So, across the internet forums, the question of "why do photojournalists cover their camera's make and model with gaffer tape?" apparently is asked enough, and I have yet to see someone post the real, practical answer on why almost every serious photographer does it. I know the answer, and it likely will be valuable to you if you don't gaff already. But first, some of the fake/impractical answers people claim are the real reason:
I've seen "Because they don't want to advertise" which is crap, professionals rarely care about advertising a tool. That's as absurd as a carpenter covering his hammer's logo.
"To look cool"... gaffer tape = vanity? no. Maybe this is why some hipster types do it now, but not why it started, and continues to be used by those paid for PJ.
I've seen "So thieves don't want to steal it" that's absurd too, I assure you, a thief is someone who abuses opportunity. I don't care if your camera is thousands of dollars or a mere hundred, if someone looking to steal something can get it, it's gone, every time.
"To protect the camera", true... if the whole thing is gaff taped...
Point is, I've seen a ton of silly answers, but the REAL reason many photojournalists a long time ago started to tape over only the identifying words/numbers of a camera is elusive online, and it is sad, because everyone can benefit from it. Well, everyone who photographs people that is...
The main reason is due to the fact is that in today's world, interest in digital photography has skyrocketed and many people you run into on the street are likely to be knowledgeable of cameras or amateur photogs themselves. They are likely to be interested or impressed in what you are using, and this is a problem for "on the fly" portraits, as you end up with a portrait of someone no longer looking at the lens, but looking off the side slightly trying to see if you are using a 1DX or 1D Mark IV... in fact, what brand of flash is that? Canon? What model?
They likely don't even know they did it, the human brain scans for information at all times, and seeing CANON 5D MARK III in big bright white on black surface is MADE to pull your eyes to it. Canon wants that attention to the camera, YOU DO NOT.
You take a shot, get back to the office, the editor points out the guy is creeping your camera, and not looking at the lens. And that photo is likely to be passed over. Crappy all the time, but imagine it being someone you were supposed to get a photograph of, on assignment, by your editor/boss! If you just got a cold sweat simply thinking about that, good. You take a photographic job seriously.
That's it. That's the main point of using it. Go ask a professional PJ you know if you don't believe me.
That's why landscape photographers don't bother to do it. Why studio photographers don't bother to do it (they are able to check eye contact and reshoot without having a subject walk away or get pissy), that is why you pretty much ONLY see photojournalists (or anyone doing impromptu portraits) gaffer it.
PJ is a fast pace world, and you cannot risk having people not look where they are supposed to be looking when you are on a deadline and/or competing with all the other cameras around.
Gaffer the brand and model on ANYTHING aiming at the person. It will give you an advantage, especially if you are being paid to take an advantage over the other photogs.
And after you are done working, you just take the gaff tape off, no residue.
You now know one of the most misunderstood tricks of PJ, and how it actually is important. Now go buy a roll for next time you are shooting a event, and get the edge on the less knowledgeable!!!!
P.S. Always use gaffer tape, not anything else. Gaffer tape will leave no residue, especially for a relatively short periods of having it on the camera. If cameras weren't so expensive, simply removing/painting black the info would be fine too... but you use gaff tape to solve the problem while keeping the camera at highest resale value possible.