Until now, I have been fortunate enough that I have not recently needed the repair side of Nikon Professional Services. This week, that changed, however, and I have found out why it is such a valuable asset to a professional photographer.
Yesterday (Thursday) morning I was taking pictures at a camp for Pipeline News. My D4 camera somehow became loose on its carabiner and fell about 2 feet to the floor, snapping the flash off near the base. “Oh crap, That’s a $500 fix,” I said, noting the price of the flash. The problem was, I have a wedding lined up for this Saturday.
I’m a firm believer in the military maxim “Two is one and one is none.” I have four flashes. But this is the only one that can act as a “master,” controlling the output and triggering of the others in elaborate, advanced off-camera flash setups. It’s been my intention to pick up another master flash, but I hadn’t gotten around to it yet since my second master flash decided it only wanted to work as a slave.
What to do, what to do?
First, I phoned Don’s Photo in Regina and got them to set aside a flash for me for Saturday morning as a Plan B, something they were kind enough to do. Then I pulled out my Nikon Professional Service card.
I applied for NPS a couple years ago so that I would be able to get first dibs on the then-upcoming D4 flagship camera. When the D3 came out, it took almost a year before mere mortal, non-NPS members could obtain one. I was one of the first people in Canada, and indeed, the planet, to get the D4, arriving on the second day they were available.
NPS’ main purpose is to support working professional photographers. You have to have multiple professional bodies and lenses to qualify, and you have to submit a body of work, paid work, to become accepted. Essentially, you have to make your living with your camera. I do, both as a professional photographer and newspaper editor/photographer.
A just-slightly-less-than-panicked called to NPS at 1 p.m. Saskatchewan time had them sending me a loaner replacement flash by overnight courier from Ontario. It arrived with 24 hours, as seen above, in time for me to have this crucial piece of kit in my hands before the wedding.
And this is the whole point of this post: a professional not only has a backup for everything, but a backup for the backup. In this case, that second level backup is Nikon Professional Service. It’s there so clients aren’t left hanging. So when you’re hiring a photographer, ask them – do they belong to Nikon Professional Service or Canon Professional Service? If not, you may be taking your chances.