Here’s a crazy statement: The most important piece of camera gear that you have is your camera strap.
I love the montage in action movies that has the hero gear up. They load their ammo. They lace up their boots. There’s dramatic music and our hero is ready to go.
Its the same in photography, right? You grab all of your lenses, and straps, and filters, and batteries, and your camera and you’re ready to go. Wait. Don’t forget the memory cards. Don’t forget the tripod. And 20 minutes later and 20 pounds heavier (because of your camera bag) you are ready to go to the coffee shop.
There have been so many times that I want to bring my camera somewhere, but it was such a pain. Or the strap was going to be a pain to hang around my neck. Or the camera bag didn’t go with the event I was going to attend. All of this prevents me from experiencing the most important part of photography: the actual photography part.
I tell new photographers that the most important piece of gear that you have is your camera strap. You can have the most expensive camera in the world that puts you in the mode to make brilliant photos, but it doesn’t matter because you left it at home because it was a pain to lug around.
Ditch the Neck Camera Strap
No one likes the basic neck strap that comes with every new camera. The first problem is that it usually turns you into a billboard for your camera. Its hot around your neck, makes your neck sore, and the most important part, makes you look like a tourist. No one wants that.
Sure, you can find different colored ones or leather straps, but you still have the same problems.
Think Cross Body
I love cross body straps. Something like the Peak Design Slide. You can even use it as a neck strap if you want, but please don’t tell me if you did that. Its comfortable to wear as the weight is resting on your shoulder like a messenger bag. Other companies will make similar straps in other materials, like leather. The other nice thing is that you can slide your camera so that it rests behind the small of your back when you’re not using it.
Cross Body, Part 2
Another type of strap that I love it the Black Rapid style, also called a sling. There are many companies that make slings, but Black Rapid really started it all. This is my favorite type of strap because the strap doesn’t move. The camera does. I find it much more comfortable because I don’t have to worry about how the strap is going to interact with my clothing or my bags as I I grab my camera.
Ditch the Strap Completely
Why not ditch the strap completely? Maybe you’re doing street photography and want the camera always at the ready. Get yourself a wrist strap like the Peak Design Cuff or the Ona Bags Kyoto. Both will allow you to always have your camera at the ready, but not have you worry about dropping and breaking your camera.
Regardless of what strap you choose, make sure its comfortable and simple. Make grabbing your camera an easy task and not something that you dread. Bringing your camera is the easiest way to use your camera and make it easier to grab that camera.