Do Not Drop That Camera

Written by Mihajlo Filipovic |

There is this young couple in front of the tavern, enjoying ice coffee and view. Both are photographers, or at least their cameras occupy the largest part of the tiny table surface.

The man sees something interesting and instantly goes for his camera. Grabbing the grip with his right hand, he raises the camera to his eye, but fails to notice that the camera shoulder strap snagged around the armrest of his chair.

The movement rips the camera out of his hand and it crashes back onto the table, knocking the tall glasses and the other camera to the ground. This was their lucky day: nothing more than ice coffee glasses broke, but the message was there: loud and clear.

Also potentially expensive!

I had once my camera shoulder strap loop around the handbrake lever of my car in the similar fashion, luckily with no grave consequences. But it had taught me a lesson which I solved by the way I treat the camera strap ever since. 

Maybe you’d like to save the camera from being ripped out of your hand and falling to its inglorious death? Simply copy my move.

If you do not always carry your camera around your neck or shoulder, the strap loop can snag around various objects that the ambient will unexpectedly but inevitably arrange! It all happens in accordance with Murphy’s Laws. The move secures the camera to your arm, shortens the free-hanging shoulder strap loop, and makes your grip more secure - all that in less than a second! Sheer logic will make it easy for you to adopt it, but you’ll have to repeat the move until it becomes an unconscious habit.

I’ll assume your shooting hand to be your right one, for if there are any cameras made for left-hand shooters, I haven’t seen them yet.

With the classical camera shape of a bridge camera or a SLR, here’s how:

  • Lift your camera in front of you with your left hand by the underside of the lens, holding it near to its balance point.
    • The shoulder strap loop now hangs naturally under the camera, ready to catch onto anything it possibly can, just for the fun of it!
  • Put your right hand through the loop (1)…
  • … move the hand to the right, then up and back toward the camera over the shoulder strap (2)…
  • … and then put the hand back into the loop, to grab the grip (3) under the point where the strap attaches to the camera.
    • The shoulder strap now goes from the camera attaching point between your right thumb and pointer over the outside of your hand, and forms one spiral turn around your lower right arm. From there, the rest of the strap loosely goes to the camera’s attaching point on its left side.
    • At this point you could even stretch the loop over your elbow, sniper style, to attain an even more solid grip of the camera.

When the shoulder strap loops around your arm like this, you may let go of the camera grip. See? It remains securely attached to your arm.

Your camera will be safe even if it has been knocked out of your hand. Just remember to use the move every time in the same way… unless, of course, it is hanging from your neck or shoulder, which can be tiring. At times it can also be impractical, like when driving or having ice coffee...

Practice the move. See that it becomes natural part of your camera handling routine, to reduce the chances and risks of expensive equipment damage.

Then teach the move to your friends. Someone somewhere will be grateful to you for it!


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Author: Mihajlo Filipovic
Retired pro, but a lifelong amateur at heart. Also a diver with decades of experience, and still addicted to underwater photography. I never go to water without a camera, to be able to record the beauties of the submerged Nature. Which, as you well know, covers the largest part of the Earth. I will enjoy what our wonderful Earth offers to our eyes and mind for as long as I can.


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