NCFE level 1 Photography
HEALTH AND SAFETY – Unit 1
Essentially, just like any other profession, Health and Safety Regulations around photography are mainly about common sense. That, and limiting the amount of hazards as far as practically possible, whilst taking responsibility to ensure one’s own health, safety and welfare, and that of any photo subjects whilst working.
Be mindful of trip hazards when using tripods, and or lighting stands either outside, or in the studio. If you’re in a public place for example, be aware that the tripod represents a trip hazard to yourself, and also to passers by. Having tripped over them myself on several occasions now, I realise the importance of this one! NB. Also lookout for traffic, (no matter how good the shot… I’ve been beeped at more than once) cyclists, kerbs (yep…) and people. This awareness should also extend to waterways, and steep slopes. It’s a good job Tripod Carrier is also my lookout, and very practised at catching me when I’m off balance!! (an unfortunate effect of my ill health).
Common sense would dictate that you do not obstruct the pathways. Not just because it is a legal requirement not to do so.
In the studio, use the correct lighting stand for the photographic lighting you are using. Do not over reach/raise the lighting stand, this may cause the stand to tip over. Lights get hot!! To prevent the risk of burns, either to yourself or your model, remember to use safety gloves when handling hot bulbs, or adjusting ‘barn doors’ for studio lighting.
Make sure there’s room in the studio for everyone to move around safely.
Cables should be taped securely to the floor with gaffer tape or protected with rubber mats, or wired upwards so as not to cause a trip hazard. Make sure cables are properly unwound and not left on a coil. A coiled extension cable can become hot if left wound up whilst in use and then become a potential fire risk.
Photography Backdrops should be taped or weighted down to minimise risk of damage. It’s very often dark in a studio because of the low light levels. Trip hazards are less obvious in the dark! Pay extra attention to how you move around.
At the end of a studio session, it’s advisable to allow your lighting rig to cool down properly before moving, after shooting. All equipment should be safely moved to the edges of the studio.
Members of the public do not need a permit to take photos in public places. You do not have to ask permission to take people’s photo’s, but it’s probably better that you do. A winning smile, and a compliment go a looong way. 🙂 If you wish to take photographs in a private place and publish them, you’ll need to obtain permission, and a ‘model release’ or consent form. In this day and age, it seems a little obvious to say that if you wish to take photo’s of other peoples children, you must obtain permission from their parent or guardian.
You must be aware that whilst you have rights to take photos, if the police regard you as a terrorist threat (a little unlikely in my middle-aged-Nanna-person) they can stop and search you.
You cannot (and should not..) trespass to take photo’s. If you want to take photo’s on private land, ask permission. If you are friendly, polite and professional, most people will grant permission.
Public Liability Insurance – If you are being paid to take photographs you need to take out public liability insurance, which should cover you for any liability for damage caused to another person or property whilst working.
Most photographers, as I now know, spend long periods of time hunched over either, a camera on a tripod, or a computer. You can limit the potential issues of injury through back strain, by being aware of how you lift, and carry your photography equipment. Don’t overload yourself, and bend at the knees rather than bending your back. When both editing and writing my blog, I can spend a considerable amount of time at the pc. It’s important to take regular breaks to reduce headaches, and eye strain. Rather like Goldilocks & the Three Bears story, the chair I’m sitting in, right now, dear reader, is perfect for Tripod Carrier, but causes me some discomfort, so getting up and moving around does help. You may be relieved to hear that I have an ergonomically designed wrist, and mouse pad and, a very comfy foot rest. 🙂 Be aware of screen glare, use brightness and contrast settings to reduce flicker.
Cameras are expensive items to replace. Insurance is a good idea, especially if you intend to take photos in an area where you might expect to be robbed (mmm hmm… I know… maybe you think you wouldn’t be?) but if you are taking photo’s whilst away on a trip somewhere abroad, for instance. Don’t make a big show of your marvellous camera…Try not to ‘advertise’ your very expensive camera, don’t make it obvious. Keep it in a bag that doesn’t advertise its’ value, use a secure strap, and do not leave your camera bag unattended.
Another good reason to be careful whilst shooting, is dropping expensive camera parts. Indeed, last week when shooting at Kew Gardens with a fellow student I dropped my lens!! EEEK! For a heart stopping moment as I picked it up, I feared the worst, but thanks to our Tutor, Zigs’ advice to buy a UV filter to protect the lens, my lens was safe whilst the £6 UV filter was completely smashed… lesson heeded and learned.
This will be my last post on Negative Thoughts Level 1, but please do come and join me on my level 2 journey.
P.s…. Wish me luck… 😉