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I have a professional photographer friend. He works for news agencies. He covers up the brand name on his cameras.

Camera

This was the only photo I could find from him with his camera but it shows the coverings.

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8  
because he wants to use Canon and can't.... :- ) –  Paul Cezanne May 24 '13 at 23:03
    
I've never noticed any of the photojournalists I am friends with or any of the photojournalists I've crossed paths with when shooting events the press is covering hiding the logos on their gear. But then I'm usually there to take photos, not check out everyone else' gear. Maybe it is more commonplace elsewhere. –  Michael Clark May 25 '13 at 7:55
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It would be a good thing if you self-answer this question, after just talking to your friend? Just ask him, and post the answer here. –  Nanne May 26 '13 at 6:01
    
The pros I see at sports events in the hundreds do not cover up their camera brands. I have never seen one covered up, anywhere. You will have to ask your friend why they do it and let us know. –  user20196 May 30 '13 at 5:13
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why do i choose to use a no name brand camera strap rather than one with 'Canon' boldly emblazoned across it. simply because i am anti commercial and don't want to feel like a walking billboard. his reasons are probably more personal than practical as are mine. –  Octopus Jun 6 '13 at 18:20

10 Answers 10

up vote 37 down vote accepted

There are several reasons:

  • For media in particular, this prevents a logo from appearing in media. Events are often covered by multiple photographers and filmed which means that some people working may end up in the media too. Think of a making of video for example.

  • Logos and brands are usually avoided because they may be misinterpreted as en endorsement or be seen as unpaid advertisement.

  • To reduce attention. When photographing in poor or dangerous areas, the less easily someone can recognize you have expensive equipment, the better. In many places I've been asked by strangers how much does your camera cost? and always feel uncomfortable answering them as it often equals months or years of salary for them. It also makes me feel they were asking me if they should rob me :(

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4  
I'm not convinced of your last point, to reduce attention. Perhaps it does so in some situations/locations and with some gear, but if I'm out with my 70-200 with hood attached, there's no way around it: it's a big lens, and everybody knows it's expensive. If you carry a body with a vertical grip, it's the same thing: that's a big body, and everybody knows it's expensive. Covering the logo doesn't make it less conspicuous and doesn't decrease chances of it being stolen, IMO. –  Dan Wolfgang May 24 '13 at 19:29
    
@DanWolfgang - You are right and it is my opinion too. As such I do not bother to cover mine but I know many people who do it for this specific reason. Same for the camera bag. I figure that as soon as they see me take out the camera, they'll know it's a camera bag yet some people cover the logos or cover it with a cheap outer bag. One of my friends went to the extreme and covered has camera tape, even the rear LCD, so that people don't see it's digital! –  Itai May 24 '13 at 19:35
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I'm with ya on this. Regarding the bag, I bet you can also spot a photographer and camera bag even before they take it out -- I know I can! –  Dan Wolfgang May 24 '13 at 19:40
    
@Itai Once you take the camera out they know it's a camera bag but if you're just going somewhere the thief likely doesn't know there's camera equipment in there. I specifically have a camera bag that doesn't look like a camera bag for this reason. –  Loren Pechtel May 24 '13 at 20:29
3  
Some people certainly do tape their gear for those reasons. You're welcome to say that you've never seen that, or even never heard of it, or that you don't take people who do so seriously, but to say that those aren't anyone's reasons at all ever is simply wrong. –  mattdm Jun 3 '13 at 20:35

Ming Thein once said he tapes the brands to "avoid reflections in reflective objects I photograph such as watches." Makes sense if you are into that sort of photography.

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Because he doesn't want to advertise for the camera brand.

This is probably most common among journalists, who tend to take this seriously. (You want an ad, you pay for it!)

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Yesterday I was taking photos at our son's graduation event. At middle of the event, another photographer on the other side of the large room took a direct look at me with his camera (Canon with a long lens) and then turned back to continue his job. That may have been a "gear-check" done on me and it immediately reminded me of this question here.

Covering brand-name and markings on your gear:

  • to prevent other photographers gear-checking on you
  • to let people think your /enter less popular brand-name here/ is a Nikon (if they don't recognise it by its design)
  • to avoid annoying questions about your gear, even if it raises other questions about why the tape coverings
  • not to let brand names show as reflections in close-up photography of reflective objects
  • not to let your camera brand show in other photographers' photos
  • not to appear as a walking advertisement board (incl. two previous list items)
  • to possibly prevent impulse-driven thievery
  • to possibly prevent robbery of known and wanted brand in places where networked criminals show up after being informed by the little ones about your gear.
  • not to scare wild-life with the shining white logos on black surface
  • in situations when you are already marketing or otherwise tied to another brand (toothpaste or car-maker etc.) which happens not to be the brand of your camera.

