Times are hard – money is tight and we all need to make sure what we buy and who we hire are giving us good value, but it's sometimes not JUST about who much things cost.
There will ALWAYS be someone willing to undercut - or work for less than someone else. If you hunt around, you'll probably get someone for free - however there really isn't such thing as a free lunch. Take the cheap option and you may end up in trouble.
One thing that is often overlooked (and not even asked about) is whether your chosen photographer is insured.
It’s not the most glamourous of topics – but it’s a crucial one. Its mutually important for both parties to have protection against something going wrong.
Don’t be embarrassed to ASK a photographer if they are insured. Don’t assume they are. There’s a lot of people claiming to be 'professional' photographers – who just popped down to the camera store and bought a snazzy new camera. Insurance is just as important as having the latest kit. A professional photographer will not be annoyed if you ask if they are covered. If they do get angry – they’re not professional!
The horror stories we tend to read about are usually about wedding photographers – but there’s no difference when it comes to insurance whether it be commercial or private shoots – having adequate cover is critical.
Here’s a few things to look out for.
Check to see if the Photographer is properly qualified. The Master Photographers Association (MPA) & the British Institute Of Professional Photography (BIPP) are the only two associations with recognised photography qualifications. These organisations insist that their members have Professional Indemnity Insurance and Public Liability Insurance – regardless of their quality of photography.
Public Liability, or PL as it is known, covers your liability for any damage you may cause to another person, or property, accidentally whilst undertaking work. This could be a simple accident such as someone falling over a tripod or being “bumped” with a lens or more serious issues that could leave people scarred or disabled for life. The other thing PL covers is 3rd party property damage if someone else’s property is damaged whilst conducting some photographic work.
A photographer has a “duty of care” as does any other professional. If a service is offered in a specific area or classed as a specialist, then the client is owed a “duty of care” to anybody who might reasonably rely upon your service and advice over and above that owed by the ordinary man in the street. Professional indemnity (PI) insurance protects the photographer if they face claims of professional negligence from clients, customers, suppliers or other people.
Insurance isn’t JUST for the photographer – its for the client too. A photographer with no insurance will not be able to afford to pay you compensation. You would have to rely on the courts.
Just make sure you ask and don’t assume – make sure you are both protected