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I suppose there is really no wrong way to hold a camera, but there are definitely better ways to hold a camera. Proper camera handling will allow you to shoot more stable footage, it will keep you from getting tired, and sore and it will help ensure that you don't drop your camera and break it. Camera holding is pretty easy. You may think, "Well, what's the big deal? You just pick up the camera." But if you want to be able to shoot stably, you need to pick it up in a particular way. Over here on the right side of my camera, I have got this really nice grip on the D800.
It's molded right here so that my middle finger fits right underneath there, and it's molded in the back so that my thumb fits right in here., and that means that it's really hard to drop it once I've got my hand position in the right place. There is this nice non-skid surface all over here. So I feel like I've got a really secure grip on my camera. When it comes time to shooting though, I start with my left hand. I put my left hand here and set the lens of the camera into it, and I'm doing this because when my elbow is up against my body and the camera is resting on my hand like this, it's really, really stable.
So what I'm doing here is I've got my thumb and my forefinger like this and I've bunched up these fingers so the camera is actually resting on this kind of bunch of other fingers and these two fingers are holding it stable. So with it like that, I then take my right hand and put it on the grip. So, notice that my right arm is doing the same thing that my left arm is doing. My elbow is up against my body. So my elbows are always at my sides all the time. The reason being, if my feet are shoulder width apart and my elbows are up against my body like this and I'm holding the camera, I'm incredibly stable.
I also feel like I'm kind of getting a hug all the time, so it makes shooting more enjoyable. So, shooting this way means that I'm going to able to get much sharper images because I'm not going to have a handheld-shake problem. Next thing to understand--and this maybe trickier than it sounds--remember, your hands go all the way to your face. That may seem obvious, but I see lots of people lift the camera up to here and then go like this. They jut their neck forward. A couple of things happen here. One, I'm now far less stable. This is a kind of shaky position to be in. Also, I'm hurting my neck.
If I'm carrying a heavy bag of camera and lenses on my shoulder all day long, my neck is already under stress. Shooting like this, like a kind of Neanderthal photographer, isn't helping anything. So remember, I can get the camera all the way up to here. I want my spine straight. That's going to make me even more stable, and it's going to make me less prone to fatigue. Now I can shoot all I want. I can easily squeeze off the Shutter button, and I've got with my right hand access to all of my critical controls. This is for shooting landscape orientation though. When I get ready to try and shoot a vertical, of course my impulse is to go like this.
Now, you may have noticed a change here. My right elbow is no longer up against my body. It's way up here in the air. So I look cool. I look like I'm a serious photographer, but I'm not actually a serious photographer, because I'm not shooting stably, because my elbow is flying around up here in the sky. So I want to be sure that I've always got that hugged feeling. I want to be sure that--actually, I kind of feel like a tyrannosaurus actually. I want to be sure that my arms are always stuck here against my side and instead, I want to rotate the camera the other direction. So I'm going to take my hand and bring it up here. Yes, my elbow has left my side, but I'm going to put it back before I shoot, I promise.
I'm going to pick up the camera and rotate it like this. Now, my elbows are back. I've had to--I'm supporting the camera mostly with my left hand. I have got my other hand over here, and now I'm back to that really sturdy tripod position, with my arms up against my body, my posture straight, and I'm ready to go. So again, being so picky about this because stable shooting is really critical to getting sharp images. And you may think, "I'm shooting in bright daylight. I can really loosen up some." That's true to a point, but the more steady you can hold your camera the better off you are, particularly when you're shooting in low light.
Now there are going to be times where maybe you are on uneven terrain or you are getting a shoot around the corner and things like that, and you're going to have to improvise, and of course that's a normal part of shooting. But when you have the option, you really want to go for this very stable position, both for the sake of your images and for the sake of your neck.
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