I often see people going around with a camera that costs several thousand euros, and weight several kilos, and they use the original neck strap. That really strikes me. I suggest investing in a strap that makes carrying your camera much more comfortable. It is a relatively cheap way to make your camera experience more enjoyable. Believe me, the upgrade is worth it.
The DSLR camera with a battery grip and a zoom lens can easily weigh over 2.5kg. Letting that weight hang solely on your neck during a few hour photo tour is not a good idea. Moreover, the standard neck strap that comes with the camera package is screaming the camera’s brand and model to every direction. Using a non-standard strap is more discreet. Using alternative carrying methods can also be much more ergonomic. When I bought my newest camera I did not even bother to open the pouch containing the original camera vendor’s strap. Here is my strategy and equipment.
1. Home and studio shoots
Surprisingly in the normal everyday life situations with the family and also during studio photography sessions there is actually not that much need for carrying the camera with any strap. The camera is simply carried in your hands and laid on a table when not used. Basically no strap is needed for carrying purposes. Taking the camera from the storage to start shooting should be as convenient and fast as possible. However, to feel more safe, I normally have a wrist strap attached to my camera. I don’t mean a hand strap that ties your palm to the camera and assists on actually holding the camera. I tried to find that kind of strap, but they didn’t seem to work in battery grip shooting on the portrait position. I use a simple strap, which is looped around the wrist similarly like straps on compact cameras. Straps for compact cameras however are not meant to hold the weight of DSLR camera. Luckily there are some straps made for DSLR cameras also. I use Joby DSLR wrist strap, which can be seen in the above photo. Price is a bit under 20 euros to get some extra safety for not accidentally dropping the camera.
2. Travel, environmental portraits and some events
One of the best camera related investments was to ditch the standard strap and to buy BlackRapid sling strap. The idea is that the camera is carried like a shoulder pouch. The camera itself hangs next to your waist and you can rest your hand on the camera almost straight while not using it. This really saves the neck especially when doing long days of sightseeing or similar.
This is my preferred carrying method when I go for a photowalk, or do travel/street photography. I also prefer this method while taking outdoor portraits with clients.
A sling type strap can be also carried under an unbuttoned blouse or jacket to make the camera less visible when not in use. I have used this method many times when walking on the streets of big cities like Barcelona, New York, Buenos Aires, Paris, etc.
Camera can be rapidly raised to the shooting position while tied to the strap. This can be seen from the photo below. Prices and models have changed since I bought mine, but basic models start around 70 euros.
3. Weddings, events and documentary
The number one camera strap choice for many professional wedding photographers is the HoldFast Money Makers. They come in many colors and materials. Mine is dark brown leather and can be seen in the photo in the beginning of this post. They have a dreaded price, but again compared to the cost of the professional camera and the fact that they serve for years and years should justify the investment at least for professional purposes.
What makes them so good? Well, they are really ergonomic and distribute the weight evenly on your body, saving you from back ache during long days with cameras. They fit really well and feel like a second skin. They excel in situations where one needs to carry two cameras in order to have different lenses available instantly. This really helps in doing documentary photography, e.g. when shooting weddings. Another selling point is that Money Makers just look good and fit well together with the formal clothes needed for weddings.
There are similar double camera straps also from other vendors like BlackRapid. They most likely work as well as HoldFast. It is just a choice about the the style; Do you want to look like Batman or James Bond?
Here were my camera straps and usage explained. Maybe another interesting topic for some other post could be camera bags.
Disclaimer. No sponsorship was received for this text. All opinions and equipment are mine.