How to Avoid Getting Your Photography Gear Stolen

You’ve spent countless hours finding just the right photography equipment. You’ve researched online, you’ve visited your local photo shops and found just the right mix of cameras, lenses, strobes, tripod and all the accessories. Now, you wouldn’t want to see all of that work turn into a payday for your local thief would you?

Here are some tips and ideas that just might pay off in keeping your latest and greatest photo gear purchases under the radar and off the thieves target list.

vanity-license-plateVanity plates, do you REALLY need that? – This is like a big bold invitation to any thief. You might as well leave a note on your car saying, “Here’s your next payday! Rob me!” If the owner of this vehicle winds up the victim of a break-in, I must admit I will have no sympathy for them. They’ve invited it.

UglifiedCameraMake it look worthless – A thief doesn’t want to waste their time on stealing something they cannot turn around and sell for cash. If your equipment appears old or undesirable, it is of little interest to the thief. So how do you go about doing this? Here is an interesting approach someone used to make their digital camera look like an older film camera, he uglified it.

Make it look like something else – Maybe we can take a tip from our military here. When they do not want their airplanes shot out of the sky what do they do? They make them invisible, they make them stealth. You may be able to do the same with your photo equipment. Make it look like it isn’t even there. Instead of carrying your gear in an expensive camera bag, try something else. Consider a students book bag/backpack, a duffle bag or even a diaper bag. What thief would steal a diaper bag?!

Keep it hidden – Generally speaking, it is a good idea to carry as little as possible. The more gear you’re lugging around, the more likely you are to become a target. With so many very capable consumer level digital cameras on the market today, it is a very easy task to find a camera capable of offering great results which is also small enough to slip into a shirt or pants pocket. Check out ScotteVest for some great garments designed to carry all of your portable technology without looking like it!

When it comes down to it, if you just use a little common sense about when, where and how you use your photo gear, you won’t have any trouble keeping it all out of the greedy hands of your local thief. Keep shooting!

4 Responses to “How to Avoid Getting Your Photography Gear Stolen”

  1. ShaneRiley  on August 21st, 2009

    I definitely want to see your cameras covered with oil-stained masking tape. I don’t think I could ever bring myself to do that.

    The ScotteVests definitely look like a good idea, but will it hold a couple zoom lenses? They look like they hold small or thin stuff other than the water bottle pocket. Have you used them before?

  2. Gary Steadman  on August 21st, 2009

    The ScotteVests aren’t really designed to carry larger DSLR cameras and their accessories.

    I don’t use these vests myself but have heard great things about them from others who do. If you want to carry a laundry list of tech gear (cell phone, iPod, digital camera, Kindle etc.) without it being noticeable I guess these are just great.

  3. Lock Alarm  on October 5th, 2009

    To lose a very expensive photography equipment is one of the saddest things that can ever happen to a photographer. I stumbled upon a website that has cheap options for security and yet can help protect an expensive photography gadgets. I would recommend 120db lock alarm. It has an ear piercing siren that helps to deter potential thieves. When an attempt is made to cut through its ultra-hard steel cable, or attack the main lock unit, the alarm starts screaming! And the alarm screams powerful enough to attract anybody and shoo thieves. I saw them at

  4. SteadmanTech  on October 5th, 2009

    Hello Mr. Lock Alarm, Thank you for your comment. I'd have to say I am not so sure that the product you mention would really be that practical for the purpose you suggest. I'm not sure how it would even attach to the typical camera to begin with. Add the fact that the product weighs as much or more than most portable camera equipment, it becomes a very cumbersome and awkward solution at best. Interesting idea, but I don't think it would be very realistic in use.

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