Camera Strap Tutorial

A camera strap is the most basic of accessories. There are various types of straps, but the most familiar is the neck strap. Even though it’s a very simple tool, a camera strap can improve or worsen an image depending on how you use it. Photographer Phil Steele shows you the right and the wrong ways to use your camera strap in this tutorial:

How to Attach Your Strap

If your strap is already attached to your camera, and for some reason, you need to remove it, take a photo of the connector part before disassembling it. This way, you’ll have a reference in case you get confused when putting the strap back.

If you notice that your strap has stray ends that constantly disturb you when operating the camera, you need to make a simple change. Instead of feeding the strap through the buckle from the bottom, feed it from the top first. This way, the stray end gets trapped between the two layers of the strap. While this method gets rid of the interference from the loose tail of the strap, it also makes the setup look neat.

stray end of camera strap

Using Your Camera Strap for Better Photos

“Did you know that you can use the strap as a stabilizer to help reduce camera shake?”

In order to use your camera strap as a stabilizer, place it around your neck. With your elbows against your body, pull the strap tight. This trick is especially useful when shooting videos.

camera strap as a stabilizer

Another way to stabilize your camera using a strap is to step on the strap and pull the camera up tight. This method comes in handy when shooting from a low angle.

stabilizing with camera strap from low angle

You may not always have a tripod with you, but you’ll definitely have your strap. When you don’t have your tripod with you, you can make do with your strap by placing it under the camera body or the lens.

using a camera strap to angle the camera

Camera Strap Mistakes to Avoid

When placing the camera on a table or any other surface, make sure that the strap isn’t left hanging. If somebody walks by the strap, they can get caught in the strap, causing the camera to fall. To prevent accidents, place the camera on the strap itself.

If you’re using a tripod to take an image, make sure that you either take the strap off or hold it until the camera is done taking the image. Otherwise, even a gentle breeze can cause the strap to sway and introduce camera shake.

Camera Straps and Comfort

The straps that come with your camera are pretty basic. If you need to work with heavy gear, you’ll end up having a sore neck rather quickly with a basic strap. So, if you need to work long hours with your camera be sure to invest in a strap made of soft, thick and stretchy material.

An alternative to a neck strap is a sling strap. It goes over one shoulder and holds the camera at waist level on the other side.

“The great thing about it is that it takes the weight off your neck while leaving your hands totally free.”

sling strap for camera

When you need to take a photo, simply slide the camera to your eye level and shoot. However, since it mounts to the tripod mount screw, make sure that the screw doesn’t come loose easily. Steele suggests two things to make sure this doesn’t happen:

  1. Wet the rubber washer that goes between the mounting hardware and the bottom of the camera. This helps tighten the grip.
  2. Periodically check the tightness as you’re working.

“If you do event photography, you should do yourself a favor and give one of these a try.”

Have you been using your camera strap the right way?

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