You love photography—and your camera travels with you almost everywhere you go. But lugging around a camera and exploring different locations can quickly take its toll, leaving you with a sore back, tired feet and completely zapped of energy. There must be a better way, right? If you’re a photo nut that’s going a little nutty trying to stay comfortable during long shoots, there are a few tricks you can try. Here are eight ways to make those long shoots more comfortable.
1. Invest in a good camera bag. A good camera bag protects more than just your gear, it protects your back too. If you frequently do long photo shoots, you should invest in a
good camera backpack. Sling and shoulder bags put all the weight on one shoulder, but backpacks distribute the weight more, allowing you to wear them longer with less aches. All camera backpacks are not created equal. Thicker backpack straps are more comfortable, cushioning all that weight. While a waist strap may seem odd at first, camera backpacks with waist straps are much more comfortable, allowing you to support the weight with your shoulders and hips. Waist straps are a big advantage for long shoots like weddings, or hiking with your gear.
2. Wear good shoes and comfortable clothes. Style shouldn’t be a priority when you are behind the camera. Comfortable shoes and clothes allow you to stay longer and explore further—so something as simple as wearing tennis shoes instead of dress shoes can make the difference between getting the shot and not. Of course, that does depend a bit on what you are shooting. If you’re hired to shoot a wedding, don’t show up in jeans, but let the bride and groom know ahead of time that you’ll be in comfortable business clothes and not full formal attire in order to get them the best shots that may require getting down in the dirt or even climbing trees.
3. Stretch. Before you head out on a long shoot, take a few minutes to stretch. Just a few minutes of stretching will lessen the aches and pains at the end of the shoot. Just like it’s best to stretch before exercising, it’s a good idea to stretch before long shoots as well. Muscles that are warmed up before a vigorous shoot are less likely to be pulled or end up sore later.
5. Take a break. Don’t forget to let yourself take a break every now and then. Take your backpack off and your camera strap off and rest for a few minutes. Stretch again to help relieve tension in those muscles. Drinking water will also help ward off muscle aches. Your creativity may also need a break too—instead of flipping through the photos you’ve taken, close your eyes for a minute and clear your head.
6. Take only the gear you need. Asses your gear before you head out—do you really need all of it? Identify what you’re setting out to shoot, and eliminate any lenses and accessories that aren’t necessary. It’s a good idea to have a second smaller bag you can take out when you don’t need every piece of gear you own that day. While taking out one or two small things may not seem like much, it could make a big difference at the end of the day.
7. Challenge yourself with just one lens. Sometimes, an extensive gear bag actually limits creativity. If you are just heading out for a personal project (and not a paid shoot), try taking just your camera and one lens. You’ll be limited to what you can shoot—but that will open your eyes to new creative possibilities. Instead of swapping lenses, when you only have one, you’ll think of out-of-the-box ways to get the shot. While a one-lens set-up may not work for every shoot, it’s a good way to challenge yourself and of course without much to carry, your shoot will be much more comfortable too. While modern cameras are getting lighter, long photo shoots are still taxing on the body. Invest in a good camera bag, and take only what you need for each shoot. Stay healthy by stretching, taking breaks.You can even stay comfortable while challenging your own creativity by limiting yourself to just one lens. By implementing strategies for more comfortable photo shoots, you’ll stay longer or go farther, and that’s usually when you find your best shots.
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