Why the large majority of people who use cameras never cover their camera in tape? Because they don't get into situations like the above, or they just don't care, or it simply never crossed their mind to cover anything. Some even want to show brand names and markings. After spending a lot of money on their kit, why not let others take notice of it?

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I'm not a pro, so I don't know what this "gear check" thing is all about. Why do you care whether other photographers see what equipment you are using, assuming the interest isn't thievery? That's not going to change what pictures you can take or they can take. –  Olin Lathrop Jun 3 '13 at 21:56
    
@OlinLathrop - Be a photographer with business in your mind, freelancing an event with the hopes of selling your work to a local newspaper. "Who are these other photographers here? Let's see. (Gear check) Well, looks like there might be a rival over there.. but this other dude, certainly not. That is the cheapest entry level Sony with the cheapo Sigma tele attached, hah, not even a true DSLR. I'm so not going to even talk to him." –  Esa Paulasto Jun 4 '13 at 4:24
    
There are proud people who don't give a damn of what other people think of them. And there are weaker people who worry a lot about what those other people think, and try to avoid being discovered as the cheap wannabe photographer that they are. –  Esa Paulasto Jun 4 '13 at 4:45

Some pros might also cover up the branding to avoid the public approaching them all the time to ask about the gear. Not sure about your friend, but wedding photographers get interrupted all the time with questions, and I'd imagine if they'd get more questions if poeple recognised the brand and shot with similar gear.

It's also common to cover them up to help reduce theft, as thieves will target certain brands. Pro cameras can get pretty beat up -without the brand, thieves might not give their gear a second look!

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2  
I would think this would tend to bring up more questions. If I saw someone covering an event with the logos blacked out, I'd want to ask them why they bothered. Departures from what people consider normal tends to invoke curiosity. (As this question also suggests.) –  AJ Henderson May 24 '13 at 19:14
    
When covering and not covering brand names is either way going to raise questions, it must be a choice to make about which questions are less irritating. Do you want to answer to "why are you using an old model when a new model was just released three months ago?" Or would you rather answer about those coverings? –  Esa Paulasto May 24 '13 at 21:42

The all powerful corporate promotional consideration. The same reason that product logos are frequently blurred out on video clips shown by news agencies and shows that use video clips from the public. You even see it in TV shows sometimes where they'll be using a product and will specifically remove branding.

Typically when you do see branding, you'll see a blurb in the credits about promotional considerations being provided by such and such company and the product will be featured more prominently.

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I'd take a photo of my kit but i just sent it in for servicing this morning. I personally cover EVERYTHING on my camera body AND lens that's not black with cut-to-size duct tape.

I spend a lot of time shooting in less that ideal conditions and in places where i shoudln't be and don't want to be seen. Changing my 70-200mm IS II from white to black took some time, but it certainly hides it much better from casual observers. Essentially its 'urban camouflage' (i've been attempting to get a tape in a pattern like this however its been hard to find). The bright white word 'Canon' above the lens, the shiny '5DMKIII' stamp, the red-rings on the l-series lenses and even the flash hotshoe are all covered on my kit.

The other reason I'll cover up everything on my kit is when I go out photographing wildlife with my girlfriend. Birds especially are quite 'touchy' about anything out of place (like a big white lens), so using things like lensCoats actually help from time to time.

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A lot of people do it when they travel so they're not advertising what camera they have.. same goes for the camera strap!

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Especially for the News Industries and other similar industries, assets (including gears such as camera, lens, even accessories) are considered CONFIDENTIAL.

Various reasons why it is confidential:

  • Though Competitions - Rival networks and companies, once they get to know the exact Make and Models of a Leading Company for example, then the tendency is that they are going to use the same equipments. This is critically important since TV networks competes for First Air News Break, they need an equipment that can deliver news materials as fast as possible - which today is already possible through Wifi-enabled DSLRs.
  • Unpaid Endorsements - TV Networks generates their profit from advertising may only advertise a particular product only if that product has paid for it. They may be charge of unfair endorsement if they will not keep it confidential.
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  • Main reason is that he wants to protect his camera from robbery when traveling in poor countries or dangerous zones. Many photographers use gaffer tapes for this kind of use because they are less sticky than ordinary duct tapes. I was asked a few times about how much my camera costs. Of course I lied because I think that it cost too much, more than a year's salary for some people, and they can easily grab it and run or threaten you.

  • Second reason may be that he doesn't want to be affiliated with any
    brand or sponsorship. Still I believe the first option is valid for
    99% of all that choose to do so.

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