A good friend and fellow photographer “misplaced” her Alien Bee setup about six months ago. For the life of her she couldn't remember where she had left it; all she knew was that it was missing and she was heartbroken. It was covered by insurance, but she hadn't filed a claim because she kept thinking it would show up at some point. She borrowed gear from friends and was about to file a claim and replace her set-up when it miraculously resurfaced.
She stopped at a venue she shoots at regularly to drop off more of her marketing materials and while sitting in the event coordinator's office noticed a light stand and soft box bag sitting in the corner.
“You have your own light kit, that's cool” she commented to the coordinator.
“Oh we have no idea what that thing is” replied the woman, “it's been sitting here for months. Someone left it and it doesn't have a name on it.”
Ding. Ding. Ding. “That's my light kit!” she exclaimed, and it was.
She had accidentally left it in a ballroom after a wedding, probably assuming that her second shooter had already loaded it in the car. She was thrilled, but admittedly felt a little silly. What was lost, had now been found; but it would have been found months earlier if it had simply had her name on it. Sometimes we forget that what is clearly a strobe to us is simply a weird box with a bee on the side to a non-photographer.
Understanding that photographers like to buy, sell and trade gear the way twelve-year old boys did with baseball cards in the 90s, you might not want to put your name directly on your gear. Instead, maybe make a trip down to your local PetSmart and using the nifty pet-tag kiosk make a few removable tags to attach to pieces like tripods, light stands, strobes and flash triggers. Don't have a PetSmart locally? No worries, you can order online and have your tags delivered. A few tags, a few zip ties and you're in business.
Hopefully you won't ever lose your light kit the way my friend did; but if you do, having your gear tagged might just save you some heartache and get it back in your hands where it belongs.
Do you tag your gear? What do you use? Share in the comments below.
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