Health and Safety for Photographers LO4

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Learning Outcomes – 1

AC 4.1: Identify and use safe working photographic practices

Health and Safety for Photographers.

“There is no such thing as an accident, the old saying goes. They don’t happen, they are caused and all accidents are preventable. In the majority of cases, this is true. Here are ways to ensure the health and safety of both the Photographer, the public and equipment.

Safety is YOUR responsibility.

Health and safety: the concept of hazard and risk, correct posture and seating for computer use, visual display unit breaks, risks in the studio and on location

Using tripods and drones in London

Whatever location you are using, no matter how public it seems, it is likely you’ll need to notify or get permission from somebody.

The impact of failing to inform relevant authorities could result in unnecessary police resources being deployed. It can disrupt your filming and photography in the local community.

Public locations

London is divided into 33 separate boroughs and each has its own Borough Film Service (BFS) to deal with filming requests for all local authority managed locations. These include:

  • Streets
  • Estates
  • Commons
  • Town halls,
  • Schools
  • Shopping centres
  • Leisure Centres

Find out more about working with Boroughs

What is photography level?

Levels is a tool in Photoshop and other image editing programs which can move and stretch the brightness levels of an image histogram. It has the power to adjust brightness, contrast, and tonal range by specifying the location of complete black, complete white, and midtones in a histogram.

What skills should a photographer have?

  • Creativity.
  • Technical photography skills.
  • Patience and concentration.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Strong networking skills.
  • Team working skills.

What does amateur photographer mean?

Perhaps the most straightforward way of separating amateurs from professionals is looking in the dictionary. By definition, an amateur is “a person who engages in a pursuit or activity for pleasure rather than for financial benefit.” On the other hand, the definition of a professional is a little less straightforward.

Keep safe with a camera

If you need to move while shooting photos, move the camera away from your eyes while you walk and then begin reusing the camera once you arrive at your new location. Another option to help you avoid injuring yourself from a stumble or slip while working around water or unstable terrain is to make use of a tripod.

Equipment insurance

Whatever level of expertise a photographer is at, there will be equipment. If this is lost or damaged, it incurs the unwanted expense. The first thing to consider is insurance. Is equipment covered under home insurance or is specialist insurance required. Remember, most people underinsure. Catalogue all equipment, model, serial number, value, date of purchase if possible. Also include accessories, down to cleaning equipment, cables, memory cards, bags, hoods etc. in case the insurance company ask for an insurance assessor to make a judgment. All this will be taken into account before a final pay-out. Is the policy new for old? Does the company replace, or provide a cheque so you can purchase replacements? What is the excess? Is there no claims protection? All of these should be considered.

Your Equipment:

ALWAYS keep your equipment with you at all times, whether outdoors or in the studio. Know what equipment you have with you and check regularly. I have found cases, lens caps, memory cards, eyepiece covers, cameras, mobile phones etc. on a number of occasions. There is nothing more annoying to a photographer than losing kit. I know. It happened to me but luckily it was returned to me a month later, but that month was horrible, especially for the first two hours, explaining to the Police what happened!


This should be second nature, but there are often news reports of people taking photographs and getting severely injured or dying to take a photograph when outside, whether a selfie or a panoramic shot. Be aware of the surroundings. Are there any dangers? Loose ground, water, trip hazards, steep drops, wild animals etc. The list is endless. Our safety is your responsibility. You only have one life. Take care of it. Remember when looking through the viewfinder it is easy to lose contact with the surroundings. If in a precarious area, like a waterfall, a gorge etc, use Live View so that you are still aware of your surroundings.

Photography and the law

There is a great deal of misinformation about where a photographer can photograph, and about being told to delete photographs etc. Ask for permission to take a person’s photograph. Respect peoples’ privacy and be very aware of photography where children are concerned.
I was told, rather aggressively, to delete a photograph I took of a building in Croydon because it had him in it. He could identify himself by his blue trainers although it was taken from the other side of the road, which he ran across, being narrowly missed by the traffic! Be aware of private property and restrictions. Check for studs or outlines on the ground which can indicate where property boundaries are. Some places have restrictions on the use of tripods/monopods but allow hand-held photography. Be aware ALL land in the UK is owned by someone. However public land, such as roads, pavements, parks, beaches etc. are usually ok for photography.
A good place to get clarification is here:

The Environment:

“Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints”.Respect your environment, whether urban or rural. Take any rubbish home with you or dispose of sensibly. Respect nature and be aware of the Countryside Code. Do not disturb wildlife. Some species, like bats, are protected species and require a licence, while others can be dangerous, such as deer, seals, terns etc. so be aware.

Your camera:

This is possibly the most expensive piece of kit you have, possibly after the lenses, so you want to look after them, as well as yourself, so here are some tips.


Keep your camera with you on a shoot. Protect it from excessive heat/cold, and from adverse situations like moisture, sand, dust etc. When moving between extreme hot/cold, protect the camera by putting it inside clothing, bag etc. and if in a wet environment like heavy rain, waterfalls etc. place in a plastic bag or equivalent. Even better use a waterproof housing. Wipe it often and store it in a secure place, like a camera bag etc.

Ensure the batteries are suitable for your camera and charged. The wrong battery could overheat and damage your camera, short circuit it if it is too powerful, or become jammed in the camera, an expensive mistake.

As already mentioned, when changing lenses always replace lens caps especially the end that connects to the camera, to prevent dust from getting inside. Have the cap on the replacement lens lose, so that the lens can be replaced quickly. Ideally keep the camera and lens horizontal as the lens is removed, and have the removed lens uppermost again to reduce the likelihood of dust getting inside until the lens caps can be replaced. When removing the lens, switch the camera off. If storing, put the cap on the camera as well.

Be safe, and enjoy a trouble-free photographic experience.


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