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Photographers often choose to work at night, particularly in urban areas where there is significant night-time activity and some lighting. Such activities unfortunately have inherent risks of which photographers should be aware. The advice that follows cannot be comprehensive and must therefore be regarded as incomplete. Those embarking on potentially hazardous activities during the hours of darkness should seek and observe appropriate professional and local safety advice. However, the adoption of appropriate precautions such as those listed below can reduce risks substantially. Recommendations include:

  • Seek and observe appropriate professional and local safety advice;
  • Work with someone else where possible, although when photographing people this may cause the subject to feel more threatened.
  • When photographing people, do so with respect and sensitivity - some may have good reason to object.
  • Carry only the equipment needed for the job, and leave everything else at home - not in a car.
  • Keep valuable equipment hidden from view as much as possible. Use an old and shabby bag rather than a new and expensive item. Keep the bag closed and carry it with the opening towards your body.
  • Do not carry keys in your bag - if the bag is snatched, car and house keys will not be lost. Equipment can also be carried in a supermarket plastic carrier bag.
  • Keep in well-lit areas wherever possible, and avoid unnecessary use of deserted streets.
  • Carry a mobile phone, but do not use it in crowded location where it might be snatched.
  • Keep away from potential danger spots, dark alleys, waste ground and shortcuts.
  • Walk confidently and with a purpose and give the impression of knowing where you are going - even if you do not.
  • Do not stand on a corner consulting a map or guidebook - such activity betrays a visitor's status.
  • Remain alert - a personal stereo or MP3 player serves only as a distraction.
  • Carry only the money required - leave bank cards and wallets at home.
  • In difficult areas, consider carrying a personal attack alarm in your hand.
  • On late-night public transport, sit near the driver or in a well-populated area
  • Use only licensed taxis.
  • Avoid all types of confrontation.

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