There are four reasons why photographers tape over a camera’s brand name.
- This first reason I don’t personally identify with, but hey, it happens. Some people really, really hate being associated with a brand. Cars, clothes, cameras—any brand at all will have its branding removed, covered, scorched, smote. The hatred here can get positively biblical, so it’s best to just walk away and let them practice walking on water.
- The next reason is fairly rare for most of us. A photographer will cover the brand name and any other identifying marks if s/he is testing a new camera for a company and doesn’t want the model identified. You might see an example of this on a photography rumor site: a blurry pic at a sporting event of Canon’s easily recognized white 400mm f/2.8 lens attached to a suspiciously taped-up camera. That lucky photographer might be a Canon Explorer of Light giving feedback on the latest and greatest 1DX Mark-Something. If you run into someone in the wild doing this, try to snap a less blurry spy pic.
- The third reason relates to street photography, and it’s the most important to me. Covering the words on a camera helps make the camera “disappear.” So even though you are still holding and bringing up to your eye a pretty substantial piece of gear, the subject’s own eyes will be less drawn to the camera. Printed words are visual magnets; tape is a repellant. Apply liberally.
- The final reason also involves street photography. A taped camera looks junky and is thus less desirable to thieves. If you spend any time shooting out in the street, the last thing you want to worry about is getting mugged for your gear. Got a Leica? Unless you are keeping it pristine for investment purposes, tape that thing up and get the shot. Without getting shot.