Assistants, runners, freelancers, permanent staff, we all know there’s a wide range of people working in the image making world. When it comes to a photographers’ liability insurance, exactly who is and isn’t covered? 

The terminology around staffing can be quite confusing, we are here to clear up any misunderstanding. For insurance purposes, people working for photographers are called subcontractors. There are two types of subcontractors you should know about; labour only subcontractors, and bona-fide subcontractors. 

Labour only subcontractors

Labour only subcontractors are those who are working under a contract of work, and adhere to any terms and conditions that contract may include. Typical labour only subcontractors would be freelance assistants and runners who work for the photographer, under their direction and control, and would typically be covered by the photographers’ employers’ liability insurance. It’s therefore crucial that as a photographer, you have both public liability and employers’ liability cover in place. 

Bona-fide subcontractors

Bona-fide subcontractors are those people who charge the photographer a fee for their professional services and expertise. Typical bona-fide subcontractors in the world of photography are make-up artists, stylists and set designers.  Bona-fide subcontractors are usually required to have their own insurance in place (usually Public Liability and Professional Indemnity, plus Employers’ Liability if they bring a person or team on set). It is the photographer’s responsibility to make sure all bona-fide subcontractors have correct cover in place.  


We hope this is useful information. Williamson Carson are experts in insurance and passionate about supporting the creative industries. Discover how we can help protect you from risk, with bespoke cover for your industry. Contact us now. Read more insights and interviews by Williamson Carson.