12 02:08 pm Link

Photographer

Ezhini

Posts: 1601

Wichita, Kansas, US

Connor Photography wrote:
WTF, you were a little jumpy monkey, weren't you.

I sure was, Connor.

If only I had Jackie Chan's skills, I would have stayed the cool cat that I usually am tongue, instead of the jumpy monkey bit!

I don't have issues with on-lookers come talk to me, ask me questions or even just shoot the shit for a few while I am working.  But, in the middle of nowhere, two weirdos cricling like vultures waiting for the cow to die (besides, them boys were making the two girls nervous too) sure concerned me.

Nov 14 12 02:10 pm Link

Photographer

DG at studio47

Posts: 2365

East Ridge, Tennessee, US

Loki Studio wrote:
Protecting yourself is reasonable, and the easiest solution is to not attract attention and to avoid areas of high crime. Get insurance for your gear so it is never a loss. 

Escalating violence with a weapon is not the answer.  A call to 911 is the best protection.

I totally agree with the first part of your comment, however....

I was in Florida in 2004 and got lost in a bad part of town. My cell phone was dead and I had to use a phone booth twice to try to call relatives for help. Both times I was approached by individuals demanding money and cursing/ threatening. One of them had a ball bat and another one had a broken glass bottle. I had a replica non-firing .45 shoved in my belt but they were hardly impressed and took their time moving off. I was so shook up I could not dial the phone. It took me 3 years and a lot of soul searching to decide to purchase a gun, take classes/practice at a range, and get a permit.
I look at it this way:"When seconds count, the police are only minutes away"

I agree that calling 911 is the best thing to do, but there will be situations where you have to be prepared to defend yourself immediately. Rare, very rare situations, but totally possible and out of your control.

Nov 14 12 02:22 pm Link

Photographer

Andre2012

Posts: 2

Greenwood Lake, New York, US

Having a dog with you may solve the problem.

Nov 14 12 02:31 pm Link

Photographer

Smitty s Photography

Posts: 80

Sacramento, California, US

studio36uk wrote:
Meet my team
http://evworld.com/press/nigerdelta_masked_rebels.jpg
       MUA,                 my Assistant,                               Hair,                      Stylist,           Driver

Note to Stefano: NOTHING is "disposable" except the bad guys.

Studio36

I've GOT to get some assistants like YOU!!!   ;-P

Nov 14 12 02:39 pm Link

Filmmaker

AOP Studios

Posts: 3545

Los Angeles, California, US

Mace is useless. I know guys who put it on a spoon and drink it. If you can have a gun permit, get it. Or bring a couple of extra people or shoot in places that still have the public around.

But it all depends. I shot in the worst part of East Hollywood and gang bangers all behind me and they dug the shoot and no problems.

I've shot high end Beverly Hills weddings and drunk crashers stole equipment.

Nov 14 12 02:45 pm Link

Photographer

Ezhini

Posts: 1601

Wichita, Kansas, US

Andre2012 wrote:
Having a dog with you may solve the problem.

+1

A 145 lb Brindle English Matiff with the darkest of masks was my buddy and shadow. He used to go with me everywhere I went. We only made friends! tongue

RIP Shamie!

Nov 14 12 02:56 pm Link

Photographer

Oh Gary photography

Posts: 812

Gardner, Massachusetts, US

Loki Studio wrote:
Escalating violence with a weapon is not the answer.  A call to 911 is the best protection.

When seconds count, the police response to 911 is only minutes away.

Nov 14 12 03:04 pm Link

Photographer

hbutz New York

Posts: 3239

Ronkonkoma, New York, US

If ever you find yourself walking down a dark alley which you entered knowing in advance that you really should have a gun on you, turn around and don't go down the alley.

There ya go - no need for guns, mace, 911, cops, lawyers, having to sell your home to pay your legal defense.  All it takes is the courage to say to yourself, "I won't walk down this dark alley because it doesn't seem safe."

No training, permits, or license required.

Nov 14 12 03:21 pm Link

Photographer

fullmetalphotographer

Posts: 2789

Fresno, California, US

I have no issue with gun ownership, but the last place a gun belongs is on a photo shoot. I have been to at least 3 shootings in which the police have shot each other. Some of these were SWAT teams. So unless you are Spetsnaz, MASAD, Israeli Commando or U.S. Special Forces trained you do not need to bring a gun to photo shoot. Because you are as dangerous as the bad guys.

Nov 14 12 04:41 pm Link

Photographer

Guss W

Posts: 10637

Clearwater, Florida, US

fullmetalphotographer wrote:
...
The only time I have seen a gun be effective is when the hammer falls. Only in the movies does waiving a gun scares people off. If you are pulling a gun then you are shooting...

Bad advice.  Good thing you are using a pseudonym or your aggressiveness might be held against you at a later date in court.

A study of those who drew a gun in defense showed that only 24 percent of them fired it.  Simply displaying a weapon is usually good enough to exert a calming effect.  In only about a third of the cases where a shot was fired was the aggressor wounded, so some of the 24% of shooting response may have been just warnings.  So no - you should not always draw with the intent of firing.  Yes, each situation is unique, but re-think your defaults.

Nov 14 12 04:53 pm Link

Photographer

fullmetalphotographer

Posts: 2789

Fresno, California, US

Guss W wrote:
Bad advice.  Good thing you are using a pseudonym or your aggressiveness might be held against you at a later date in court.

A study of those who drew a gun in defense showed that only 24 percent of them fired it.  Simply displaying a weapon is usually good enough to exert a calming effect.  In only about a third of the cases where a shot was fired was the aggressor wounded, so some of the 24% of shooting response may have been just warnings.  So no - you should not always draw with the intent of firing.  Yes, each situation is unique, but re-think your defaults.

Try that in some of the neighborhoods that I have worked in see what happens. wink
BTW my name is in BIO. Also read all posts before taking just one quote. You won't look silly like FOX News or News of the World. wink Cool I just made a 1,000 posts.

PS the gun training I had from cops said if you pulling a gun then you decided to use it, and there was no shooting to wound, it was to kill, maybe it has changed in the last 20. Like I said I do not have an issue with gun ownership I do not own one at this time. But the whole point and design of a gun is to end life. Unless you are sports shooter.

Nov 14 12 05:20 pm Link

Photographer

The F-Stop

Posts: 1510

New York, New York, US

Cell phone 911 and I do carry bear spray.. pepper mace in my pocket....

NYC standard survival kit. 




.

Nov 14 12 06:57 pm Link