As a chiropractor, I’m always looking for improved biomechanics that reduce injury and fatigue. Proper camera technique increases stability, improves capture quality and protects your joints from repetitive microtrauma.
The techniques I’ll be sharing work best for left eye dominant photography. If you have always been right eye dominant, experiment with using your left eye.
Tip #1: Your Stance
Begin with your connection to the ground. An athletic stance will maximize your stability. Assume the heel-toe line of a boxer’s stance. Place your feet shoulder width apart with an even distribution of weight. Use your legs to support the weight of your camera.
Avoid muscling with your arms, shoulders and back. Relax your shoulders, do not hunch. Keep your feet not too close or far, not too squared, not too sideways. Do not lock out your knees.
Tip #2: Your Grip
With your left hand, find the balance point of your lens, such that holding your camera becomes effortless. Use an underhand grip to support your lens. Keep your left elbow bent and tucked into your torso. Your left hand actively supports the lens, your right hand manipulates the camera body controls. Memorize the tactile location of every knob and dial of your camera. Keep your chin tucked, keep your head over your neck.
Tip #3: Additional Control
For additional control, pinch the bottom of the zoom ring with your thumb and middle finger. This allows your index finger to pull focus, while your ring finger and pinky passively support your lens. Adding this additional support raises the camera up a few inches, bringing the camera closer to eye level. Let the asymmetry of your camera guide your movements.
In a squat, balance your left elbow effortlessly over your left knee. On the ground, use propped elbows as a support system. Use a soft hat, backpack or scarf as a pivotal support on benches, fences and walls.
#5: Battery Grip
Use a battery grip for verticals. The shutter release of your battery grip is optimized for a comfortable hand hold that will keep your shoulders out of the equation.
Photography is a performance art that presents some unique physical challenges. Finding the right balance is the foundation for personal growth, peak performance and full artistic expression.
About the author: Shelley Lake is a photographer and chiropractor working in Winter Park, Florida. She received a MS from MIT, a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, and a Doctor of Chiropractic from Cleveland Chiropractic College. She currently owns and operates Sky Lake Studios. You can find her photos and writing on her website and blog. This article was also published here.