As photographers, it’s easy for us to get caught in a regular upgrade cycle. New lenses. New camera bodies. New memory cards. It’s all commonplace and (usually) pretty expensive!
But what about camera straps?
When it comes to gear talk, the thing that keeps the camera attached to your body is often overlooked! A manufacturer's strap comes in the box and a lot of photographers equip that strap and never think twice about changing it.
They should, though, because camera straps can drastically change how we handle and interact with our equipment when angling for that perfect shot. Straps affect our habits, our processes, and how we position ourselves to get the job done.
Here’s a quick look at how your camera strap changes your photography habits:
1. A camera strap can determine how you carry your camera.
Take a quick step back and think about how you hold or carry your camera. If you’re not sure, go grab your camera and fiddle around with it for a few minutes.
It’s likely that you interact with your camera the way you do because of the camera strap you own. You may wear your strap around your neck or, alternatively, you might coil it around your wrist.
Either way, you’re counting on that strap to keep your camera safe while your camera is out of your bag.
But consider your strap for a second. Especially if you’re using the manufacturer's default, there are certain things your camera strap won’t let you do.
The default camera strap is designed as a neck strap. The camera hangs just a little lower than chest height. That’s great if you want the camera to be right in front of you at all times. Otherwise, you’re in for a frustrating experience.
A basic strap isn’t very adjustable, either. You can’t wear your camera as part of a sling or harness setup. You might have to fight with it just to pull it over your head instead of having a quick release to open disengage the strap. Plus, the basic strap is particularly irritating when you’re using heavier equipment and the weight of it hangs on your neck.
But imagine if you had more options when you lowered your camera. How would you feel if you could tuck your camera under your arm while hiking through the woods? When you’re carrying heavy equipment, would extra padding along the strap improve your photography experience?
If those options sound like dreams coming true, it might be time to consider a new camera strap. A camera neck strap that’s longer, more durable, more comfortable may be a great addition to your arsenal.
2. Your camera strap can change the way you talk about photography.
The impact a camera strap has on your photography habits can go beyond pressing the shutter button. Your camera strap can define your personal style. You’ll find straps out there with interesting designs and flavors, even if you choose a strap that’s more simple and elegant you may find that it sparks interest and questions from observers beyond typical photography shop talk.
Especially if you’re a wedding or portrait photographer, using a customized or personalized strap is a great branding opportunity and can shift the conversation away from camera manufacturers to something a bit more interesting.
Sometimes, how you engage with your camera will make all the difference. If you’re more comfortable and versatile because of your camera strap, you’ll probably have a better experience and be more engaged when discussing something that you’re passionate about.
3. When wearing heavy gear, your camera strap can be a blessing or a pain.
Wildlife and landscape photographers know this better than anyone: The biggest and heaviest lenses can cause all sorts of problems, from neck and back pain all the way to exhaustion.
Part of the reason comes from the physical stress of the job. Photography is an active art. It requires movement, positioning, timing, and more than a little luck. But getting the perfect shot might require a little more than an interesting angle.
Some photographers spend hours hauling gear into places where humans rarely go. Even if you’re not headed out that far into the wilderness, a simple day trip through a national park or a brand new city can be enough to feel the weight of your equipment.
A sturdy camera strap can make sure that you’re able to engage with your gear with the least possible discomfort. Whether you’re looking for added versatility, like quick release straps or enhanced durability, the right strap can be your best friend when the going gets tough.
4. Alternative camera straps provide greater utility.
So far, we’ve talked about the different ways that new and different neck straps can alter how you engage with photography. Now, let’s go in a different direction.
Let’s get away from traditional camera straps and talk about something a little more specialized: Wrist straps!
If you’ve got a little point and shoot camera, like a Lecia compact or a Micro Four Thirds (M4/3) camera, the idea of equipping a wrist strap to your little go-everywhere camera might not have even crossed your mind.
When the camera is small enough to be out of sight and out of mind, a neck strap might not be the way to go. Wrist straps can keep your smaller camera close at hand without adding extra bulky cables or unnecessary cords. You’ll still be able to get the shot you need without the extra hassle of having a strap that’s larger or longer than the camera it’s attached to.
A wrist camera strap is simple and versatile without any added complications and a great fit when you’re trying to keep your pack small.
Going StraplessOf course, there’s a final option that we haven’t talked about: Getting rid of the strap entirely.
If you’re like most photographers, the idea of going completely strapless might sound like a dream that’s too good to be true. And it can be. Anytime your camera isn’t firmly attached to your body in some way, there’s always the risk of an accidental drop.
A strap gives you the option to go completely hands-free and quickly swap your lenses, along with a host of other benefits.
But there are other options.
Harnesses, holsters, and even belt clips exist if you’re looking for a halfway between strapless and fully secure. Take a look out there and you’re sure to find something that’s better suited to your personal photography habits than the basic camera strap.
Our own strap collection is a great place to start!