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Top 5 Risks for Photographers and Videographers

When things go well in your photography or videography business, life is beautiful: you're making money doing work you love while helping your clients document some of the most important moments of their lives. But when things go wrong — and something always goes wrong — a dream scenario can turn into a nightmare pretty fast.

Here's a look at five of the biggest risks that independent photographers and videographers face in their work.

Risk 1: Simple Mistakes

Risk 1: Simple Mistakes

You thought the bride wanted everything in black and white. The bride insists she said nothing in black and white. She's on the phone reviewing photos and you both have a horrible sinking feeling in your gut. So what happens when a client is completely dissatisfied with your work? On the mild end of things, you probably won't have a repeat client. If the client is angry, they might post a negative review online or discourage their contacts from hiring you. If the client is really upset and / or thinks they suffered a significant financial or emotional loss because of your work, they might sue you.

While none of those scenarios is good for a business, the lawsuit would likely be the most financially devastating. The good news is that Professional Liability Insurance can cover such lawsuit expenses — and implementing a policy that involves frequent check-ins before committing anything to film (or digital pixels) can prevent a lawsuit from happening in the first place.

Risk 2: Missed Deadlines

Risk 2: Missed Deadlines

The deadline for getting christening photos to the happy new parents may not be set in stone, but for photo or video journalists, due dates are often firm. Unfortunately, missing a deadline can qualify as a breach of contract, whether or not the consequences have a real-world impact. And as in the example above, the fallout from missing a deadline can range from a slightly unhappy client to a full-blown lawsuit. Luckily, E&O Insurance can cover lawsuits of contract breaches, including missed deadlines.

Even better? The beefed-up communication practices that prevent miscommunications can also prevent missed deadlines — after all, telling a client you're running behind may be all they need to know to agree to a later delivery.

Risk 3: Bad Luck

Risk 3: Bad Luck

Sometimes, things go wrong and there's nothing you can do about it. For example, if your memory card malfunctions in the middle of a bar mitzvah or a light in your studio falls and shatters, you could lose hours of work and possibly have to compensate a client for the botched photos. But when you're working on other people's property and trying to capture images of unpredictable events, anything can happen.

While there's no such thing as "bad luck insurance," having a sturdy risk-management plan in place can help minimize the negative impact of any bad luck that befalls your business. Risk management includes everything from establishing a clear plan for communicating with clients (yes, this is the third time we've mentioned it — it's important), having a system for backing up files and replacing damaged equipment and parts on the go, and protecting yourself with adequate insurance in case of a worst-case scenario.

Risk 4: Slips and Falls

Risk 4: Slips and Falls

This one shouldn't come as a surprise: slips and falls are one of the leading causes of injury for all types of business. And when you're carting around tripods and camera bags and posing subjects outdoors, there's plenty of opportunity for someone to trip, slip, and fall. In the best of these cases, the person gets up, dusts themselves off, and is fine. But what if it's a brittle-boned great-grandmother or someone who hits their head?

The truth is, slips and falls lead to millions of trips to the ER every year. Luckily, General Liability Insurance can cover the costs associated with third-party injuries like falls so that you don't have to worry about dipping into your savings to make sure nobody's concussed.

Risk 5: Data Breaches

Risk 5: Data Breaches

Whether you accept credit card payments on your website, use Square or another mobile payment system, or let your clients make online profiles to view digital drafts, you have the kind of information that hackers and other online criminals find attractive and might want to steal. Data breaches can be expensive, largely because many states have laws that require notification and credit monitoring for all affected clients.

Maintaining standard security for all your online attributes is an important part of preventing breaches. But if you are attacked, adding a Cyber Liability Insurance endorsement to your BOP can ensure that paying to recover doesn't have to drain your bank account.

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