Stop hurting yourself: These are the best and the worst ways to carry your camera

Tips & Techniques

There are plenty of straps for carrying our camera around. However, many of those can cause pain in our neck, shoulders, arms, and back after a long day of shooting. Wes Perry teamed up with a physiotherapist to try and find the best camera strap that won’t only keep your camera safely in place, but also save you from hurting yourself.

Together with fellow photographer Jennifer Michelle, Wes asked physiotherapist John Gonzales about the most common camera straps and how they affect our bodies. These are some of his thoughts, but make sure to watch the video for fantastic explanation and demonstration:

Neck strap – this is a common way to carry a camera for many of us (myself included). However, carrying a heavy setup of a camera, lens and a speedlight over long periods of time can cause strain in your neck and shoulders. It can also cause bad posture.

Wrist strap – although it can be handy to have your camera around your wrist, I’d say this works only for super-light compact cameras. Using a wrist strap to carry a DLSR or mirrorless camera with a lens could cause a series of problems over time. It affects your circulation and causes strain in shoulder and arm. Still, it can be handy to have it for safety, just don’t use it to carry your camera around all day.

Shoulder strap – if you use your camera’s kit strap, you can carry the camera on your shoulder instead of around your neck. It’s a better option, but it can still be problematic. When you have something on one shoulder, it has the potential to slip off, so you will subconsciously lift your shoulder. With time, you can feel pain in your neck and back.

Crossbody – this is definitely a good option because the weight of the camera is more evenly distributed than with the previous solutions. However, if you already experience some pain, it’s a good idea to switch your camera to the other side of your body from time to time.

Dual strap – this is a handy solution for photographers who use two cameras. It’s also a good option because the weight is evenly distributed and there are no forces on the neck. But, it needs to be secured on the front so you don’t feel like it’s gonna slip. Otherwise, you may compensate for it by leaning forward, which could cause back pain. Also, if you carry two heavy cameras for more than two hours, you may want to choose a different option, because this one could put pressure on your shoulders.

Belt holsters – Wes’ favorite setup includes two belt holsters for two cameras attached to his belt. John notes that this is the best setup so far. It doesn’t put any pressure on the neck, back and shoulders, while the cameras are easy to access. But there’s one thing to remember: if you’re carrying two cameras this way, make sure that they’re not too far forward. In that case, you’d have too much weight on the front of your pelvis, which would put extra pressure on your lower back. Keep them lateral and you’re good to go.

Spider Holster – the last one is Spider Holster, and it’s by far the best solution in terms of your health. If you carry it around your waist (right above the iliac crest), it’s ideal for your posture. The weight is evenly distributed on your pelvis, which can hold more force than your shoulders and neck.

Since I rarely shoot for several hours, I’m perfectly fine with the neck strap, it doesn’t cause me pain. I often wrap it around my wrist for safety while I’m shooting, but I generally carry the camera around my neck. However, if I shot weddings or other long-lasting events, I’d probably go with the Spider Holster.

How do you carry your camera? And have you experienced any problems that made you change the strap you were using?

[Camera Strap Ergonomics – Stop Hurting Yourself! | Wes Perry]

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