How Joining Canon Professional Services Saved my Photography Career

How Joining Canon Professional Services Saved my Photography Career

If you're a professional or semi-professional photographer chances are you've probably needed to get a lens calibrated or sensor cleaning from time to time. That's exactly what I needed last week when I noticed my Canon 24-70 f2.8 V2 was noticeably softer. Luckily, I live in Los Angeles where there is a Canon factory repair center (you can also mail your gear in if you don't live in NY/NJ or LA area) I was able to drive to the new repair center in burbank on Tuesday before my shoot Friday with one of my biggest clients, Junk Food Clothing. The guy at the counter told me about Canon Professional Services (CPS) and since I qualified for the gold membership which cost $100 USD for a year, I would be able to get 20% off my repair, guaranteed 3-day turn around or a loaner lens if it took longer than 3 days. I have been shooting Canon since I was 17 and had no idea this program existed, since never actually went to canon for a repair or cleaning.   

Since my shoot was on Friday, I figured this was a great option because it guaranteed me a lens for my shoot without having to pay for a rental and spend additional time tracking one down. Come Thursday, I completely forgot I had to pick up my lens until about 4:30 pm. Canon had not called me yet, but I desperately needed my all purpose 24-70mm. I arrived at Canon at 5:02 pm. (They close at 5pm) If I wasn't able to pick up this lens, I would be screwed, every rental place in LA was closed or was about to close, I would be letting down my most consistent client and possibly loose the ability to pay rent for my costly studio downtown. Luckily, after banging on the closed door for a few minutes a Canon employee let me in, he could obviously tell I was in a pinch. Turns out my lens wasn't ready by Thursday like I had hoped, but since I joined CPS I was able to get a loaner lens before my shoot without my client having any idea I almost had to cancel. 

Without CPS I may have been forced to cancel my shoot costing my client thousands of dollars and if there is one thing I have learned as a freelancer it's RELIABILITY is one of your greatest assets. Clients want to hire photographers they know will get the job done 99% of the time. Your pretty light and color work are maybe a fraction of the battle. Excuses will get you no where in this industry and the less stress you put on your clients plate the more likely they are to hire you again.

This was my first experience with CPS, but it was a great first experience. For a camera brand that isn't always up to date, Canon still has a some great benefits for the working professional.  

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Michael Kormos's picture

CPS/NPS are both absolutely top-notch in terms of service, turnaround, and the understanding of tight schedules that many professionals have to stick to. Nikon's service is free, but requires one to prove the ownership of professional gear, a letter of recommendation by another NPS member, as well as recent published work. Whatever the criteria, it's the support you learn to trust and count on time and time again.

michael buehrle's picture

nice ad for CPS i guess. but wasn't it a guaranteed 3 day ? so it really wasn't ? what does that say about their work ? why not make a quick call to them on the way letting them know your on the way ? how did you forget to pick it up ? you must only live a mile away or so because rush hour traffic in LA is brutal right ? (full disclosure, i shoot nikon)

Peter Brody's picture

"guaranteed 3-day turn around ***or*** a loaner lens if it took longer than 3 days"

That he forgot is irrelevant, since he is talking about the service that he got as a result of forgetting.

No offense intended Michael, but please capitalize your sentences, and don't space your question marks. Writing the way you do may be trendy, but it also makes your writing much harder to read.

michael buehrle's picture

spacing a question mark is trendy ? that's new to me. and it's much harder to read if i do ? ok. and yes i should capitalize my sentences. my english teacher would be very disappointed in me.

John MR's picture

There are languages (as French) where one SHOULD space the question marks. Maybe michael is from one of those countries.

J J's picture

It's nice when you get what you pay for. I didn't know that gold gets a loaner. That's interesting. They are pretty handy to be able to call if you have a technical questions. I was out in the field rating images on the fly to submit mobily and I wasn't sure if the rating would be written to both cards or only 1 (in a dual card scenario) - quick call to cos answered my q.

Michael Yearout's picture

I've been a member for years and I give them an "A" for service. Not an "A+" due to a problem I had a few years back.

Adam Milton's picture

I don't know where you live in LA, but it looks like there are several rental shops open til 6, and a few until 6:30 or 7. Although it's a pain to rent gear you own, some rental shops give discounts for walk-ins (vs. reserving in advance) so when I need a 24-70 this is what I do since it is such a common lens, and it ends up being about $20/day.

Jozef Povazan's picture

And this is why a back up gear is useful to have when your memory gives up on you to pick up your unfixed lens ! Just my 50 cents :) Happy shooting!

Bill Raab's picture

Amen to that.

Mr Hogwallop's picture

Yes, the pro support with Canon, Nikon and even Sony is worthwhile. But for a pro with an expensive studio to pay for and a major client on the line you really need to have a plan B.
What would you have done if your lens crapped out during the shoot? While you don't really need 2 of everything having something like a nice 50mm would allow you keep shooting without missing a beat. Or you could've gotten a loaner when your lens was in for service. Many different ways to solve the problem
A service place like that closing at 5pm is a pet peeve of mine as our biz is not always 9-5. In traffic challenged LA they should be open until 7. (I used to work at PIX which was open 24/7, we had alot of panicked photogs calling at 9 or 10pm needing a lens or a camera. RIP PIX)

Alain Mitchell's picture

Yes, the title is a bit a an exaggeration, I have other lenses I could have used but no one is going to read an article titled "Canon let me borrow a lens while they fixed mine" Also I prefer using a 24-70 for their shoots to maintain consistency and achieve a particular aesthetic. There are always other solutions but the point of the article was more, joining gave me one less thing to worry about.

william mitchell's picture

My only comment is that you should own some sort of backup lens. And yes RIP Pix which is now PRS.

Alain Mitchell's picture

I do but it is just the lens I always use for their eCommerce work, so it helps maintain consistancy for their site.

Andy Ruiz's picture

Wow thats intersting. CPS is for free here in Europe.

Mr Hogwallop's picture

so is healthcare...LoL

Ralph Hightower's picture

CPS sounds like a great deal, but I'm just a amateur. I looked at the requirements when I bought my 5D, but alas.

Motti Bembaron's picture

Kudos for Canon. Meanwhile, not only that Nikon program is a joke compare to Canon, in Canada (which is larger than the US) they closed all their centers except the one in Toronto. What a shame. If you are a Nikon user like me, you are left with very little options for lens and camera cleaning, or repair.