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Do You Wear a Camera?

thorsten_overgaard_april_2007_L1190335_350w.jpegPerhaps the biggest challenge I hear many of our readers talking about when it comes to their photography is that they struggle to find time to practice their photography.

The real problem though is that so many of us don’t have our camera with us when the photographic opportunities present. Instead they sit at home in a little bag that is full of well researched and rarely used gear.

But even when we take our camera with us it often remains in that bag.

I recently was reading Thorsten Overgaard’s site (pictured right) where make the statement that cameras should always ‘wear their camera’. He wrote:

“Things happen when you wear your camera. You get to see things and document them.”

By ‘wearing’ your camera Thorsten advocates actually having out of your bag, over your shoulder, switched on and ready to go at all times. Here’s how he explains it:

I say “always wear a camera,” and by that I mean that you have your camera over the shoulder, turned on, set to the right ISO and white balance. And then you look for things. If you do this, you will feel as a photographer, be aware of the viewpoint of the lens you have on the camera and start seeing photographs. And when you see something, you have to have a built-in reflex to slightly touch the release button so as to turn the camera from sleep mode to shooting mode; and by the time the camera has reached it’s place in front of your eye, it is powered up and ready. All you have to do is focus and shoot, then drop the camera so it falls back to its place by your hip.

I love the concept of ‘wearing’ your camera and have been experimenting with it myself this week. Instead of taking my camera in a bag with me (something I have done for a year now) I’m now wearing it over my shoulder more – it is having a big impact in three ways:


Firstly it is accessible – there’s no effort needed to get it out of the bag with an embarrassing ‘RIIIIP‘ of velcro destroying the mood and alerting everyone around that a photo is about to be taken. It’s in my hand in a flash and a moment can be captured quickly.

As a result I’ve taken more images in the last week but have spent less time specifically ‘doing’ photography as it has just happened.

Feeling like a Photographer

Secondly it impacts how I see myself. The things we ‘wear’ impact us in many ways. I know that when I put on a suit and tie and head to a wedding I do so with a different attitude and confidence than the days I sit around at home in jeans and an un ironed t-shirt. Likewise – ‘wearing’ my camera impacts how I feel. It puts me in a more observant and creative zone.

It also impacts my ‘intent’. Having a camera right there at my side at all times puts me much more in the zone of taking photos. I find myself less passive.

I guess ultimately wearing your camera does, like Thorsten says, make you ‘feel as a photographer’.

It Impacts Those Around You

Lastly, what we ‘wear’ impacts how others see us. Studies show us that people form lasting impressions of us based upon the clothes that we wear (among other things) and that we’re treated differently as a result. My observations this week are that ‘wearing’ a camera can similarly impact how others treat you. I’m not completely sure of how to describe other people’s reactions yet – perhaps I need a little more time at this – but there have been some interesting ones.

  • In one instance I was invited to photograph a situation because I had my camera out.
  • In another instance the camera opened up a fascinating conversation which led me to ask permission to photograph the person.
  • In another situation (with kids) having the camera out from the beginning of our interaction seemed to make it a more natural part of our time together and they were completely at ease when I started to use it
  • In a last instance the camera may have had a negative impact with a person seeming to seize up and become a little uncomfortable until I put the camera down.

There have also been a few jokes, raised eyebrows from friends and family – but overall the impact has been more positive than negative to this point.

Do you ‘Wear a Camera’?

I’d love to hear from others who ‘wear’ cameras? What is your experience of doing so? What impact does it have upon you, those around you and your photography?

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Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse

is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals.

He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

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