Tale of the Tape

my Sony RX1RM2 and Leica R4s were the first to get the tape treatment

What kind of camera am I using? Wait, that’s right, you can’t tell.

Yes, I put tape on my cameras. Specifically I masked off the forward facing logos and model numbers on the front of each camera body I own. It’s a relatively new choice for me, though I’ve known see it done by other photographers for some time.

Some photographers feel safer by covering the logos and brand marks of their gear protects them while shooting. The thinking goes that eagle eyed thieves are looking for top name gear so why advertise that you’re shooting with the latest and greatest?

I don’t want to draw the attention of my subjects

I have never really worried about logos being the reason someone might want to try to grab my gear. I cover up the logos not for fear of thieves but because I don’t want to draw the attention of my subjects. Putting my camera in “stealth mode” makes it easier for me to capture the shots I want on the street.

I’m not the kind of shooter who jumps in front of someone on the sidewalk and points a camera in their face. I prefer to quietly capture the moment. I want the person either completely in their own space or looking at me, not the camera.

Logos are designed to be seen and to attract attention

Logos are advertising. They are designed to be seen and to attract attention, two things you generally don’t want when doing street photography.

Trying to be subtle when shooting with a camera covered with contrasting bright white logos is just impossible for me. I’m a big guy and don’t just blend into a crowd. Even shooting from the hip doesn’t always go unnoticed.

We humans are coded to look for contrasts, to catch the blur of color. “What’s that black and white thing moving fast? Is it dangerous? Should I be afraid?” With that kind of reaction built into our lizard brains is it any wonder some people react poorly when photographed?

If you’re getting into street photography and want to blend into the background just a little more, don’t be afraid to cover up those bright fancy logos with some tape. You can always pull it off later when you want to humble brag about gear with your buddies.


Published by Steve Banfield

Kentucky born, Seattle based. Entrepreneur. Team Builder. Photographer.

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