Steady support for the camera is an important part of making good images. As a professional photographer, I have worked with many support systems over the years from tiny three-legged kit tripods to big studio stands. As I made the transition to nature and wildlife photography my needs evolved towards supports that hold the camera steady yet are relatively light and portable.
Maybe something similar has happened to you. I was photographing along the Oregon Coast. My camera was on a tripod, it was windy and my camera strap was bouncing around causing vibrations, so I unclipped it. So far, so good. When I was done, I clipped the strap back on and took the camera off the tripod . . . and almost dropped it into the surf because I hadn’t secured the strap clips properly.
November is International Check Your Camera Strap Month, an annual event created by a couple of . . . you guessed it . . . camera strap manufacturers. But, before you dismiss this as a publicity stunt (which it absolutely is) let’s look at the reasoning behind it.
Surveys of camera manufacturers and camera repair facilities indicate that “impact damage” is the most frequent type of repair. While not all camera crashes are caused by strap problems, enough are to make this topic worth examining. I can’t prevent myself from being clumsy but I can do some simple things to protect my gear. And, one of the simplest is to regularly check my camera strap.
I love the ability to quickly unclip my strap. It comes in so handy in situations like that windy beach, where the flapping strap could ruin my photo. But it’s all too easy to clip the strap back in quickly, without thinking and without making sure it’s secure. It’s also all too easy for camera strap attachments to loosen up over time, especially with all the use (and abuse) we put them through.
So, let’s take advantage of International Check Your Camera Strap Month to cultivate some new habits. Let’s regularly check our straps and double check the connections every time we reattach the straps.
There are many kinds of camera straps, which give us tons of flexibility in how we use our gear. Properly used straps can make carrying our gear much easier and prevent a lot of falling camera accidents. But only if they are properly attached.