July 13, 2024


How To Look Like A Competent Photographer

Let’s face it – Appearance Is Important. You can only make a first impression once – so don’t blow it! This applies to photographers as much as anyone. Yes, I know and agree, the quality of your photographs is the final true test of your ability. But if you don’t look like and conduct yourself as a competent photographer a viewer’s or client’s assessment of your photography might be negatively impacted. So why risk it? You can either look like a person dragging a camera around – or you can look like a photographer who has at least some idea of what they are doing. Here are several simple “tips” on how a photographer can improve his or her presentation – How To Look Like A Competent Photographer. My opinions for sure, but based upon a certain amount of “experience.”


1) Don’t drape that Camera and Camera Strap around your neck!

One of the best ways to look like a photo newbie is to hang your camera around your neck. Go ahead and try it. If you do, you are going to a) get a sore neck from the weight, b) begin to walk with your head leaning forward and down as the weight of the camera drags on you, c) experience the pleasure of having your camera bounce on your belly or chest with every step you take, and d) expose your camera and especially the protruding lens to possible impact. The camera strap is best used on the shoulder. Much more comfortable – trust me.


Not this way – It’s Better Like This –

camera strap 1

camera strap 2










2) Get rid of that camera strap that came with your camera.

And while we are on the topic of camera straps – your great new camera probably came with a “free” camera strap. And it probably has the camera brand name printed boldly on it. Unless the camera company gave you the equipment for free or is paying you to use their equipment – why give them free advertizing? Besides that, those “free” straps are indeed cheap and uncomfortable. Replace that freebie with a good quality and comfortable camera strap. You are going to be using this strap for many hours. You want one that is comfortable, one which enables easy use of your camera, and one which provides a secure way to carry your equipment. There are lots of good straps out there. Here are two I have used and recommend for your consideration


camera strap 1Quick Neck Shoulder Strap by Quick provides a great and wide load distributing shoulder pad and uses a sling approach to suspend the camera allowing ease of carry as well and quick positioning of the camera for shooting.





Neoprene Boomerang Digital CameraStrap by Tamrac (seen in the two photos at the top and below) has a nice wide and contoured shoulder section and the neoprene material provides elastic shock absorbing action which cushions the weight of your camera.tamrac camera strap


And here’s a third option for carrying your camera.

camera gripIt’s a hand grip by Hakuba called the C.Grip which attaches to the right side of your camera. Personally I love this approach. It is small and lightweight. I use it together in combination with a shoulder strap. Then I can use the shoulder strap between shooting situations and switch to the hand grip when actually shooting.


3) Hold your camera properly when you are shooting.

Believe it or not, you can tell quite a bit about a photographer by how they hold their camera. So don’t put one hand on the right side of the camera and one hand on the left. Why? It just doesn’t give you a stable shooting platform. In order to take make good images you need to keep your camera as steady and as controlled as possible. Here’s the best holding technique for most shooting conditions. Rest the barrel of the camera’s lens in the palm of your left hand. Basically this allows you to hold the entire weight of the camera / lens assembly in your left hand. You can now steady the weight of the camera by resting your left elbow against your chest. This position also allows you to manipulate the focus, zoom and other features located on the front of the camera with the fingers of your left hand. Use your right hand to grip the right end of the camera – generally an area where the camera has a “grip” area built right in. Using your right hand you can now easily adjust other camera functions and also activate the shutter release – all using the right hand which is not bearing any weight so you can do these things easily without imparting movement or “shake'” to your shot.

An Unstable Grip …………………………….A Much More Stable Grip

Camera grip WCamera grip r


4) Be Prepared To Shoot.

This is especially important if you are working with models or if you are shooting in public situations where others, including photographers, are wanting to see a view or take a photo themselves. Think about your shot before you set up. What do you want to show, how are you going to shoot it? Set your camera up as much as possible before you get into position. Take off the lens cap! (OK – how many times have you brought the camera to your eye only to see nothing but black? Be honest – we all have.) Preview the lighting and set your ISO, aperture and shutter speed to a good estimate of what you will need. Once you’re prepared, then step into position, make whatever final fine tuning adjustments you might need, and shoot away.


5) Don’t Hog The Shot.

Be aware of others around you – visitors, travelers, and photographers. They may very well want to have an opportunity to see or photograph a site without you standing in the middle of it. Shoot in an efficient manner. As above, be prepared and then shoot. And then, if you are a travel photographer for example and there are others waiting to shoot – step away and give room. “Chimp” your photos out of the line of fire. (What is “chimping” – a photo slang term for reviewing your images on the camera’s LCD screen – checking to see if you got the shot.)

Shoot It Right …………. And Enjoy The Adventure!

Dr.B, The PhotoTrekker

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