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March 13, 2017

How To Mail Your Equipment Off To Be Cleaned For Photographers

This might sound like a relatively easy task… You put your equipment in a box, and you mail it to the specified address. Maybe I am the only person who think that this is extremely stressful?? I mean come on, I am putting thousands of dollars worth of my equipment in a cardboard box and just hoping that it’ll get to the right place in one piece (side note: you should definitely have insurance. The real kind, not just the post office kind).

Every year I package all my equipment up and I send it to Canon to be cleaned and inspected, so it’s ready to go for wedding season! This year I decided to document the process to hopefully help some first-timers out! It is a scary thing to do, but hopefully these steps will put your mind at ease.

First of all, what exactly are we doing here? Canon has a service called Canon Professional Services (CPS) that is available to anyone that would like to register. If you are a Canon user and not a member of CPS, you should sign up now!! After you register, you will be asked to put in all of your equipment / serial numbers. Each piece of equipment is assigned ‘points’, and your final number of points will determine which membership level you qualify for. I have enough points for a Platinum membership, but I’ve decided to stick with a Gold membership, because it currently offers everything I need. CPS provides you with 24/7 phone support, expedited and discounted repairs, and a lot more! It is absolutely worth its weight in gold.

Okay, so you’ve signed up now, right?? Good. Now you want to send off your equipment to be cleaned! This is a free service that comes with your CPS membership! For free, you can send in up to 5 pieces of equipment to be cleaned per term. Either all at once, or at different times! After those 5 times, there is an additional fee. Now there really is no reason for you to not get your equipment cleaned!! So let’s see those steps:

Step 1: Print off the “Rush Service Form” provided on the website. It is at the bottom of your Account page. Here’s a quick link! Fill out the Shipping Information, and each item you want cleaned. There are only 3 boxes on the first page, but there is also a second page if you are sending in more than 3. The last page gives you a shipping label!

Step 2: Empty out your camera body! Take out the battery, memory cards, and also take the lens off (and put the body cap on!) if you usually store it with a lens attached. If you send your body in with your stuff still in it, I *believe* they set it aside and return it to you later. But I am not positive about that, so I wouldn’t risk it ;)

Step 3: BUBBLE WRAP THE HECK OUT OF YOUR BABIES. This is pretty self explanatory ;)

Step 4: You can only put 3 pieces of equipment per box. So even if you send in 4 pieces, you’ll need a separate box for the 4th! After you put your max of 3 pieces in a box (with lots of padding at the bottom!), stuff even more bubble wrap and packing paper in there so it’s all super snug and won’t go anywhere.

*WAIT. Don’t forget to put the CPS form in before you tape it all up! Don’t make the same mistake I did this year ;) I had to open it all up again!

Step 5: This is an optional step. When I got to the post office, I decided to take everything out of the box I had originally packed my equipment in, and put it into a new Priority box provided at the post office. Priority mail has tracking and is generally just safer to use, so I felt better about mailing it that way! So yeah, I wrapped the brown box twice, and ended up taking it all out anyway…

Either way, tape the HECK out of that box!! There was hardly any part of the box that wasn’t covered in tape. And what wasn’t covered, I wrote “EXTREMELY FRAGILE” on ;)

Step 6: Before you mail that puppy off, on the outside of the box write your CPS membership number, and also your CPS membership level (either Silver, Gold, Platinum, or Cinema). Now mail it off (it cost me around $20), and cry because your babies are off on their big adventure.

Step 7: Jump up and down because IT’S BACK!! CPS is amazing with their turnaround time. I mailed the box Monday morning, by Tuesday at 1pm I had an email from them saying that they had inspected it, and Wednesday by 2pm it was back home! SUPER fast!

Canon does the greatest job packaging it all up. It’s always really secure when I take it out!


I got them mailed back separately, because Canon actually found something wrong with two other pieces of equipment… Yikes. But even with the repairs, I got the other pieces back on Thursday! So still crazy fast :)

Going without your equipment can be a very scary thing, but it’s SO great that it’s usually only for one full day! Two full days at the most :) Just make sure you mail it first thing in the morning, so it has time to get processed that day.

I hope this was helpful for you guys! It makes such a huge difference when your equipment is cleaned. It’s amazing!!


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