Spending 12 hours behind the camera on the day of a wedding can take a tole on your body. The day after, Stacy and I joke about how sore we are, but the thing is, we’re not joking. We’re masquerading the fact that moving around with cameras strapped to us is actually… hard work. Really though, each one of our gear bags can easily hit 30lbs, which isn’t a light load by any means. The following four tips have helped Stacy and I feel better physically, after a long photo shoot. This article is meant more for our wedding and event photographers, but isn’t a bad guideline for anyone in general.
First, make sure you’re retaining good fitness. Back in May of 2012, I had no problem setting up the photo booth, which is a solid three to four hundred pounds. All I did, was give it a nice tug, and it would pop right up. Fast forward to October. I was always asking for someone to help. It was then, that it became apparent to me, that the physical work put into shooting weddings wasn’t helping my fitness level, but instead, breaking it down. It may not seem like photography physically demanding profession, but then again, you may not be pushing yourself hard enough. After a few weeks in the gym this fall, the booth isn’t a problem anymore, and some of the recent events I’ve covered haven’t crushed my body like this summer.
Secondly, get yourself a decent camera strap. I often carry two cameras, and before this summer, I was using two Domke straps in tandem, which are better than the stock Canon or Nikon ones, but not nearly as comfortable as a harness or belt system. After carrying around a Canon 1D Mark III with a 70-200 f/2.8 all day, you’ll quickly find ways to set the camera down. Upon doing some research, I eventually picked up a Black Rapid DR-2, which at $120.00, seemed expensive, but is by far one of the best pieces of gear I own. Bar non, it is the most efficient way to carry two professional cameras. No more sore backs or necks.
Third, make sure you’re eating healthy and sleeping enough. A lot of people look this over, because theoretically, it’s a part of our human nature to take care of bodies. If you’ve shot a wedding, you’ll probably remember the night before, rechecking gear and laying wide awake in bed, running everything through your head one more time. This is where the cycle starts. Late to bed results in sleeping in, which then causes for a rushed breakfast and sub-par fuel for your day. I cannot stress enough how important it is to set aside several hours the day before your wedding to go over a checklist. The sooner you have everything checked off, the sooner you can get your eight hours of sleep, and enjoy that bacon and french toast in the morning… throw in an apple and some oats and you’ll be set.
Lastly, your shooting position is critical. One of the biggest things we see with hired help and new photographers is their poor shooting technique. For some reason, photographers have a tendency to lean over, to the side or bend with their back. The photo may look the same regardless, but you’ll have a more solid base, you’ll get sharper photos and less sore muscles. If you need a different angle, move your feet or bend your legs, but always keep them under you.
All four of these tips will help you more than just with your photography. They’ll help you live a healthier lifestyle, which is something on almost everyone’s agenda this time of the year.