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Your Camera Strap: Are you Using it Wrong?

In this video by Phil Steele, he shows you the right way to use your camera strap, and you may just find a few little surprises!

How to attach the strap to your camera

If you are removing the strap from your camera, take a picture of the attachments, so you know exactly how to put it back together.

Also, in case you didn’t know, that little rubber rectangle piece on your camera strap (if you have one), is actually an eyepiece cover for when you do long exposure photography. It prevents light leaks coming through the eyepiece!

Fixing loose ends

Do the end pieces of the strap flapping around annoy you? If so, there is a way to fix that.

If your strap has little slide plastic collars on it, make sure it is towards the end of the strap, below the buckle. Then start by feeding the strap from the outside in through the attachment on the camera.

Then feed the end back through the plastic collar and pull it all the way through.

Now, feed the loose end through the buckle. However, instead of feeding it through the bottom first, feed it through the top first followed by the bottom. That way the leftover strap is hidden away rather than flapping around loose.

Using your strap for better photos

  1. Use the strap as a stabilizer to reduce camera shake – Place your elbows into your body then move your camera away from your body, pulling the strap tight. This tension helps stabilize your camera and works well when shooting video too.
  2. Step on the strap when shooting from a low angle to steady the camera.
  3. If you don’t have a tripod, place your camera on a surface and use your strap under the lens to angle it upwards. If you want the camera facing downwards, place the strap under the body of the camera.

Strap mistakes to avoid

  1. When placing your camera on a table, place the camera on top of the strap as though it is sitting in a little nest. That way, no one can accidentally pull your camera off the table by knocking the strap. Also, if someone spills water on the table, your camera is slightly elevated so that it won’t get wet.
  2. When using your camera on a tripod, the strap can cause motion blur on your images if there is any wind. Hold the strap while taking photos, or remove it altogether when on a tripod. Another solution is to get a strap that easily clips on and off.

Comfortable straps

Consider buying a more comfortable strap. Some have extra padding and stretch (Neoprene) and can be a little wider. They sit more comfortably around your neck and can ease the pressure when carrying a heavier rig.

Phil’s favorite strap for event photography

Phil uses a Sling Strap (black rapid) for event photography. It easily hangs over your shoulder and allows you to have free hands when you aren’t shooting. The camera easily slides up and down the strap when you need to use it.

One caution when using the sling strap, however, is the way it mounts to your camera. It screws into the tripod hole on the bottom of your camera. That can be a point of failure because if your screw comes loose, your camera can fall to the ground.

There are two things you can do to guard against that. First, when initially attaching it, wet the little rubber washer that goes between the mounting hardware and your camera. That seems to help. Secondly, periodically check the screw tightness, and tighten if need be.

Have you ever had a mishap with your camera strap? Share with us in the comments below.


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Caz Nowaczyk
Caz Nowaczyk

– the dPS Managing Editor, lives in Wollongong, Australia and has worked as a photographer, filmmaker, and designer in her business, Exposure Arts and Media, for 15 years. Her background extends to Digital Content Management, and Editorial Design. In her spare time, she composes music as Dreamgirl and the Motorist. Since the age of 12, she knew she would be a photographer – the other stuff came as a surprise!

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